It’s been a month after I gave birth, and finally, I can take a bath. YEHEY!
Yup that’s my reaction.
Hulaan ko reaction ninyo: “What???” “Gross!” “Yuck!” “Ewww” “Weirdo” “What the F?!!” “OMG!”
And I totally understand you because those were my reactions when my Chinese mommy friends were teaching me the post-partum care of almost every Chinese wife, who are willing to undergo the Ge-lai.
Ge-lai, is a post-partum care that has been practiced for centuries in China and up to now by the traditional Chinese. And why? There are many advantages. I have an 80-year-old Chinese lady friend who has had six children, but she looks like she is 50 years old and as strong as a 40-year- old lady. Mrs. Dy has no veins in her hands, no wrinkles, never had cosmetic surgery nor botox. Take note, she is 80 years old. She told me her secret was her practices after giving birth: Ge-lai. Let me go over some of them for our future mothers who wish to reap the benefits. No joke po ito, seryoso ako.
1. No bath for a month! “Punas-punas” ng mainit na tubig lang.
The Chinese believe that when you give birth, all your pores open up because of the extreme pressure and exhaustion. Para ka raw tumakbo sa U.P. Oval track ng 100 times. You also accumulate a lot of “cold” in your body such that bathing brings in more “cold” even if you take a bath with warm water, especially your head. Dry shampoo is an alternative. Pero nakaka-balakubak daw ito kaya di na ako nag-dare. Nasa loob naman ako ng aircon na kuwarto (dahil bawal din ang electric fan kasi mapasukan ka ng hangin sa katawan at sa ulo) kaya di naman ako napapawisan o nadudumihan.
(Iinit pati ang ulo mo sa kakaisip kung gaano kalaki ang Meralco bill mo after one month dahil naka-aircon ka day and night nang walang patid! Haaaay!)
Siyempre, hindi rin ako nakatiis, kinailangan kong i-wash ang delicate areas every day at punas-punas sa kili-kili. Hello! Kung di ko naman gagawin iyon, e, mag-aamoy Payatas na ang kuwarto ko ano! –
Haay nako, T.M.I.—Too much information!
Pagkatapos nitong isang buwang kabahuan, papaliguan ka ng isang ge-lai expert with matching boiled leaves ng guava,sambo, at kung anu-ano pang dahon galing sa botanical Garden Institute of albularyorism (hehe, pang-asar).
‘Tapos hihilutin ka para bumalik ang matres (uterus) mo sa dating lugar. Bago ka paliguan, siyam na araw (nine days) kang hihilutin. After nine days of this hilot massage, you will be rewarded with a bathing pass and then have your final hilot massage after giving THE bath.
I kinda needed that final hilot massage because I was shaking after my first bath in one month. It was like my body was not used to water anymore, and in spite of bathing in warm water, I was shaking after. After the hilot massage, I felt better. So much better actually because I FINALLY TOOK A BATH AFTER ONE MONTH!
But I guess skipping bathes may prove to be quite healthy. Take for example, Jaya’s mother Elizabeth Ramsey. I once asked her what the secret of her health was, why she was so strong and can bring the house down in her shows in spite of her age.
She answered me, “Ah, kasi Inday, hindi ako naliligo. Minsan-minsan lang kapag may show ako. Pero kung dito lang ako sa bahay, di na ako naliligo, masama kasi kapag lagi kang mag-basa-basa. Hindi maganda yun, Inday.”
Inisip ko, baka pinag-tri-tripan lang kami ni Mama Beth Ramsey. Baka pagtalakod namin, tumatawa na siya at sinasabing, “Mga lokong bata, naniwala sa komedyante!”
Just to make sure I heard it right and that she was not joking, when I saw her again in the studio, I asked her the same question and she replied with the same answer.
Hmmm, I guess she does make sense. I am 100 percent sure I acquired veins in my hands and feet from taking a bath after rigorously after playing the whole day outside our house, or washing my hands after writing 50 pages.
And back then, mahirap lang kami kaya wala pang instant hot water sa faucet. Kahit nga Bhagwan, na binebenta ng mga 5-6 na naka-turban na nagpapautang sa amin, wala pa noon. We would bathe in cold water day and night kahit pagod. Bad, bad, bad. Kaya nga kapag pagod, bawal maligo, di ba? I wonder if Jaya followed her mother’s advice and did not take a bath for a month after giving birth.
Advantages of the one-month bath abstinence: faster recovery, better resistance to sickness like colds, fever, “binat”, and more time for your baby and to breastfeed. Marami sa mga kaibigan kong Chinese ang di sumunod sa practice na ito at nagsisisi dahil lamigin na raw sila ngayon, sakitin at laging nanghihina, di tulad ng dati.
Abstaining from taking a bath also abstains you from going out, which gives you a mandatory one-month rest, which you badly need after giving birth. Sino nga naman ang gusto maglakwatsa nang di naliligo!
Disadvantage: the icky-yucky feeling of knowing you have not taken a bath in weeks; the icky-yucky feeling of your visitors knowing that you didn’t take a bath; the oily grease build-up on your hair when you comb it. Ewwww!
Anyway, it was worth it. I’m as strong as carabao now, and I’m back in the gym and soon, back to work! (Read more… )