In the Vietnamese/Chinese culture, postpartum women are to follow rules of the "sitting month" tradition. I tried my best to follow what I could but let me tell you, it was a little bit of a struggle. I couldn't leave the house for the entire month unless it was a necessity such as doctors appointments for myself or Liam. I didn't mind since the weather has been cold and it didn't feel like house arrest since I didn't really have anywhere to go. My mom came to stay with us after Liam was born to help me recover and to make sure I was able to take care of baby okay on my own. Some say you can't shower for the entire month. My mom was lenient in that sense that I could shower as long as I blew dried my hair right away to prevent my body and head from getting cold. Back in the old days, getting sick from birth was common because lack of hot water/heat and didn't have the luxury like we have today. I had to wear socks or slippers at all times also to prevent from getting cold and any slips or falls. Long sleeve shirts, pants, and something that covers your neck had to be worn. I wouldn't have been able to tolerate that if it was summertime. ahh!. The biggest struggle for me was the diet. Nothing cold or raw. No cold or room temperature water. It has to be hot and boiled. No raw veggies, no fruits, no cold juices. Everything must be cooked and eaten hot. I was supposed to eat chicken and ginger soup everyday that my father-in-law was so kind to make me, to rid the body of old blood and cleanse the body. I was pretty good for the first couple of weeks of eating it multiple times a day but I couldn't stomach eating it anymore after that. There are just so many ways you can make the soup into something else that you'd be able to eat everyday and not get sick of. Now with technology, my mom has been Youtubing even more on what I can and cannot eat. No eggs, no beef, no soy sauce, no sweet sticky rice, the list goes on and on. It will delay would healing and make scars possibly larger. No washing dishes as your hands shouldn't be wet for long. My body was craving fruit and anything to drink besides water. Sometimes your body tells you what it needs but I must resist and stick to the food 'plan'.
What I did enjoy was the herbal steam. A package of specially formulated dried herbs is prepared for postpartum recovery. You boil the herbs in a big pot of water and allow the steam to build up and slowly release the steam while under a blanket to create a sauna-like environment. It was relaxing and very spa-like despite hovering over the pot under a blanket. The steam allows you to sweat out all the toxins to recover faster.
I would say that after a week at home resting, I felt much better. By week 2, I could honestly say I felt like myself with little to no abdominal pain from the c-section and can climb stairs easily and up out of bed with no issues. I'm thankful I had my mom there to help cook and watch Liam while I caught up on sleep. Although there were times where she annoyed me and tested my patience, I'm grateful for her being there even to help with the little stuff. My month is now up and freedom is near (haha jk). I think I wouldn't have been able to fully follow the strict rules but I did want to be able to follow some of the tradition to help with recovery. I think I'd try to follow it again, but not sure how much of the food restrictions I'd be able to adhere to without cheating and compromise.
Click below for some more insight on the rationale behind the sitting month.