Sew is Life is written by E-von. A blog inspired by art, design, craft, fashion, beauty and wellness. Based in Perth, Western Australia. Read about the daily ramblings of me being a mother of three and wife to an amazing creative man. These are my stories sewn together with love.
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There is a tradition that goes back a long way into Chinese Malaysian history that a mother who has just recently given birth must go through a ‘confinement’ period of at least 30 days. They believe that a mother’s body is at its weakest and most vunerable and needs to be restored after the birth.
During this time the mother is cooked various nutritional foods consisting mainly of ginger, sesame seed oil, wine (DOM), chicken and chinese herbs. The purpose of eating these types of food is to expel the ‘wind’ from the body and warm and nourish the mother’s body. If the mother does not do this, her body will be susceptible to future ailments such as arthritis, pain in the feet, colds etc.
Ginger chicken with wine
Photo courtesy of 101healthyeasyfoodrecipes.com
Then there is the other not so fun traditions of not touching water or not touching cold surfaces for the 30 days. This includes:
- No bathing or washing of the hair or body (this step is especially difficult for me!)
- No washing of laundry, dishes or even bathing baby
- Must cover up the body with layers of clothing
- Cannot turn on the fan or airconditioner
- Cannot go outside of the house, especially when there is wind
- Should wear socks and slippers to avoid feet touching cold surfaces
- The mother is not even allowed to drink plain water but drink chinese herbal tonics
- No ‘cold’ foods such as fruit and certain vegetables, definitely no ice-cream, yogurts and juice.
Scallop, ginger and goji berry congee/porridge
Photo Courtesy of cookingstudio1.blogspot.com
Red date tea
Photo Courtesy of ilovebakingncooking.blogspot.com
Ok, it hasn’t been too bad, I’m trying to remain positive here. Since I had my baby during Winter I am not sweating as much. Though, my hair gets soooo itchy I had to beg my Mum to wash it after the first week. She helped me boil some ginger cut offs in water and washed my hair in the basin. I like the smell of ginger so this didn’t bother me. My husband, who is not Chinese is extremely understanding and has been through this twice before. I bought a few cans of dry shampoo, so this has been my saving grace (review to follow shortly)
I’m half way through my confinement period, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I’m the type of person who can’t sit still or stay at home for too long, I need to go out and meet people and I feel most independent and useful when I can do things for myself and my family. Now I rely on others to grab something for me down at the shops, or take my daughter to school.
In Malaysia they have hired help, women who are specially trained in the art of ‘confinement’, who will cook meals for the Mother and look after the baby to allow her to rest. How I wish I could hire a ‘confinement’ lady, my Mother helps me a lot but this is a specialized occupation that is a full-time job. Mum still has her day job to go to. So I find myself breaking the ‘no touching water’ rule, such as bathing my kids, cooking meals etc.
I’m so glad I have understanding friends. It annoys me that I can’t go out and catch up with them, but they come and visit me which I appreciate so much! I miss adult conversation and interaction! But maybe…it is best to wait until I am less smellier (phoar!)
Just another 19 days…and I’m starting the count down…
Do you follow any traditions past down through generations?
Have a great weekend you lovely smellin’ people, I’m so jealous that you are having your warm showers!