Sunday, May 1, 2016

The most welcome news I've heard in months came yesterday, as Ma Lei was explaining to her family how she's planning not to follow the Chinese postpartum tradition.
For those who don't know, the Chinese "medical" "wisdom" includes one practice regarding childbirth that tops almost everything else in its repulsiveness. Traditionally, a new mother was not supposed to rise from her bed for an entire month. Getting out of bed might introduce "cold air" into her body, which is regarded by Chinese "medicine" as a main source of disease.
Most importantly, she was not to bathe. Bathing might make the mother too humid, or something like that.
Thank God, Ma Lei's doctor knows at least somewhat better than that. She explained to Ma Lei and other patients that obeying this custom means exposing the newborn baby to all manners of infectious agents which the baby isn't prepared to combat. (She didn't mention that it's just vile and repulsive to everyone forced to deal with the new mother during that month, which would have been my line of attack.)
So I was very glad that Ma Lei accepted the doctor's advice, and admonished her family not to expect her to follow their traditions in that regard.
But then in the same breath, Ma Lei informed us that she doesn't plan to wash her hair for that entire month. The reason for this is that, once she's washed her hair, she needs to blow it dry. But that might introduce air into her bones, and new mothers' bones are already "loose."
I didn't even fight that battle. I didn't bother to say that there's a reason we have skin, whose sole purpose is to keep "air" and other things out. If she wants to go a month without washing her scraggly hair, I'm okay with that. Just so she doesn't think she needs to spend the entire month in bed without a single shower.

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