Famous question: "how do you 'pantang' in the UK?"
|11 days after delivery.....|
I have been getting this question quite a lot lately- confinement in the UK. Or as the Malays(ians) would call it 'pantang'. Let me tell you that this entry may seem like I am an anti pantang lady but truth is, I am not an anti-pantang larang lady. In fact, I'm all out for it because it gives the Mother time to recuperate and get back on their feet. It really is very helpful to confine yourself for a while because it's not easy to sort things out whilst caring for the baby and yourself. So yes, confinement is indeed good for post natal. The thing that gets to me is when people try very hard to impose unreasonable 'pantang' because 'it was pass down from our ancestors'. There are things that we should strongly do and there are also those that we have to leave behind because it only causes further burden to the mother and/or baby.
There are a few pantang that Malays(ians) impose onto newly Mom's. The pantang starts straight after delivery up to 40-100 days. It 'concentrates' on aspects such as food, drinks, the way they walk, sit, sleep, bathe etc etc. Basically every single thing newly moms do is being scrutinised. I am sure there are reasons behind the dos and don't's. I mean, I strongly agree that mothers should eat proper food to help with breastfeeding. The food Mothers eat really do help with production of breastmilk. So go ahead and eat healthily!
Here are the pantang that I feel is rather inappropriate:
1) Sleeping in separate beds with husband for 40 days or more.
To me, there shouldn't be any reason at all to sleep in separate beds with Hubby once you are married. Separating yourself from Hubby is as bad as separation. So, it's best to be there for the Husband/Wife all the time. The birth of a child shouldn't make your life with Husband any more complicated. :)
2) Shouldn't have a bath straight after delivery.
In Islam, we should always keep our self, home and everything around us clean and tidy. After delivery, there will be an awful lots of blood flowing and really it is not clean and hygienic to let it 'stay there'. In the UK, mothers are asked to have their bath as soon as they deliver to clean themselves. Yes it hurts but it's also for the Mother's own good. If you are given the chance to have for your bath, go straight in the toilet, run the shower and niat 'mandi Wiladah', it is not a must on you, but it's best to do something with a niat.--- full explanation here. You will feel more comfortable, clean and ready to get on with the day once you have had your bath. Once you've started feeding and caring for the baby, you won't know when's the next free time you have. So, whilst the baby is still sleeping and getting used to the surrounding, have your bath and clean yourself.
3) No to iced water!
Until today, I'm still not sure why we can't drink iced water after delivery. Anyone care to explain? Coz in the UK, the only drink we are given straight after delivery is cold iced water! No such thing as warm water. And I asked the Midwife if it's ok, apparently according to her, it helps with the blood. Which is rather weird.
4) Clothe yourself with as much clothes as you can.
Ok only exaggerating, but basically when you are in the confinement period, Malays(ians) believe that it's better if you wear cardigan over your t-shirt, with a long pants or sarong and also socks. Personally to me, being in too much clothing only makes me uncomfortable and restless. When I gave birth to Khairaldin, I had a hard time breastfeeding him because he just wouldn't wake up for milk. Then he had jaundice and my milk wasn't properly produced. I was advised by the midwife, nurses etc not to wear any clothes and to put him on my chest. It's called the skin-to-skin technique where he was more comfortable and can smell my skin. So I did as I was told. Alhamdulillah, he instantly 'looked' for milk. From then on breastfeeding was a brezze for the both of us.
5) Not to go out of the house during confinement period.
But apparently going to the doctors fot check ups is ok? The first question my midwife asked me when Khairaldin got back home was, "have you brought him out for a walk etc?" "You can't lock him in the house for long because when you start bringing him out, his antibody might not be immuned to the surrounding." And my reaction was YEAY!! Which mother would want to stay in a place for a long long time? 2 days is long enough! So hearing those advice from my midwife made me jump out of bed and straight out of the house. Fresh air from outside is very much needed at this point in time.
I think that's about the only pantang that I am not too keen of. I'm not judging those who follow each and every pantang. By all means, it's a personal choice so do whatever suits you the most. However, it is when I am being judged for not doing what is supposed to be tradition that annoys me. Following tradition blindly could cause us to sway from our already prefect religion. It is best to weigh things first before attempting to do it. Insha'Allah, Allah will guide us through the righteous path if our intention is to do so.
Human beings are different in so many ways and it's difficult to impose a certain 'way of life' onto them. I mean come on, even the Quran states what we should and shouldn't do but it's not that we follow it as we are supposed to. Hence, imposing tradition onto someone who could not fathom the idea will only upset them. Like I said, most traditions were passed down from our ancestors so, maybe at that time those traditions were relevant but in this modernised time it may not make sense anymore. Respect others for their personal choice. :)