Friday, October 1, 2010
(PICTURE: Say hello to my nephew Nhat Minh.)
Huyen's sister Hoai had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago which means I'm an uncle...again! Now that Huyen and I are officially married, I'm an Uncle three times over. I'm not afraid to play favorites either -- I've got Lilah, my nearest (but farthest) and dearest. Then there is Viet Huong, the four-year-old menace and now Nhat Minh, the most handsome boy in Hue.
Being the good aunt and uncle that we are, Huyen and I flew down to Hue to visit Hoai and her baby. Besides being great to catch up with Hoai, her husband Tan and his family, it was an overall extremely education experience for me. I constantly found myself emailing my mother asking, "In America do new mothers do ______."
The thing that I found most surprising is that mew mothers can not shower or brush their teeth for a considerable amount of time after giving birth. Hoai had given birth ten days earlier yet still hadn't showered when we got there. I was initially told that women in Vietnam can't shower for about a month after birth. However, Hoai broke down and showered on day #12 (albeit she didn't brush her teeth). I'm not an expert on why this is but everyone kept saying that it had to do with keeping a woman's blood warm.
Post-birth, there is a lot of focus given to the mothers in Vietnam. I think this is quite different than in America where the majority of the attention after giving birth is given to the baby. Sure, us American care about new mothers but we sort of assume they're in fine health after leaving the hospital. In Vietnam, they are very concerned about the woman not having to do anything for a long time after birth. Basically Hoai wasn't allowed to leave the house at all...and wouldn't be leaving the house for at least a couple of months.
I read an interesting article about how different cultures treat mothers postpartum. Check it out if you have time: Here's an interesting story. It was really interesting to talk with Huyen and her family about giving birth in America. Huyen definitely expressed some nervousness about what it would be like to give birth in America. So family, lets revisit this article around 2012, shall we?