When I gave birth to my first child, I lived in South Korea, and when I say this I don't mean on an American Military Base - I mean South Korea. My husband was an English Teacher in a Korean Private school so my birth was attended by a Korean OBGYN who spoke *some* English and nurses who spoke absolutely none. I was terrified about giving birth in a foreign culture but it turns out, giving birth in South Korea is not only not scary, it is awesome!
"Samchilil", which literally means "21 days" is a Korean tradition in which the new mother rests and is cared for by her mother or mother-in-law for at least 21 days. It is believed that the new mother must be cared for in order to ensure a quick recovery from birth, and time to bond and adjust to motherhood. While the name insinuates 21 days, this period is usually much longer can extend to even 100 days. During this time, the new mother rests and nurses and bonds with her baby. She literally does nothing. No housework, no errands, no cooking, no dealing with appointments. They have no responsibilities other than their baby. The family cleans the home, prepares meals, helps care for baby, run errands and maintains the household. The mother is fed a lot of warm and easy to eat soup filled with very nutritious ingredients to facilitate healing and restore warmth to mother's body post-birth.
The standard hospital stay for a korean mother is 3 days for a normal delivery and 4 days for a c-section. After this standard stay, many new mothers now go to maternity suites where the hospital staff sees to their every need while they continue to rest. They will stay here for a few weeks before starting Samchilil with their family. While in the hospital, they eat practically nothing but seaweed soup (which is delicious by the way). The rooms are kept warm (not an air conditioner in sight) and the mother enjoys not only rest, but they also get completely pampered. The second day in the hospital, a nurse takes you to "physical therapy." Really what this is is a room full of about 15 machines that massage different parts of your body in different ways. Water massage machines, back massage machines, every massage machine you could ever imagine! Then there are the sitz baths. Several times a day you go to a room filled with several private stalls where you sit in a bath of warm water and healing herbs etc that give your bottom the most amazing relief on the planet! I usually snuck down there a few extra times a day.
Now most of you who have given birth in America are probably saying, "wait, WHAT?" In America the postpartum period is not even recognized as important. Mothers tend to be expected to immediately resume their day to day routine and they almost never have extended help from family and friends. The good news however, is that it does not have to be this way at all. You can have an incredibly satisfying, smooth, and blissful postpartum experience where you are treated with great care and respect. Ladies, your bodies have done something incredibly difficult and life-changing! You should be treated as if that is the case.
In addition to offering Postpartum Doula Services, I am so excited to announce a Free Informational Workshop all about the Postpartum Period and how to navigate it with ease and comfort. This workshop will be co-hosted with Melynda Smith of Sage Femme Birth Services and will be held at Oakleaf Family Chiropractic. Attendees will have a blast learning about what to expect and how to prepare and will leave with a fabulous goody bag complete with helpful postpartum resources for you and your partner! R.S.V.P. today before the event fills up. You can find all of the event information here.
To learn more about the postpartum period and how I can help, click here for info on Postpartum Doula Services.