Few days ago my husband questioned me about how effective is the Malay traditional routines during the confinement period that every new mothers have to go through, be it 30-days, 44-days or even 60-days. The most common period is I believe, is 44 days.
Until I'm pregnant, those confinement routines like bertungku, bertangas, bekung seem like a foreign language to me. But of course, being a first born, I've seen Mother gone through it all but I didn't really comprehend the logic behind all those rituals.
When I found out that I was pregnant, the first question that everyone seems to ask was, how am I going to go through the confinement period? Is there anyone coming to help me (and us) after the delivery? I haven't give much thought on it till people were asking about it as I didn't expect that I will go through (strict) confinement rules giving the condition that we're in, living 10,000 kilometers away from our parents.
Being away from family means I have to take charge and have to look at the berpantang period from a different angle. I'm planning to take this time as a rejuvenation period, as in the time to gain back energy and be healthy so that I can take care of the baby better. I also plan on eating as much as nutritious food as possible and not to focus much of the weight that should be shed. After all, a happy mom is equal to a happy baby and thus, a happy family. Lately, I've been compiling few nutritious-laden confinement recipes for H for him to cook and prepare them during his 2 weeks paternity leave. Sometimes I wonder why most people often associate confinement period as being boring because when I look at the menu, you will be spoilt for choice. You have turmeric chicken, chicken soup, black pepper beef, steamed and grilled fish etc. Man, I'm salivating already!
The funny thing about Malay traditional confinement menu is that, it differs from one family to another. In my family, new mothers can basically eat all sorts of protein - beef, (white) fish and chicken. Seafood and egg are forbidden as they are deemed "gatal". Most vegetables and fruits are allowed except those that are deemed "gassy or windy". I've heard people saying that confinement rituals should be followed strictly since it'll affect the bodily performance & functions in the future. What got me thinking is that, how about the after confinement period? Don't you have to take care of your body as well? Or your body only precious to you during the short 44 days period?
My husband and I had an interesting conversation on food that the Malays forbid during the confinement period. We know that in science, a hypothesis is proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be scientifically hypothesis (in this case, since such food will affect the bodily functions in the future, I take that we need more scientific evidence to make it more concrete), the scientific method requires one to test it. When no scientific evidence is produce, a hypothesis will just remain - well, a myth.
Am I right or wrong here?