Pregnancy Diary #2: ONE MONTH POSTPARTUM- The End of Confinement

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Miss E is one month old which means I am finally done with confinement- a Chinese tradition where a mother needs to stay indoors for a month after giving birth and follow a strict set of rules so her body can recover.

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Why hello there!

Really traditional confinement involves pretty much lying pretty in bed and not lifting a finger while your mother/mother-in-law or a hired “confinement lady” does all the hard work. You’re meant to eat foods that restore “heat” into the mum’s body (lots of ginger, sesame oil etc) and dispel “wind”, and avoid “cooling” foods/drinks which include plain water. You’re not even meant to TOUCH water. It sounds impossible to not shower for an entire month but believe me, I know people who have done it.

So, clearly I didn’t follow every rule! I did a kind of updated modern version where my mum cooked nutritious meals, I drank warm longan and red date tea instead of water all day long, my mum helped with the chores as much as possible, and I did try to stay indoors as much as practically possible…but no one can get me to eat things like fish stomach or do things like not shower! In fact, I showered twice a day, wore shorts, sat in front of the fan (come on, it was summer!), changed nappies, bathed both kids, did laundry, had to get up all night to breastfeed and soothe a newborn (and sometimes a toddler too), probably ate things which would make my mother-in-law gasp in horror, and went out of the house at 2 weeks postpartum (which is when you have to head out to visit the maternal child health nurse in Australia). Seriously I think following confinement rules too strictly puts you at high risk for postpartum depression! (Thanks Mum for not being a crazy confinement lady).

Confinement food

Super nutritious soup boiled with ingredients I definitely do NOT want to know about…but I have to say luckily I am pretty fond of black fungus because it was in almost everything

One month on, my carpal tunnel has finally disappeared! I was starting to worry it was never going to go away completely. The afterbirth pains are also gone (I took painkillers for two whole weeks!) and my body is feeling pretty close to its pre-pregnancy state.

I’m slowly figuring out how to handle 2.5 kids (0.5 being the dog). With my first I felt very depressed transitioning to my new life. I just felt like my life was over and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. This time it’s different because I know as hard as it is, it’s all just temporary and things will get better. I just feel more overwhelmed and am wondering how I’m going to do it all and maintain some semblance of sanity. I know it’ll be hard and am glad I still have my mum around for another week while I try to find my feet.

So I think this is my last entry for this pregnancy diary. I’m not planning any more kids so I guess this is a wrap. Can’t say I will miss pregnancy or childbirth but it has been a good and crazy ride which has produced two healthy, beautiful girls who are my world now.

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