It’s a Viet Thing: The One Month Cleanse for Moms

November 26, 2012 Its a Viet Thing 19

It’s a pretty well-known Asian belief that when you give birth, it’s like you’re being born again yourself. You need nutrients, nurturing, rest, and time to get back to your original self. Also, you need to strengthen up your body after such a lief-altering experience, so you don’t have to suffer the consequences later on in life.

That’s why it’s customary for Asians, I’ll only speak for the Vietnamese though, to have a “One Month Cleanse/Hibernation/Recuperation” tradition for new moms. What does this mean exactly?!

Well, this means that for ONE MONTH after you have a baby, you cannot:
– leave the house for any reason (except to see the doctor/Pediatrician)
– take a bath
– watch TV, read, use the computer or basically do anything that will strain your eyes
– stand for long periods of time
– walk up and down stairs
– bend over or do too many strenuous movements

*Basically, your top priority is to take care of yourself and the baby. No distractions or unnecessary actions.*

You also have to eat a healthy and restricted diet filled with protein and carbohydrates to replace all that you lost and rebuild your body’s strength. That’s it, that’s all. For. One. Whole. Month. You can even throw in a little wine though, to help get rid of all that blood and stuff going on down there while you’re recovering (TMI?!?!).

Now, let me tell you, of all the things I had to endure during each of my cleanses, this was the worst! I’m usually a creature of habit, so I don’t mind eating the same thing everyday. But, I also love my junk food and by like the 2nd or 3rd week, I was seriously craving some pizza and fries. Yes, rice and pan-fried meat (chicken/pork) can get old after the 21st day or so…

Anyway, after about a week or so, when you’re beginning to feel a little better, more like yourself, and you’re starting to feel icky from not showering or bathing for awhile, you have to start “the cleanse”. That’s when you brew a BIG pot of all those helpful herbs and natural extracts and you sit inside a closed area (you can use a tent) and let the steam engulf you. It’s basically like sitting in a sauna for like 15-20 minutes, and luckily, the brew doesn’t stink.

When you’re all sweaty and gross, then comes the part where you now have to wash yourself with the brew with either a rag or a sponge. Just rub the water all over your body and clean yourself as best as you can. Thankfully, I have a loving and nurturing mother who took care of all of this for me (usually the elders help you with this anyways, which is why we respect them so much) and I love her even more for doing this. Anyways, you would think that sounds icky, but it’s not like the brew is sticky or smelly. It’s really just boiled water with herbal extracts, so you’re left feeling refreshed and, really, a lot cleaner than you were half an hour ago.

This continues every few days until your time is up.

So, what is the point of all this, you say?! Well, like I said, it’s about strengthening your body and helping it heal so you can get back to your life and daily living. Also, when we get older, we’re going to have those aches and pains, especially as a woman, so it’s necessary to take care of your body while you’re young and able so you don’t suffer so much when you’re older. At least, that’s the old school way of thinking (which I highly believe, in this case, because there are plenty of older Asian women that are walking around like they’re still 20).

Speaking from personal experience, I always whine and complain about it, but I see the logic in it and appreciate this part of my culture and tradition. My family and I are often amazed at how American women can just get up and go to the nail salon or like, do 50 jumping jacks, only 3-4 days after giving birth! Seriously, my bajingo is still crying from the trauma and my uterus is torturing me with cramps while it shrinks. I don’t know how they do it, nor do I want to do that to my body. But, to each their own. This is definitely one of those things that I’ll be teaching my kids and hopefully, helping them through one day.

So, what are your thoughts on this particular tradition?!

ICYMI: The Vietnamese like to shave their kids’ heads after a few months. Learn more about that!

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19 Responses to “It’s a Viet Thing: The One Month Cleanse for Moms”

  1. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    This is such an interesting tradition. My mom is from Thailand and she never told me about anything like this, but she didn’t really seem to keep with many of the Asian traditions once she came over here I don’t think. I really love these posts. It’s so cool to hear about the traditions that you have and stick to. I think it’s a great idea. As much as I would probably whine about it too, I can definitely see the benefits of it. Great post!!
    Amy @ Book Loving Mom recently posted…Blog Tour: Barely Alive by Bonnie Paulson Review, Character Bio and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Vivian

      I had no idea that you’re part Thai! Yay! Yea, not too many Asians are that traditional anymore and honestly, I hardly do any traditional stuff, but my mom is pretty adamant on this, and I see her point so I’ll definitely try to get my daughters to do this when they have kids, lol.

  2. Raebeth Buda

    This was a very interesting read for me. Here in America we continue on with our lives only days after giving birth. It’s great to read about other traditions. It’s really cool learning about other cultures and I think it’s a great idea. Although it wouldn’t really work for me. My husband works all the time which would leave my six year old daughter on her own for that month… yeah… can’t have that. Thanks for sharing. Great post.
    Raebeth Buda recently posted…Silenced UpdateMy Profile

    • Vivian

      Thank you! Yes, I wanted to give people an idea about how my culture is and see if any can relate. I hear you though, if I didn’t have a great support system like my mom, who knows how I would’ve handled it. I’m hoping to be that same support system for my daughters one day!

  3. Vy

    I’ve actually never heard about this before. I think this was one of the traditions my family didn’t take part in because my aunt was up and about after a week after giving birth. This tradition sounds really neat!
    Vy recently posted…Book Haul (9)My Profile

    • Vivian

      Haha, aww I wanted to see if you knew what I was talking about too. I guess your family is pretty modernized, although I know of a lot of Asian families who don’t do this anymore. Sigh…

  4. Reading Angel

    How very interesting. I think except for the giving up reading thing I would be good with this!!
    I know my mother really helped to talk care of me for the first month after I had my child, I love and respect her so much.
    I did get out and about though. (and watch TV and read and eat junk food…LOL).
    Reading Angel recently posted…Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013My Profile

    • Vivian

      Haha, yea the whole not watching TV or doing anything really drove me crazy because I was bored outta my mind! I mean, the baby sleeps most of the day so it’s not like you’re busy doing that! I think the not showering for the whole month bugged me the most tho! LOL

    • Vivian

      LOL, yea. It was pretty tortuous, but it’s a cultural thing and luckily it’s not like I’m breaking a sweat & feeling too yucky.

  5. Z Price

    I find these traditions fascinating! I wish I had come across your blog when I was pregnant. What are the herbs that are used for the cleansing?

    • Vivian

      Oh, I wish I did. I don’t know the English names for them. I will def try and find out and let you know! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Nga

    I just ended my one-month cleanse as I stumbled across this article/your blog…lol! I tried to adhere to all this rules but definitely broke several (eg. Bathing, watching TV, standing for a long time).

    I would like to also add that we are made to eat this soup made out of green papaya and pig hooves; apparently the claim is that this type of soup increases milk production. I also have to keep eating tumeric (some even plaster it all over their face and body). This supposedly give you beautiful skin and helps with digestion. The latter I agree with but not sure about the former. And NO CITRUS and COLD BEVERAGES!! 🙂

    • Vi

      Thanks for checking this out. Yeah, I def didn’t stick to this as much with my 3rd, but I think if you last at least a week, you’re good, lol. Oh, that tumeric and soup does not sound good, haha.

  1. It’s a Viet Thing – The One Month Celebration | Vi3tbabe

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