Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Chinese Superstitions about Pregnancy

A friend told me that traditionally, after childbirth a new Chinese mother must not get herself wet for six weeks. This includes bathing (although sponge baths are okay), hair washing and food preparation. My mum confirmed it, and my Chinese boss told me it's something to do with the need to rebuild one's Chi.

But wait - there's more...

According to ricebiz:

- use of glue during pregnancy will lead to a difficult birth;
- if you strike an animal during pregnancy your child will look and behave like that animal;
- praise of a newborn baby will attract the attention of evil spirits;
- a baby with wide, thick ears will grow up to be prosperous (lending new meaning to that parental exclamation, "I'll give you a thick ear!".

According to britishbornchinese:
- swearing during pregnancy can cause the baby to be cursed;
- a child's imperfections, deformities etc are blamed on the actions of the mother (yeah, imperfect as in the wrong sex too!);
- continuing to work during pregnancy will ensure an easier delivery (and I thought Chinese society was just treating women as slave labour);
- it is unlucky to name an unborn baby, because it means the parents want the baby to be a particular sex, and may be disappointed (so it must be okay to name the unborn child with a unisex name, right?);
- pregnant women are supposed to be taken care of by their mother-in-law, not husband.

Hmm...but I still don't know why pregnant women aren't supposed to eat lamb.


Jon said...

Complete and utter nonsense. Just be you, Violet

Frally said...

If any of that's true, my kids are in serious trouble...

Rainypete said...

Maybe if you eat lamb during pregnancy your child will have nappy hair and stick out ears.

Violet said...

jon: thanks jon. I really would like to wash my hair a few times after the birth. And I can't help swearing when stupid drivers cut me off or don't give way to me when they're supposed to. At least it's easy for me to avoid striking animals - unless creepy crawlies count.

frally: I bet you're thinking of the swearing.

rainypete: nappy hair - is that like hair full of nappy contents? Eww!

Ms Mac said...

I once knew a woman married to a Chinese man and she insisted on having her children born in China with his family around her as she loved the fussing and faffing that went on around her, laying in bed like a queen, for 6 weeks.

I must admit, I'd probably like that too but would have to insist on being able to shower pretty much immediately after the baby comes and then 2 or 3 times a day afterwards!

Violet said...

ms.mac: There's probably a rule that says you can't follow a superstition half-assed, so if you want the six weeks of pampering you gonna have to have it with greasy hair and smelly armpits :-)

Anonymous said...

My mom told me that eating lamb may cause the baby to have epilepsy. I don't know about you but am eating lamb anyway since in the UK where we live lamb is common for dinner. Plus it has high iron which is good for me and baby.