12 Ways for Hippie Moms to Pass Time While Waiting for Baby

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Waiting for babyStarting maternity leave early and wondering how to pass your pre-baby days without losing your mind?  I’ve compiled a list of my favorite things to do while you, hippie mama, are waiting for your precious angel to make its way out of WombLand onto this terrestrial planet.

In case you don’t already know, the baby is not in a rush at all to get outta there. I mean, who would trade floating inside a warm ball of yummy juices and no obligations with an earthly existence of crying and having to figure out how to use your own lungs only to breathe in unfiltered city smog?  Seriously. The baby does not care if you are tired of spending beautiful, sunny days inside your cold house, on the couch, eating ice cream straight out of the container, anticipating her birth.  The baby does not care that the furniture and clothes in her room are collecting dust. She will come out when she is ready. In the meantime, she is happily enjoying bruising your organs and gradually depriving you of your ability to walk.

So the best thing you can do right now is sit back, relax, and pick a few things on this list to do on top of your usual wake up, eat, nap, eat, eat, eat, sleep cycle.

1. Spend your most productive hours of the day on YouTube and watch the vast collection of videos of stay-at-home mothers teach you everything–I mean, everything–you ever wanted to know about cloth diapers.  Topics include but are not limited to: velcro vs. snaps, rinsing out breastfed poo vs. solid food poo, diapers for skinny leg babies vs. average leg babies vs. chubby leg babies, washing your diapers in a top loader vs. high-efficiency top loader vs. high efficiency front loader, detergents to use for soft water vs. hard water…okay, you get the point. You have time–use it to become an expert on cloth diapering, your obligatory must-do as a hippie mom.

2. Freak out when you learn that almost every baby product is tainted with toxic chemicals. And then try to figure out what you’re going to do with the closet full of Kirkland Baby Wipes that people bought for your baby shower. (Petrochemicals and cancer-causing agents in baby wipes?! What is wrong with this world?)

3. Get your hopes up each time you feel any sort of sensation in your abdomen. No, it’s not a contraction–more likely than not, it’s the baby jabbing your bladder or you are constipated.

4. Offer endless thanks to your husband who volunteers to cook dinner every night for you after he comes home from work.  Even though he’s been seeing patients all day long in his hospital job and you’ve only moved from the couch to pee a couple times, somehow you’re still too tired to cook a real meal.

5. Judiciously select all of the items to pack in your hospital bag.  After reading all of the recommended things to bring, you wonder why everyone calls it “hospital bag” when they actually suggest enough items to fit into two large suitcases for a 1-2 night hospital stay.

6. Figure out how to drink 2-3 cups of raspberry leaf tea and eat at least 6 dates a day to help strengthen uterus and ripen the cervix.  How does that work exactly?  I have no idea–just do it!

7. Anticipate how much you’re going to cry when you have to go back to work and leave your baby with a caretaker.  That is months away and there is no reason to think about it now. But you do because you are a worrier. Just like your mother.

8. Read about all the common sicknesses that infants suffer from and face the reality that you and your partner will soon be in charge of a little human that cannot respond to “Honey, what’s wrong?”

9. Try to explain to your dog that the reason for the very short walks and lack of trips to the dog park are due to your physical limitations as an extremely pregnant woman and hope that he actually understands what you are saying.  To lessen the guilt, try to teach your dog new tricks–even if it proves to be extremely challenging because the dog is having trouble understanding that he has to actually DO SOMETHING to earn a treat.

10. Wash the baby’s clothes, dust the house, mop the floors, and do an overall tidying of the house in hopes that the baby will come in time to a clean house. Try to forget about the possibility that the baby may come weeks later than you expected and you may have to go through the cycle of cleaning all over again. NOOO!

11. Go back and forth on whether you will make an attempt to run errands that day or stay home JUST IN CASE the baby decides to come that day.  Usually, staying at home is the road most taken and the baby has already decided that her birthday is definitely NOT going to be that day.

12. When there is absolutely nothing to do, put on your eye mask, turn on your birthing playlist, and practice your hypnobirthing/relaxation techniques.  Fall asleep in the process.

Those are my personal favorites so far, and I’m only two weeks into my maternity leave!  There is even the possibility that I could have two MORE weeks of waiting for the minutes whiz by…but let’s not jinx myself.

 

 

 

 

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Chinese Superstitions About Pregnancy

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asianbabyWithin five minutes of telling my Chinese parents that I was pregnant, I was recited a list of every rule that I must follow in order to guarantee a healthy, good-looking baby. My husband and I laughed through most of the superstitions as it was hard to conceive of the scientific reasoning behind most of them. I did hope to find a Chinese medicine practitioner who could substantiate at least some of these claims but I haven’t met anyone yet with enough knowledge to elaborate more on these superstitions.  For now, I’ll share what I’ve heard for sake of pure entertainment.

1) Hammers and scissors should not be used in the bedroom, my husband was firmly told. Why, you ask? Because it will cause facial defects, such as scars and a cleft lip, as if the tools could literally cut into my child’s face (is that graphic enough for you?).

2) I should not eat pineapples. The reason? My baby will grow sharp, prickly bumps – like that of pineapple skin – on her head.

3) No eating watermelon during pregnancy.  It is considered a “cold” food in Chinese medicine and can make me susceptible to illness.  (Ironically, ten minutes after dinner, my dad sliced up half a watermelon for me to bring home to eat.)

4) No squatting! The baby will literally slip out right underneath me. If only labor was that easy…

5) I should post up large magazine posters of babies on my bedroom walls.  I have seen the inside of many bedrooms in Vietnamese plastered corner-to-corner with calendar photos of babies and cartoon bears.  The images of babies are supposed to help mom with positive visualizations and feelings about her baby

6) I shouldn’t make a habit of rubbing or touching my belly too often. To reinforce this rule, my mother scolds me every single time I even think about touching my belly bump. No one explained to me why this is bad, but according to this website, the Chinese believe that rubbing one’s belly will cause the child to be spoiled and overly demanding.

These are only some of the many rules a Chinese woman must follow during pregnancy.  Wait until you hear the rules the mother must follow after the baby is born.  Here’s a quick run through: limit exposure to water in the weeks after birth (this means limit showering, bathing, standing in the rain, hand washing clothes, etc.), no eating raw fruits and vegetables, no leaving the house for the first month, no wearing clothes that bare too much skin…and the list goes on.  And of course, I imagine that different Chinese communities modify these rules as they see fit – a first generation Chinese family in America may adhere to these rules less than a family in rural China.

I do continue to find myself questioning if some of these rules have any scientific validity.  For instance, I wonder if Chinese mothers (and babies) are less likely to get sick due to a strict diet and limiting their exposure to cold elements?  Are there less miscarriages in Chinese populations where women are more careful in not overexerting themselves and more likely to keep themselves homebound during pregnancy?

If someone can help answer these questions without my having to do a scientific literature review (because that is SO not happening in my last two weeks of pregnancy), I would love to hear it!

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