For my part, I refused to be a prisoner to tradition and blithely ignored these taboos. And Dong Ayi did not exactly complain when I took a shower or opened the window or drank iced water.Even if the rules seem absurd, they do serve many purposes. Look at how these rules intricately connected the new mother to her traditional culture, enforced elaborate special care for the mother, and guaranteed an extended celebration of the arrival of the baby. Of course, the modern new mother can resist and make fun, but at the same time, she appreciates the beauty and function of the traditional ways.
She would just fix me with a baleful glare... a silent warning of the error of my ways....
Food was another small battleground over which we skirmished.
The Chinese firmly believe that certain foods are beneficial after childbirth, particularly purple rice porridge with dates, pig trotter soup and black chicken broth.
On one memorable occasion, my in-laws even produced deep-fried pork-fat soup, which was surprisingly good.
The problem was that Dong Ayi firmly opposed my favourite foods: namely coffee, chocolate and bananas.
"Not for breastfeeding mothers," she said, banning them from my diet, "they're bad for Daniel's health."
I took the route of least resistance and meekly agreed, though I would visit friends' houses for clandestine coffee and secret bananas.
December 4, 2005
"Taking a shower, washing your hair, drinking cold water, opening the window, watching television and even reading a book."
Things not to do after having a baby.