In a lot of Eastern cultures, after a woman gives birth, she has to go through a period of rest and recovery. It means different things depending on the country, but the general consensus is that pregnancy and birth is hard on the mother’s body and she needs to heal with foods, rest, and support.
With Bunny and now Nagini, I have to go through confinement. There are a lot of rules and since I didn’t do confinement properly the first time around, it is especially important that I do it right this time around. The Chinese believe that giving birth opens up your bones for “wind” or “cold” to go in and if you don’t recover or practice confinement you can have a lot of ailments later in life like, arthritis. More on this idea here.
I spoke with my acupuncturist about this and asked her if she could fix me if I messed up this time around. Her response? The only way you can “cure” yourself of future ailments is to have another baby and do confinement properly since once your bones close up the wind/cold is stuck and cannot be needled out. Interesting, huh?
Since I was born in the States and grew up with some Chinese culture, I have both feet planted on Eastern and Western traditions. In this case, even though the rules sound a bit crazy and extremely hard, I figure might as well just do it. Better safe than sorry. Plus you rarely hear of Asian women suffering from arthritis pains or joint problems.
Some of the rules that I’ll have to adhere to:
- No screen time, no reading, and especially no crying to protect my eyes. This means no crafting time too! With Bunny, I had postpartum depression and there was a lot of crying. I needed a lot of support that I was not necessarily getting, so it is still a tough subject to talk or write about. Maybe one day I will tackle that. This time we are better prepared and have been working to make sure I will have the help I need. It was a long time before I felt like myself again.
- Eating lots of healing foods. There is a ton of nourishing foods I am supposed to eat. I think I’ll try to keep a record of it somewhere because there are a lot of herbs and things I am not familiar with. I would like to learn more about them this go-around especially since I might have our daughters practice confinement too one day!
- No going out and dressing warmly. I’m supposed to avoid having vents/fans/wind on me. The going out part is easy enough, with the exception of doctor’s appointments.
One of the biggest no-nos to Chinese confinement is that you’re supposed to avoid bathing/washing your hair for 30 days. Well, the only way you can get around that is to take very hot showers and then douse yourself in an herbal bath when you are done to help push the wind out of your body. My mom has placed an order with her restauranteur friend for 30 pounds of ginger. I told her I didn’t care how much it cost because that was super important to me to feel like myself. With the ginger, you basically infuse it and cook it for a while with a huge pot of water. After you are done showering, you do a rinse off with it.
During pregnancy there are healing foods you have to eat too. I’ll have to make a list of stuff I had to do for pregnancy too sometime. Pictured above is bird’s nest tong sui that I had while I was pregnant. It’s supposed to have all these wonderful properties and make a pretty baby. 🙂
Wish me luck!