The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #183: Postpartum House Arrest

Jessica is an OBGyn. And even though she’d cared for hundreds of new moms, she somehow always pictured her own maternity leave was going to feel like a vacation—long walks around the neighborhood with her baby, consuming all the sushi and coffee she wasn’t allowed to have while she was pregnant.

Linda and Jessica

But Jessica’s mom, Linda, had another plan for her. Forget the coffee, the sushi, the walks. Jessica would be cooped up indoors eating only what Linda deemed postpartum appropriate. Oh, and Jessica would not be allowed to bathe. All of this for an entire month.

When Jessica tried to fight her mom on this, Linda told her she didn’t have a choice; this was Chinese tradition.

Tune in for this epic tale of mother vs daughter and old world vs new.

Jessica (left) with her family

Learn more about the practice of “sitting in”
For research on how sitting in can impact new moms, check out these two articles:
What Chinese Medicine Has to Teach Us About New Mothers (Nautilus)

I tried the Chinese practice of ‘sitting the month’ after childbirth (Washington Post)

And this dissertation includes recipes for the teas and food that are traditionally made for mothers sitting in:
坐月子 Zuo Yue Zi Sitting The Month in Taiwan: Implications For Intergenerational Relations (Case Western Reserve)