Monday, 12 October 2015

the Postpartum Recovery Called Zuo Yue Zi or Sitting In

In my journey researching different traditions within birth work, I found some unique beliefs and paths. One in particular is the Chinese custom called “Zuo Yue Zi”, or more publicly known as the ritual of “Sitting In”.  This is a time where the mother and child spend 30 days or more in the gentle  and secure surroundings of their home. The process itself has been coined “Chinese Postpartum Confinement” because that name brought (some people) to see it as a caged, its name has been changed to a time  “the Pampered Seclusion”;  has been practiced for over 2000 thousands years. The process of giving birth is a time of great transition. In the research I have done, it expressed that the tradition practitioners, believed this is a time of vulnerability and pronounced transformation.  Sometimes in times of adjustment, it is helpful to take time to let the changes develop into norms.
In this time, there are a few things that happen or do not happen, as the women spend this time in postpartum recovery.

  • DO NOT’s: no exercise, household chores, cold foods, bathing, work, outside time or wearing light clothes. Traditionally, women would not wash their hair; because, it was believed that it would upset the mothers “chi” or energy balance. It is really it is about not letting anything cool the woman’s body temperature to negatively impact on the “Chi”.
  • DO’s: blankets, hot hearty soups, self-care (such as massage or belly wrapping), sleeping, prenatal physical care,  attachment with the baby and adjustment in to motherhood; all done to help restore the body to a natural healthy balance.
To assist in the success of the process, women in the matriarchy line of the family would come to the home and help with preparing foods, look after the household chores, waking up with the baby at nights and transition the baby to the mother whom is snuggled within her bed. Due to society changes, yet still believing in and wanting to ensure positive and healthy recovery of the mother and child; families now for the successful time of confinement,  by utilizing a postpartum doula, specifically, if family are not available. The hiring of a postpartum doula or 24-hour “confinement woman” has been utilized more in the more recent years. It has been noticed that this time of confinement, takes away a lot of pressure on the mother to be the “perfect mother”. 

If you are looking for more information on this topic, there is a wonderful book called Sitting Moon: A Guide to Rejuvenation after Pregnancy by Daoshing Ni   ( Sitting Moon) “Sitting Moon provides women with information on how to prepare for a new child and how to have a healthy postpartum period. The book includes information on nutrition, especially Chinese nutrition, what physical changes a new mother might expect, common ailments and how to help heal them, qi gong, acupressure, meditation, and exercise. Also includes recipes for the first four weeks after birth and meal plans.”
If you are looking at more holistic Chinese Medicine or more natural help within your in Pregnancy, check out this YouTube video for some ideas.  A Healthy Pregnancy with Wu Ming Qigong  (Video) There are many Chinese Medicine or Natural Path practitioners in the world, search  for them or ask your doula she may know of some practitioners personally

Lesley Cressman, CLD, SBD

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