Friday, March 25, 2011

The "Chinese" Ways

When my mom found out I was pregnant, she immediately began updating me on the things I must do to maintain a safe pregnancy. Among those, were Chinese "ways" meant to be strictly adhered to since my Chinese body was weaker than that of any white woman.

Here is some of what I hear.

No watermelon - too cold.
No coconut juice - not good for you.
No pineapple - cuz the Cantonese friend told her so.
No scissors - you will cut into your baby's life or something like that.
No hammering in the house - you will hammer something bad into your baby's life.
No furniture rearrangements - not good for the baby's peace.
Eat lots of fruit so baby's skin will be white and healthy!

This only encompasses the pregnancy. Once you give birth, you are...

Not to wash your hair for a month (gross!).
To eat fresh chicken soup to replenish the lost nutrients (sounds okay).
Shave the baby's head at 100 days (to help it grow more).

None of the recommendations provided above have really impeded my lifestyle. Watermelon is out of season (won't lie, ate some during the first trimester); coconut juice continues to be a staple in my fridge as of late; pineapple is a Cantonese rule and I'm Mandarin; I don't get the scissors thing - isn't a knife just as bad?; I haven't had to hammer anything (but Andy has!) and what momma don't see with the furniture, don't hurt momma! And the fruit just means my dear mother delivers fruit to me once a week - usually an assortment of oranges, strawberries, berries and apples. I can't complain about the latter.

When it comes to the suggestions for post prenatal time, I'm a bit more hesitant. I have spoken in depth with my hair stylist who is Taiwanese and very traditional, who claims the purpose behind not washing your hair is to avoid getting a whiff of the cold while showering. Easy solution - have rugs on the cold tiles and dry your hair completely before coming out of the bathroom. The baby's head shaving is the biggest point of contention because while I believe my beautiful, full head of hair is a result of my own head being shaved at 100 days, nobody else seems to buy it - especially my husband and his side of the family. Since we're having a boy, it doesn't really matter, but once we have a girl, what will we do?! Or will the Lord only bless us with boys in order to avoid the decision? Guess only time will tell.

In the meantime, the only thing that matters is knowing the Lord will guide us and doing those small things that matter even when I am big, uncomfortable, hormonal, migraine-ish... when my heart is burning, I'm constantly peeing, wanting to waddle and oh, by the way - I'm also oddly itchy, swollen, full of dandruff on my head and slowly beginning to have slight back aches. It's difficult to remember that I must continue praying for help from the Lord for more guidance, more faith, more patience, more optimism, and more humility. But if I do these things, the minor traditions being instilled - sometimes imposed - upon me will not phase me, I will not lose my temper when talking to my mother about why these archaic customs are silly, and I will have my head on straight when approaching the "Chinese" ways with her. It's not an easy conversation - she believes with all her heart that it's true - just like I believe with all my heart and mind that the things I know are true of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. So all I can do is be patient... be positive... and pray that the Spirit will guide me through these conversations, that I may remain calm, composed, and not insult my mother and her "Chinese" ways.


Genny said...

i soooo understand this :) tee hee

bruinjack said...

I was told that eating pineapple can help to induce labor. Eggplant, too. However, eggplant has nicotine in it and I don't believe either one of them work. But at least it might explain the rules against eating pineapple, at least before 37 weeks.

Little Japan Mama said...

my Chinese friend was telling me about this stuff when I was pregnant... Lucky it wasn't coming from my mom I guess! haha But I ate heaps of watermelon in 3rd trimester even thought it was "risking having a painful birth". And I washed my hair on the day of the birth! (of course) haha Oh, you poor thing must have been hard ;><;