Traditional Chinese Postpartum Confinement | Chinese Postnatal Care
I managed to survive 9 months of sashimi deprivation but can’t manage one month of post-natal confinement*.
It was the first time the itty-bitty family got together and had dinner without my parents. Two week old Noah put on his best behaviour and slept throughout the three hour dinner at Masuya while we all enjoyed a wonderful meal; me especially!
You know that feeling when you’re very sleep deprived, and you finally get one night of really good sleep and you wake feeling like you could party till 3am? Well, having sashimi after nine months of deprivation feels just like that, let me tell you. (Now I’m just waiting for that analogy to come true too!)
*Traditional Chinese confinement [The following has not been vetted by a professional Chinese medical practitioner. It is my own interpretation gathered from my network of Aunties, Chinese midwives, grannies and my mother. Reference reading only…] – Still widely practised in Asian culture, particularly amongst the Chinese, postpartum women are to stay home for at least 30 days following practices that align with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theories to help the new mother recover and avoid long-term damage to the woman’s health. The new mother is to stay indoors to avoid external winds that may expose her head and body the ‘cold’ element (one of the elements of the 5 in TCM). This follows the theory that after birth your ligaments and joints are still very loose (from the relaxant that pregnancy produces) and if the ‘cold’ gets between them, once the ligaments start coming back together the ‘cold’ gets trapped between them and the woman will be forever haunted with arthritis and headaches for the rest of her life. The new mother’s body is also deemed to be weak and ‘cold’, postpartum, so various broths and tonics will be prepared by the new mother’s mother-in-law or mother to help her restore the heat in her body. These broths and tonics include fish maw soup, pig trotters in black vinegar and ginger-infused dishes. Some even go as far as not taking showers to avoid the ‘cold’ and ‘wind’ getting trapped under their scalp! And the list of traditional practices go on…
Personally, I could not stay in for the full 30 days although I have been drinking and eating the right foods. I don’t know how some women do it. It will bore the nuggets out of me!
Here are a few pics of the Pig Trotters, Ginger in Black Vinegar my mum has been making for me.. Attractive, huh? I assure you it tastes far better than it looks.