Friday, June 29, 2012

Barefoot & Pregnant

…in Singapore. Just kidding!! Well, kinda.

I asked my amazing friend, Christina, to be a guest blogger on Hoot Knows.  Christina has to be one of the coolest people I have ever met.  She is from Singapore yet knows how to cook more American dishes than I do (I realize this is not saying much for those who know me).  She's been known to make her own beef jerky and peach jam.  She loves American politics, majored in Journalism, and is now a speech-language pathologist in Warren, Arkansas.  I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did!!

Brooklyn and I were classmates in graduate school. And for about three months, we carpooled on Mondays to our externship sites. I always enjoyed that one-hour-plus car ride with Brooklyn. We talked about pretty much anything and she, being Brooklyn (who is never always all about herself) always asked about how things are different in Singapore vs. the U.S.A. Brooklyn asked if I would do a blog post about cultural differences, and here, as I am 20 weeks pregnant, I decided to share some pregnancy old wives' tales and customs that the Chinese in Singapore believe and/or adhere to. 

First off, understand that foods are categorized into "hot" and "cold." A pregnant woman is not supposed to eat watermelon (because it is considered "cold). It will affect the "qi" and the "yin/yang" in the body. And the baby will likely be sickly. Cold food is believed to cause miscarriages. The womb is an incubator and has to be warm to let the embryo grow (like a hen sitting on her eggs). Too cold = no baby chicks. Some also believe that eating watermelon will cause the baby's head to be bigger. Other fruits that I have been told to avoid: Watermelon, pineapple, cold drinks.
I was told not to do any sewing/cutting (especially on the bed) because my baby might have cleft palate/lip. 

Do not criticize other people (especially other babies) because your child may take on the qualities of the person whom you criticized. (example: So-and-So has bad skin = your baby will have bad skin. So-and-so is whiny = your baby will be whiny). 

Do not reach your arms high beyond your head. It will cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's head. 

Pregnancy is considered a joyous experience. Hence it should never "clash" with something that is mournful (such as funerals). Therefore you will never see a pregnant woman attending funerals (unless it is a very close family member.) 

After you give birth, you are supposed to go through a period of confinement - a period of time (about a month) where the mother will take to recuperate from giving birth (because it is such a straining, exhausting, draining experience). During this time, you are NOT supposed to wash your hair, take a bath, go outside the house, be in a cold place (like using the fan or AC). This is because all these activities are considered "cold" and will affect the mother's health such as cramping and arthritis in old age. During this time, you will be eating things like liver, ginger, chicken in sesame oil, and drinking hot tea such as date tea, ginger tea because they are of a "hot" nature and will help restore the body's back to its balanced yin/yang stage. What's nice about this period of confinement is there is someone (either a family member or a hired help) who will do all the grocery shopping, cooking, chores around the house for you. 

Do not touch the baby's head - it is supposed to carry the spirit of the baby. 

These are some of the old wives' tales/superstitions that I grew up knowing and my mom and best friend have been trying to convince me to follow. When I offer logical explanations supported by scientific data and research to my mom, she will always tell me, "You are afterall a Chinese. You aren't built like the "westerners". (I must mention that mom always tell me the 11 years in the U.S.A., has made me big-built and stocky like Americans!).


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