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The First Month After Your Chinese Wife Gives Birth by Staff Writer
If you have been living in China for quite a while now, you’ve probably already had some encounters with traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, from neighbors telling you not to eat a pear outside when it’s windy, to colleagues opening all the windows at the school even when the outside temperature is freezing.  They try to explain the supposed health-related reasons, but you just don’t get it!  Well, if you finally found your Chinese wife and are having a baby soon, you may have more of these traditional health practices to look forward to!

More likely than not, your Chinese mother-in-law will want to get involved in the care of your wife and future baby.  If she’s still very traditional (which is, again, more than likely), your wife will have to go through what is called the practice of “Sitting the month,” or zuo yuezi.

Zuo yuezi, as with most TCM concepts, is supposed to help return the balance to your wife’s yin and yang after giving birth.  For thirty days, she will have to follow strict rules so as to also avoid illnesses when she gets older.  For many new mothers, completing zuo yuezi is more unbearable than the pain of childbirth itself.    
Your wife will have to go on a month-long confinement indoors.  She will have to wear layers of clothing to keep her body warm, as well as always wear thick socks in bed and also put on slippers when she has to walk, even if the weather is hot.  It is very possible that she will develop blisters on her feet from the heat.  She can’t be exposed to air conditioning, not even a fan or an open window.     

Zuo yuezi is not so pleasant as pictured here.She will not be able to take a shower, nor wash her hair and face for thirty days.  But she can wipe herself with a towel soaked in a mixture of warm water, alcohol, and salt, or a special Chinese medicine mixture once a week.  Actually, she will need somebody to do this for her, most likely her mother; if your wife will have a caesarian section, she will not be allowed to leave the bed unless she has to use the toilet. 

In fact, she won’t even be allowed to sit up when she has to breastfeed your baby; she will have to do this while lying on her side. 

Some new mothers are not allowed to eat or drink anything until after they have broken their first wind.  And then, of course, they have to follow a strict diet.  Your wife will not be allowed to eat and drink anything cold; she can only drink warm or hot water.  She can’t drink tea or coffee.  She can’t eat raw fruits and vegetables.  Mostly, she will live on a soup diet for a full month following childbirth.  There are special soups to help keep her breast milk flowing. 

Even in China’s most urban and westernized areas, zuo yuezi is still followed by many new Chinese mothers.  Indeed, post partum centers are becoming popular among the rich.  These places provide at least two nurses for each client, who attend to all her needs, as well as the baby’s. 

The nurses make sure the new mothers are eating right; they wipe them down; they tend to the baby when he/she cries (the mothers are not supposed to hold or cuddle their own babies too much); they teach the mothers everything they need to learn about motherhood (a role that their own mothers are supposed to play). 
          
Perhaps your wife will be willing to practice “Sitting the month,” or you and your wife may not even have a choice in the matter if her mother insists.  Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones whose in-laws are progressive and no longer accept the belief in the month in hell that new Chinese mother's are expected to endure. Of course, if you will be taking her back with you to your home country, then she can skip this month-long confinement altogether, unless she’s very faithful to Chinese traditions.  


From: Original         Author: Staff Writer         Time: 7/30/2013 4:14:57 PM

 
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#2018-04-28 14:00:00 by oldghost @oldghost
Reply @no one in particular
I confirm most of this happened with my (then) wife a year after her arrival in Australia. No shower, no activity, no cooking, and a live-in nanny preparing boring fare; I can add too that the baby was kept tightly wrapped/coddled for most of this period ... I was pretty bemused by the whole thing, which was complicated by severe jaundice, pretty common it seems in Asian babies.

老鬼
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