Everyone knows that once you preggo your eggo there are certain new rules you get to live by. Like the obvious no smoking. Be stingy with caffeine and the occasional glass of house red. Or don’t start any new crazy exercise regimen!
But skip across the pond and the whole mess gets……. Messy!
All of the western rules still apply. And then some!
- First of all – everyone will touch your belly.
- All Chinese Aunties know that it will be a boy/girl. Don’t bother telling them that you’re not finding out. (btw – all y’all who said boy were wrong!)
- No cooly foods whatsoever before baby. And only heaty foods after. I’m not sure what makes dates heaty or cheese and eggs cooly…. But they are.
- Pineapple is for sure cooly and isn’t allowed *at all* as it will bring on labor, even at only 30 wks.
- Your typical ‘work out’ will get you whispered about by most locals before, during, and after baby. Especially a 10k at 36 wks, CrossFit until 39 wks, or lunges during labor.
But what I wasn’t ready for was that period after delivery, and the mere illusion that the “rules” would go back to normal.
Baby girl showed up bright and early. So after polishing off a good nap and a shower, and having gone 8 months with no coffee, I was ready to walk downstairs (slooowly) and grab a latte and some fresh air. And since she was healthy and the hospital had a nice little outdoor garden, we brought our new favourite person with us.
At first I thought it was so cute that everyone loved staring at my new bundle of awesome. I mean, I did, so obviously they did, right? Nope. Turns out I was breaking some serious Confinement Period rules of the first 30 days.
- Rule 1: No showering (or for sure at least washing your hair).
- Rule 2: There will be no going outside the house/room for Mom.
- Rule 3: Rule 2 applies to baby as well.
- Rule 4: Though shalt drink confinement tea (made from dates). Not lattes.
- Rule 5: Confinement tea is meant for her, not him. (he thought it was just really bad coffee…. Whoops?)
Yeah – it was pretty casual to hear that people can’t [come out to play or visit or insert other pretty normal social things] because ‘I’m still in my confinement period.’ It is also pretty standard to hire a confinement nanny or your favourite mother/mother-in-law/aunt/sister/sucker-of-a-best-friend to be on baby duty for the first month. Her job is to bring you the baby for feeds, and then handle all of the other burping, changing, rocking, napping in between. For an entire month! Which seems all well and good until you realise that this other person will be basically living with you. The. Entire. Time.
We decided to go without despite strong suggestion otherwise because… frankly… I already had that person. He is half the reason I’m in this sleepless mess in the first place and sleeps soundly right on the other side of the bed…. He’s hired!
And he nailed it. Best confinement helper ever!
One of the last rules, though, we managed to do. Almost. As any replica child of mine, she showed up basically bald, so I didn’t have to worry about shaving her head at the end of it all! Yes… Final confinement “graduation” ritual is taking a razor to a baby’s head. I am still not entirely sure how you go about shaving a baby’s head. Just seems like an injury waiting to happen. Or at least it would be if I did it!
So while I don’t know that I could personally entertain all of the facets of confinement, it was pretty fascinating to hear about it from my other Mum friends. And it’s ten kinds of endearing to have my Malay-Singaporean cleaner deliver E’s first red packet for her 30 day birthday … and then make sure we bundle up (jacket for me, extra blankes for babe) before heading downstairs for a quick lunch.
“You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same tune.” ~Doug Floyd