Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My 41 Days of Confinement

** long post ahead

After reading the title, I know some of you might be thinking, why 41 days of confinement? Well, I don’t plan on having anymore children, and I want to get this confinement right so that I won’t have a worse health than what I began with (before Blake). It’s also good to have an extra pair of helping hands for a longer period whenever possible! Hehe.

If you’re wondering why we’re stopping at two, it’s partially because Sean and I don’t want to be outnumbered, and honestly, taking care of one toddler and a baby at the same time is more than we can handle. And I really don't want to go through the whole newborn stage again. It's really tiring! On top of that, our place only has two other bedrooms, and we intend to let them each have their own rooms after they hit puberty. Also, since we don't have our own car anymore, taking the taxi will be just nice with the four of us!

Besides all that, the rising cost of living here in Singapore is also a major factor to consider. For a family surviving on a single full-time income, having one child is comfortable with some excess, while two could make things a little tight at times (imagine buying all the milk powder and diapers at a go!). If we were to have any more than that, I got a feeling I’ll be a really grumpy mother, constantly worrying about the finances. And that’s not good at all cos I still want to shop for myself too!

I must say, the ‘Stop at 2’ campaign from the 70’s really got me thinking a lot about this. Great campaign, if you ask me!

Taken from Wikipedia

So anyway, back to the topic.

As some of you might know by now, my confinement is kind of a part-time thing. I opted for a day confinement nanny (CN) because I’m not used to having strangers stay overnight at my place. I feel really uncomfortable at that thought. In fact, I was actually against this whole hiring of CN idea, and I had planned to do confinement on my own (gung-ho or outright silly?), but my mom insisted and after thinking over what she said, and talking to a couple of mommy friends, I went to look for an agency to hire one. Boy! Am I glad to have listened to mom or what?! Mothers do know what’s best for their children! J

I didn’t go with the live-in CN like my mother had hoped, but all the help I needed was really just in the day when Sean’s at work. Besides extra help when it comes to looking after Nakayla, I also have someone to cook all my meals, wash the dishes, do the laundry, sweep and mop the floor for me! I even get to rest and sleep in the day, but I seldom do, cos I was either fussing around the planning of Nakayla’s full month celebration, or I’ll be catching up on my tv series. Oops! Sometimes, I wonder how my CN is able work non-stop, doing everything all in the day. Perhaps a good night’s sleep really does wonders to a person. Overall, she is really pretty good. Trained by a local private hospital too! She has also been making sure that I take all my herbal soups and drinks. That’s another plus. Haha. But I gave up on the Longan Red Dates drink after two weeks of it.  Haha. The food she cooks is very often to what me and my husband likes, and she cooks really well, especially her fried beehoon!

Just look at how much Blake enjoys the fried beehoon!

Through this period, my confinement nanny had been really understanding. When I told her I wanted to head out for all sorts of reasons, she told me to go ahead. She only asked that, if I do head out, to stay out of the rain, to avoid eating food I cannot take but really want (read: ice cream!), and to be back home before Blake returns from school. I had forgotten all about the time once, and I was stuck in a place rather far away from home due to heavy rain and terrible traffic. I got home so late that day!

She also told me to be careful as my body has yet to recover fully (it was about a week and a half after confinement started when I began complaining. Haha!). When Sean was on leave in the middle of the confinement, she also encouraged us to go out and spend some time with each other while she was still around to help out. Most of the time, we went out only to do grocery shopping. Haha. What awesome life we have. Haha. So thankful to have her around and giving Sean and me this private time to spend together.

I had opt to have all the herbal soups and tonics for the first 28 days of confinement, even though I never liked any of this Chinese herb stuff, but I thought it would be good for me. From the first day, my CN asked me what I like and dislike to eat, how I like my dishes (salty or sweet) etc. So every time after she boils these herbal soups, she will have a taste of it first, warning me if it's bitter. She even made some of them sweet to mask the taste. Hehe. And, she made sure that I finish them all! And every time I did, she will praise me like I'm a little child. Haha.

41 days of having someone around to talk to, to have meals with at home and to help with a newborn (major plus for me when I have to run errands!), things were so different after she left. On the bright side, Blake spends most parts of the day at school now, so I can concentrate on Nakayla and the household chores fully when I'm on my own - just like when Blake was younger. Only difference is, if I were to bring Nakayla out, I have to be home before Blake returns home from school.

Another person I had the pleasure to meet during my confinement days was my Jamu massage masseuse, Eja. I never had Jamu massage after I delivered Blake cos I was taken care of by my mom and grandma, and we didn’t go looking for a masseuse. I was pretty excited about this honestly! Hehe.

I had eight sessions of Jamu massage altogether, all concentrating on my tummy area. I must say, after the first session, my tummy reduced greatly. I was so happy! I have no photographic evidence though. I totally forgot all about it until all 8 sessions were all over. I didn’t even get a photo with my awesome masseuse! Sigh.

I can tell you this though, after eight sessions, I am able to wear at least half of all my pre-pregnancy clothes now. After I had Blake, two years back, it took me at least 6 months to get to the size my tummy is currently at now. Eja told me to continue with the binding (traditionally, tummies are to be bind for at least 40 days), else the whole thing would be a complete waste. She also taught me methods on how to reduce the saggy skin (that’s the bulk of my bulge)! Awesome or what? Hehe. We got along so well that she even invited me to her daughter’s wedding! J

I really have to thank my lucky stars for meeting two very amazing persons during my confinement. Prior to meeting them, I had read about bad experiences some mommies had during their confinement. That got me truly worried! So it was a big sigh of relief for me! Phew!

And because I'm so pleased with both my confinement nanny, and Jamu massage masseuse, I'm going to share their contact details with you!

My confinement nanny's name is Sun Mei Ying 孙媚瑛. If you're looking for a confinement nanny, do contact her at 8446 7815. Tell her you got her number from Mabel, the lady with the baby girl who's umbilical cord didn't drop off till 5 weeks or so later. Haha.

As for my masseuse, Eja, you can contact her at 8439 4351. I'm not sure if she will be able to remember me, cos the time we spent together was really short. But you could try telling her my name, and that she invited me to her daughter's wedding. Hehe.

I must say, this confinement was definitely better than the last. I made new friends, felt more relaxed in my own home, and the best plus plus ever - expressing milk in the middle of the living room, anytime I want! Haha. I guess it also helped that it was year end, the weather was cooler, and Sean was clearing his leave. I was also prepared for the worse. Blake wasn't an easy baby to care for back then, so this time round, I'm a little more prepared - mentally, emotionally and physically.

41 days of confinement... a blink of an eye and it's over. Another blink of an eye, and Blake will be three years old, and Nakayla will be one. Time, it passes so fast when you least expect it to!

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