Joyedza (Zuo yue zi)

i was pretty shocked by my first experience with the whole joydeza thing or whatever you call it i don’t think that’s pinyin.

the diet was interesting - “shenghua” soup, stir-fried pig liver and “yao hua” (some other infernal organ), sesame oil chicken. supposedly these foods are very “boo” (scary).

customs were an interesting experience too. No drinking water (ironically soup is okay), no bathing (at least no hair washing), in fact no contact at all with cold water. i’ve heard this is borne of the fear of contracting illness from exposure to cold, as well as a purported link to rheumatism. oh and tie the stomach up real tight to let all the air out. and my wife said she couldn’t squat down because “my body would go breaaaah and bleeding and hurt” - her words. found an interesting article on the whole shebang:

so you know about these joydeza centers? most mothers opt to do the month at home or at the mother’s house, but they have professional centers that see to every need. they cost anywhere fromNT3,000-5,000 per day

oh and doing the month is not to be lightly dismissed lest we forget our own history. up through victorian days western women ritually underwent “confinement” after delivery - a month to six weeks at home replete with all manner of “superstititious” customs (the female body after birth was thought to be unclean) culminating coming-out church service. historians argue one reason Elizabeth the first didn’t marry wuz becuz she knew she’d be expected to produce an heir and knew all sorts of intrigues would happen when she would do the month


I think most women in Taiwan consider zuo yue zi to be very important - not so much the details, but the fact that they get a month of being looked after. After all, a little rest after 9 months (or 10 months if you count in Taiwanese) of pregnancy and before the decades of hard labour ahead isn’t too much to ask for!

I was surprised at how my wifes friends almost completely ignored my son when they visited - at least until they’d spent plenty of time fussing over my wife and making sure she had everything she wanted; it seems the first month is all about the mother, it’s only afterwards that the baby gets to be the centre of attention.

Most of those places seem to be nothing more than long-stay hospitals: functional but basic rooms, efficient nurses, and complete with hospital food. It’s good for the first few days, but after a week my wife was desperate to escape.

A better alternative, which is also quite common in the few cases where mother-in-law hasn’t taken over, is to get a nanny to come every day to your home to look after mother & child. Apart from being much cheaper than staying in a dedicated zou yue zi place, you get to stay in your own home; your wife gets somone to look after her, your baby gets somebody who knows what they’re doing looking after him - and your wife can get to tell the nanny which of the customs/supersticions she does/doesn’t want to follow (which isn’t always possible with mother-in-law).

When I explained the custom to my dad, who’s a doctor, then he said the same, IR that we had the same confinement thing in Denmark up to 2-3 generations ago.

However, he then added that it was the worst you could do, as inactivity right after birth may lead to emboli, as earlier mentioned. It happened to my dad’s aunt.

When it comes to scary foods, then I hope that I can demystify that a little bit. When my wife gave birth, I fed her:

Week 1.

Ma You Zhu Gan= Sesame oil pigs liver. You make it by putting a liberal dollop of sesame oil into a hot wok, when the sesame oit is hot, you add crushed ginger. When the ginger is fried golden (don’t forget to stir vigoriusly), add the rinsed and cubed pok liver, stir-fry, and when the liver takes color, add a bottle (0.7~1L)of rice wine, and let it stew until done.

Week 2.

Ma You Zhu Yao = Sesame oil pork kidneys. You do the same as above, but substitute the the liver for kedney. REMEMBER to clean and wash the kidneys (I usually used 3-4 for a days worth depending on the orders from the missus). All the yellowish parts have to be removed, otherwise the dish will end up tasting like pigs piss. That did not happen to me.

Rest of month:

Ma You Ji: Sesame oil chicken. As above, but with chicken istead of the other things.

Apart there is some kind of medicine bags, which you boil in water in order to let the uterus contract. They work well. The traditional custom with putting a cloth tightly around the stomach in order to make the uterus contract was not followed by my wife, she stuch with the what the Danish doctors gave her and the chinese medicine. Apart from the boiled medicine water (1L) and the rice whine soup, she did not drine anything else.

The diet vary between different etnic groups and even between families, so this is a rough guide only.

She did wash, moved around, and even went out shopping. Once I came home, she was even mopping the floor :astonished:

But then, she preferred to give birth in the summer, when I was the most busy with guiding Taiwanese tourists around Copenhagen. :noway:

I tried this twice, the first one was a bit of a failure, as I had put the sesame oil i bought in Taiwan in the the fridge, and used white wine instead of rice whine (A mainlander told me that it was OK).

The second time I used singaporean Sesame oil and sake for the wine, and she stuck with it for the whole month, and was quite happy with everything.

Good explanation piwackit. It is exhausting at first, with feedings and diaper changes round the clock, crying for unknown reasons and all the strange new things to learn. My wife’s mother and sisters help greatly with all of that. And your explanations for the foods and no hair washing sound plausible. I have no objection to the whole thing. I’m fortunate that I’m able to sleep at night for this first month, while my wife and daughter learn their routines, build up strength and hopefully learn to sleep more at night. When they return life will really get going.

But I agree with Mr. He that it may involve too much confinement. When I visit my wife on weekends, I can see that in addition to being exhausted, she is bored and restless and would love to get some fresh air and exercise. I’ll take a break from her room, borrow her father’s bike and go for a ride and when I return my wife is green with envy at my adventures in the outside world.

When I leave her on Sunday evenings my wife offers to trade places, and have me stay in the room with the baby while she returns to the comfort of our home. And, supposedly, upon the return home we will all start taking morning walks for excercise again. We’ll see if the baby permits that.

By the way, Mr. He, that food sounds good. One can’t go wrong with sesame oil, ginger and rice wine.

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]
By the way, Mr. He, that food sounds good. One can’t go wrong with sesame oil, ginger and rice wine.[/quote]

My wife liked it - I must admit that I did not even touch it once.

[quote=“Mr He”][quote=“Mother Theresa”]
By the way, Mr. He, that food sounds good. One can’t go wrong with sesame oil, ginger and rice wine.[/quote]

My wife liked it - I must admit that I did not even touch it once.[/quote]
Then you missed out – I loved the kidney dish and still make it on occasion. In fact, I might even bairn the wife again, just to give me an excuse to have all that stuff again. :wink: