This past weekend was spent with my fellow Velvet Ashes Leadership teammates in our annual planning retreat. Danielle is having a baby in December so in the midst of important meetings, we had a small surprise baby shower (which, I would also argue was important!).
Ahead of time I contacted some folks who live abroad or have lived abroad and asked what advice is given to women who are having a baby in the countries they have lived in.
Culture is interesting and fun! I thought you would enjoy this as much as we did. Because several had lived in China, you’ll see several lists for China.
-Never eat anything cold. Never get cold.
-Eat and eat and eat until the only clothing you can wear are overalls with a bear on them. If you’re still fitting into regular pants with a waistband, you need to eat more.
-Don’t ride a bicycle
Cambodia: Here’s the cultural way Cambodians deal with postpartum, from an old blog post of mine. I find the postpartum practices to be more widespread than delivery practices, which are going to vary according to income.
“After birth mom and baby are wrapped tightly to keep warm and prevent aging. Mom especially isn’t allowed to get cold the first 3 months, so she must wear long sleeves. And for those first 3 months, mom isn’t allowed to do any work – not even climb stairs. She really and truly rests from the work of pregnancy and childbirth. Dad does the work.”
Also, pregnant women don’t really wear pants here; you always find pregnant women in dresses.
Laos: In Laos, the women who have just given birth are recommended to lie on a bed covered in warm-hot coals for two weeks. They are only allowed off the bed to nurse and to eat, and they are only allowed to eat hot soup. This is a BLAST in the 115 degree heat! If you do this, Danielle, the bad toxins from pregnancy will leave your body, along with any bad spirits that might have haunted you in pregnancy. :)
—Eat eggs every day for a month after delivery.
—Don’t shower for a month.
—And don’t open any windows or go outside.
—And have your mother in law live with you for the next several years!
Romania: In Romania, never go barefoot while you are pregnant. The chill will go right through your feet and give your baby a cold . . . even if it is 90 degrees and the middle of summer. Also, get used to people spitting in the direction of your baby (or you while you are still pregnant). This will trick the evil spirits into thinking your child is ugly so your family will be left alone.
China: ALL of these I heard after having my boys in China:
- Don’t brush your teeth for at least a week after giving birth
- Don’t shower for a month after giving birth
- Eat a dozen eggs within the first 2 days — and then keep eating eggs non-stop the first month
- Don’t let the baby feel ANY breeze
My brother & his family served in the Philippines for many years—and one piece of advice they were given when my sister-in-law was pregnant was that at NIGHT, when the pregnant woman is getting into bed, she was supposed to eat a handful of peanuts and then get into bed by jumping in OVER her husband. Ha! You would not see ME jumping anywhere when I was that big!
Have you delivered in another country? What advice were you given? What other countries could you add to the list?