Sunday, March 23, 2008

"I'm not sick or disabled, I'm pregnant!"

I was warned about it, but I have been able to somewhat avoid it until recently....Chinese people insist that when you are pregnant you lose all sense of ability you think you might have!!! I have experienced a little bit of it at work with a couple of my Chinese staff members. They try to force me to eat the oil soaked vegetables that the caterer makes each day because they are so much better for me and my baby than the fresh organic salad that I bring from home (I was told, "You shouldn't eat that rubbish food"). They freak out, yelling in Chinese if I bend over to pick something up or when I take the stairs (mind you, there is no elevator). Also insisting that I need a ride back home because I just can't possilbly walk the 5 blocks (1/2 mile) home at the end of the day. If that weren't enough, I receive pressure to wear a lead apron (the school owns one! What!?) because I work on a computer for portions of the day. These are just a few of their strongly suggested opinions that they try to force on me on a daily basis. I have done a pretty good job of letting them know that I: a.) appreciate their concern, I am very much capable of caring for myself and unborn child and b.) I am an American and pregnancy and children are viewed differently, so please let me be my Americans-self!

Today I had a different experience in which I my patience was tested. Where else? In church. I was trying extra hard to control my frustration with the infridgement of personal space. Zach stepped out for a moment, when the woman next to me noticed I was pregnant and spent the next 40 minutes lecturing me on how I shouldn't be working while I am pregnant because that is not good for my baby. She told me that my shoes were not appropriate because I was pregnant and they were hurting my baby. Instead I should be wearing traditional Chinese cloth shoes because they make me relax and release my body and my baby of "evil spirits." Finally, she suggested that I eat porridge everyday instead of whatever it is I am eating because porridge has all of the nutrients the baby and I need. She then proceded to literally lift me from my seat and lower me back into it everytime we stood up throughout the entire mass. I do believe that she was well intentioned, but this was a complete stranger and I am clearly doing fine despite her words of wisdom.

After the experience today, I was really missing home. I just wanted to be in a familiar church, with all of our family like we would any other Easter Sunday :( This really reminded me of our great country. Pregnancy is such a serious thing here, with the one child policy, there is a lot that rides on your pregnancy and the success of your child. You have only one chance to make this child the best that he/she (hopefully he if you are Chinese) can be at literally everything from birth. Essentially the children are their parent's retirement plan. There is significant pressure for their children's success from early on that determines their status in society. There is so much more to it, but in the midst of it all, pregnant woman and young children are treated differently. I am doing my best to understand that when I receive unwanted advice from others. Then again, I would probably be experienceing unwanted advice in America too!
Here are a couple pics week 28!


At March 25, 2008 at 3:25 AM , Blogger Steve said...

Have you seen a Chinese astrologer to determine the best name for your baby yet?

At April 2, 2008 at 6:23 PM , Blogger Zach & Nadia Rahaim said...

Not yet. The Chinese tradition that our friends in Beijing coveyed to us is more focused on parental approval. Together, the father and mother come up with a name. They then submit the name to the paternal grandfather for his approval of the name. Its becoming less a requirement, more a courtesy. However, my co-worker was relieved that his Dad agreed with the name that he and his wife picked out for there daughter.

On a side note, the child will take the Fathers sirname, however, when married, the wife keeps her maiden name.


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