Just kidding -- well, not really.
Angela Chee: In many cultures -- especially the Chinese culture -- the first month post-delivery is the most important when it comes to a woman's health. Ancient Chinese traditions dictate a mother must stay inside, avoid bathing or washing her hair, not be with anyone other than her baby (even her husband), and avoid certain "cold" foods and load up on "hot" foods. If you don't follow the traditions, it can hurt the woman's body and cause health problems and disease later in life.
When I first heard this, I thought, That's crazy. My mom won't make me do this ...? Well, she didn't make me, but definitely insisted on a few things. The first thing most moms do after giving birth is take a shower and eat whatever they want, right? Hmmm! After no sushi for nine months, a spicy tuna roll sounds good.
But are these traditions really crazy? After reading about their origins, they made more sense to me. From an early medical context, many of the traditions were practical. Women were to avoid bathing to prevent water-borne illness, stay indoors so they and their babies avoid communicable diseases and colds, and eat protein, iron, and hot soup to stay hydrated, strong, and help promote breast milk production.
I was able to follow some of the practices after my first pregnancy (with the help of my family), allowing my body to heal -- and now I'm planning to do it again.
Especially during cold and flu season, it may not be such a bad idea to take it easy the first month. Of course, I'm not going to avoid seeing my husband and taking a shower, but avoiding cold, crowded places doesn't sound like such a bad idea. I guess I can put off sushi for another month and have more healing "hot" foods. Here's a link to a list of "cold" foods to avoid and "hot" foods to eat.
In Taiwan and China, they even have postpartum centers and hotels which cater exclusively to mothers, where they are pampered and cared for the first month postpartum. Now that's not a bad tradition.
|Angela Chee is a television host, voice-over artist and creator of TheZenMom.com as a resource for other moms because motherhood isn't always so zen. She is a first-time mom.|