A Magical Month | My Yue Zi Experience
Giving birth takes a huge toll on the body. Not only are you growing a human life & carrying it around for 9 months, but the process of labor & delivery can be pretty traumatic too. Therefore, the Chinese don’t mess around when it comes to the 1-month of sitting.
For those who are unfamiliar w/ the practice, Zuo yue zi is the ancient Chinese tradition where new moms spend the 1st month post-partum bonding w/ their baby & allowing their body to heal.
In modern times, some of the original customs aren’t followed in the same way, but Zuo yue zi comes w/ some specific rules dating back 2000+ years:
Avoiding contact w/ cold & wind. No showering or washing hair. Cos who doesn’t love a greasy mop?
Eating A LOT but only if it’s warm, cooked, & bland as hell. Can’t a girl get some salt in her pig foot soup?!
Sleep, eat, change diaper, feed baby, repeat! They say minimal stimulation, like staying away from smart phones, books & TV, is helpful for healing. So forget the Netflix binge & prepare to really disconnect.
Everyone wants to meet a new baby, but not everyone is germ-free so no visitors are allowed.
The 1st week was rough! My type A personality left me struggling to give up some of the control. I wanted to do everything myself; tend to baby, spend time w/ hubby & still manage to get enough rest. I was totally overwhelmed by my new role as a mommy & always reminding myself of the golden rule for every new mommy: to sleep when the baby sleeps!
By week 2, I was getting into the swing of things. Breastfeeding became a smoother process despite the sore nips & milk shooting out of my boobies like Old Faithful. I totally LOVED the bonding experience w/ my baby. It’s a feeling that I can’t even begin to explain.
Cabin fever started to kick in around week 3 & I couldn’t wait to go home.
But, during the last week at the center, the reality of going back to the real world set in. Life on the “other side” didn’t seem so cushy any more & I knew I was really going to miss this place!
Yuezi allowed me the time I needed to get accustomed to motherhood. That being said, now that I’m back in Shanghai, I understand when they say that you’re a princess during pregnancy, a queen during Yuezi, & nothing but an old maid once home… It’s all a balancing act & my baby brain is in full swing. There is so much to take in & every day presents a new challenge but we’re taking it one baby step at a time!
Editor in Chief: Rui Cheng
Writer: Moira McNally