Folk Belief – China

“It’s Chinese tradition, after you born baby, you only drink hot or warm stuff. When your pregnant, everything is looser, your entire body. Your body is naturally hot inside. You cannot touch cold water because when you get old, it will hurt. Chinese people like to drink warm things because cold things are not natural. It’s like after you exercise you’re hot, and if you drink cold water, it’s not good. After I had Patti, our house flooded and I had to walk through cold water up to my knees. And now my knees always feel cold like in the bone. Chinese people say that you have to treat your body well your entire life because it’ll stay with you.

Another one of my friends said that her mother couldn’t help her after she had baby, so her dad came to help. Her dad didn’t know anything, so he let her eat ice cubes when she was hot. And after awhile she said her hand hurted a lot.”

My mother heard it when she was a little girl from her mother when they lived in Taiwan. She has a younger sister, so she saw this belief in practice when her mother did not touch anything cold after having a baby. She says that it is mainly passed down to females and men only know about it if they are fathers or husbands who hear about it from their wives. Women rarely overlook these beliefs when they are dealing with pregnant women because it is one of their biggest concerns. In China and Taiwan, women were in charge of cooking, cleaning, taking care of children and bearing children. However, men often do not remember these things because they are not responsible to know it. My mom says that is why her friend’s father let her eat ice cubes. Men have no idea what a woman’s body goes through after she has a baby.

My mom says that this belief is very old and it was probably created by women who have had bad experiences with cold water after delivering a baby. Chinese typically drink warm liquids because they feel that it is more in sync with the body’s natural temperature. Anything too cold will shock the body.  Since many generations of women lived in the same household for most of their lives, they passed on their knowledge and observations to younger generations. When a woman gave birth, her mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and even aunts would come and help out with the new baby. When my sisters had their babies, my mom would go live with them for about a month to cook and give advice. Even though this practice is very old, my mother still partakes in it because it is how she grew up.

After women have children, their bodies are in a lot of stress because they have been carrying another human being in them for the last nine months. They should allow their bodies to recover by only eating and drinking soothing foods. They should not distress the body more because it has already been through a lot.

I am usually skeptical about practices that are not proven by science, but I still find logic in my mother’s belief. There might be some mental aspects to it, but I do not find any reason to doubt it. There is no harm in not drinking cold water for a month after having a baby if it may reduce the risk of future ailments. Our bodies are vulnerable to many things and we should do all we can to protect it. We only get one body in our lifetime, so we should take care of it. I will most likely follow my mom’s advice when I have children because I have seen what might happen if I do not as exemplified through my mom’s feelings in her leg. Even in western cultures, we drink warm things, such as tea and hot chocolate to make ourselves feel better. It warms us up inside because it helps return our bodies to its natural state and temperature.