It's common in some cultures to be confined at home a month after you give birth. Some moms who believe in this practice are now doing it in style.
By Sarah Yang for TheBump.com
Thinkstock / The Bump
This might drive some women crazy: Imagine not leaving your house for an entire month after giving birth -- with just your baby and mother-in-law to keep you company. Are you pulling out your hair at the thought of it? Well, a new article in Time focuses on the Chinese practice of "sitting the month" or postpartum confinement. According to Time, the practice has been around since the 1st century B.C. and involves new moms spending about a month indoors after they give birth. Many believe that it helps the mother heal faster and rejuvenate. Normally, a woman's mother-in-law takes charge during the 30-day period by making meals and helping the new mom care for the baby.
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Okay, now consider this: Even though many new moms in countries like China and Taiwan still observe the ancient practice, many of them today do it in style. Confinement centers that resemble hotels or spas are making a fortune on "sitting the month." The centers have luxe suites and offer parenting classes and spa services. The newborns are cared for by nurses so mom can get her complete rest. Many believe that it's a better option for the modern-day woman -- who would want to spend their confinement period in a house with her MIL when you can spend a month getting pampered at a resort? The price tag for staying at these centers isn't cheap: It's about $200-300 a night. So while wealthy new mamas get to spend their month in luxury, the rest of them do it the old-fashioned way.
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We were so intrigued by the luxury postpartum confinement practice that we asked Paul Hokemeyer, JD, PhD, a marriage and family therapist who's also been on The Dr. Oz Show, to give his take on the subject. His verdict? While the first 30 day seclusion period is healthy for mother and child so that they can bond, it should be done for the right reasons -- that means new moms shouldn't be doing it for their own personal relaxation but also for the baby's well-being as well. "In theory, the mother can attend to the infant's needs and be there for them," he says, "But in practice, the trend seems to be moving away from the needs of the child and onto the narcissistic needs of the mother."
I want to know if any readers out there would ever consider staying at home or at one of these centers for a whole month? My own mom did the whole confinement thing (twice!) and after persistent questioning (mainly "Are you sure you weren't bored out of your mind?!"), she still insists it's the only way to heal and recover. Although, she did admit that she escaped to go to the grocery store once (don't tell my grandma!). I'm still not sold on the idea -- sure, a new mom's got to rest and nest, but to go a month without the great outdoors? I don't think I'll be partaking in this one when I have kids. Sorry mom!
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