Thursday, April 3, 2014

"So...what is it like being pregnant in China?"

Being pregnant in Shanghai is very interesting. First of all, everyone loves to stare at me because I am white, AND I have a baobao in my tummy! The Chinese people are also not discreet one bit, so they do not hide the fact that they are staring at you. 

In my third trimester I had people finally start getting up on the subway to give me their seat. I was actually surprised this happened at all because seats on the subway are pretty much like gold. By my 8th month I was getting a little annoyed by not being offered a seat on the subway so I would obnoxiously throw my stomach out and look uncomfortable right in someones face until they had some heart to give me their seat. I am not proud of this, but I was 8 months pregnant, and I don't have a car. These are desperate times. 

I have also had a few instances where people have come up to me on the street to rub my belly. I heard that this is common even in America, but it is a little weird when you cannot understand what the "rubbing person" is saying to you. I was so caught off guard the times it has happened that I usually just stood there awkwardly smiling until they got their genie in a bottle fix. 
Today at the post office I was mailing an envelope when a woman who worked there started rubbing my belly and saying "baobao" (baby) over and over. She then said "boy." "boy." "boy." I had to awkwardly tell her that no, it was a girl. I am still not sure she understood my English. She called over 3 other postal workers (who were men) who then proceeded to rub my belly and giggle. At this point, I was beginning to feel like a zoo creature/puppy/buddah, so I just pushed my belly out of the circle they had created and ran the heck outta there. 

The other "interesting" thing about being pregnant in China is that they like to tell you their beliefs on what is good/bad for the baby (in womb). We went and got massages and they wouldn't use essential oils on my feet. Which okay...I get it. But then he proceeded to tell me (through my friend who knows mandarin) that I should stay away from eating more than one orange at a time, and to avoid all fruit. Hmph. I really like eating two oranges. I have also heard that pregnant women are not supposed to stand in the same room as the microwave when it is running, and I was ridiculed by a local for using my laptop. It was indeed, really bad for the baby. I wanted so badly to know Mandarin to tell her that I was actually incubating an alien so she didn't need to worry about anything. 






Which leads me to my last vent/laugh/cringe pregnant in China point. Labor.
 Local Chinese usually have scheduled C-sections so that they can choose the best "date" for their childs birthday. They want it to have a good number with lots of positive numerals...or something like that. It is also custom here for the Mother to not get out of bed for a full month after giving birth. But thats not the worst part...Women who give birth are not supposed to shower for a month after having the baby. I am going to repeat that for you. Women who give birth are not supposed to shower for a whole month after having the baby. And just in case you missed it, I am also going to put it in bold. This tradition gives me the creeps, and I can only imagine the awesome smells that permeate in her room. I am pretty sure my Husband would be renting a hotel room for that month. After birth I am also supposed to avoid eating fresh foods. Teas and stews only! Luckily, I am giving birth in an "American" hospital where I don't have to do any of this. Although, laying in bed for a month doesn't sound too bad. However, I think i'll take a shower immediately after and eat lots of fresh fruit. Hey, maybe I will even eat two oranges back to back while browsing my laptop. I do not fit in here quite yet. 

So there you have it, being pregnant and living in China. It truly is an adventure. Luckily I am due any second now, and then the real fun begins. Look for this post in the future, "Being a brand spankin' new Mother in China". That ones gonna be a hit!