One Born Every Minute
Do Asian Moms Do Post-Birth Care Best?
I've always been frustrated at the pregnancy and birth process in this country. There's a lot of attention on prenatal care but after birth, mothers are expected to be up and at 'em in a matter of days, with little care for themselves.
Not to mention those awfully annoying pics of celebrity moms out jogging 48 hours after delivery.
What's up with that?
What happened to mother care? I mean you just pushed a small human out of your va-jay jay, for crying out loud. Doesn't that deserve a few weeks' rest?
That's why I was so intrigued by this recent article in Hyphen Magazine on more Asian and Pacific Islander moms in the US embracing ancient post-birth traditions.
According to the article, (kudos to writer Momo Chang) many Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin, indigenous and other cultures view the month or so following birth as a sacred and crucial time for new moms to recover. And are rooted in a belief that a mother's health is intimately connected to her baby's health.
Amen to that!
For example, The chinese tradition of zuo yue zi translates into "doing the month" dates back some 2600 years, according to one expert in the article. This homebound period, depending on the culture, can range from 28 to 40 days.
How else are asian and pacific islander moms tapping into their cultures?
In the article, one woman kept her placenta in her freezer for over a year before burying it, as an adaptation of a Filipino tradition. (You gotta see the pic of her son examining the placenta after his little sister was born!)
Another mom in Oakland, CA followed northern Vietnamese traditions after having her daughter and stayed indoors for 28 days, barring visitors and abstaining from reading, TV or the computer--nothing but baby bonding and mother care.
Gotta love that!
Others are trying some of the traditional postpartum recipes and foods, like Sesame Oil Chicken (check out the recipe here) and other soups known for womb healing and helping lactation.
Meanwhile postpartum care houses are popping up in Los Angeles to care for women who have flown in from Taiwan and China to have babies in America, and where room and board start at $4,000 and expenses can easily top $10,000, the article said. New mothers are cared for with 6 meals a day and with other traditional practices.
I'd have loved to check in to a "mommy hotel" for a few days after the hospital kicked me out three days after a C-section.
Either way, who's to say that modern or Western is best? Our high rates of maternal mortality, post partum depression and straight up mommy stress may mean its time to look to other cultures or look back within our own for solutions.
What do you think?