I am not a mother. I have never met a baby, let alone held one in my arms. Yet every woman needs a confinement nanny after chinese postpartum, and I can tell you why.
I’m very lucky that my mother was an excellent, caring, patient caregiver when it came to raising me. But she didn’t have the luxury of being able to bring her nanny home with her from work, nor did she have the option to hire someone else to help out at home. She wasn’t able to have someone there to take care of my brother, who is autistic — he’s now 33 years old, but back then they just called him “special,” as if he were some kind of freak of nature. My mom had to be there when he needed feeding and changing and cleaning up after him. And because she worked outside the home, she couldn’t leave him in the hands of anyone else. So that meant me, or my grandmother or my aunts, all of whom lived far away and could only visit us once a month. We would gather around the dinner table and eat together as a family on those days and talk about our lives. It was a time for us to come together, to bond and to share our joys and sorrows. But when we were all gathered around a single dining room table, what good was that if my mother was going to be gone for hours at a time? What good was having a conversation with my grandmother if she’d be leaving again soon to go back to work? How much could we really learn from each other?
My mother was a teacher and taught me how to read and write by the time I was five. However, as I grew older, she realized I needed something more than just basic education. I was bright enough to learn, but I also needed some sort of structure to follow. When I was eight-years-old, she enrolled me in a preschool program where I learned how to play games, how to count money, how to color, how to tie my shoes, how to make friends, and most importantly, how to behave like a lady. The best part of the program was that my mother was my teacher and nanny all at once. She taught me manners, social graces, discipline, and self-esteem. She made sure I knew how to clean my room properly and how to put my clothes away before I left for school in the morning. She taught me how to set a proper table, when to set the table, how to serve, how to clear a table, how to fold napkins and place them neatly on plates, how to set the silverware in its place, and how to use it properly. And she made sure I knew how to keep myself neat and tidy and presentable so that I could pass for a normal, well-behaved child. These were skills I would need as an adult, and she instilled these values early and often in me.
Because I was such a shy little girl, my mother always gave me the confidence boost I needed to overcome any fear I might have felt. It was easy for me to get into trouble when I was younger, but no matter what happened, she always found a way to pull me out of whatever mess I got myself into. For example, when I was seven years old, I decided to try to sneak into my neighbor’s house through their basement window. I climbed onto a ladder and tried to open the window. It wouldn’t budge. I tried again, this time using the power drill my dad had given me for Christmas. Nothing moved. I was stuck. Not wanting to disappoint my neighbor and risk getting yelled at, I decided to climb down the ladder and walk away. But my mother saw the window move and ran downstairs to see what had happened. She caught me climbing up the ladder, which led her to realize that I had been trying to break into the house. She pulled me off the ladder and told me, “I think you’ll find that I’ve always been there for you.” That was her code for telling me that she was always watching over me even when I thought I was alone.
By the time I was nine years old, I was already a pretty smart cookie. I was reading chapter books without needing to be prompted to do so. I knew how to spell words, how to add numbers, how to subtract, how to figure change, and how to multiply and divide. I was also learning the concept of fractions and percentages, what a curve was, and how to interpret graphs and charts. Because I was a very social person, I was always talking to everyone around me. If I wanted my parents’ attention, I’d call them “mommy” and “daddy.” This habit stuck with me throughout my life and I’m still doing it to this day. I know people don’t know who I am unless I say it first.
As I grew older, I became more interested in science and math. I loved to calculate things like speed, distance, mass, volume, pressure, energy, temperature, etc., and I spent many nights sitting in front of my chalkboard calculating formulas and equations. I also loved to write stories and poems and I was constantly writing in notebooks filled with my thoughts. I took great pride in my writing and my spelling. I was a straight A student until I started high school. By the time I graduated from college, I was a double major in biology and pre-medicine. I was accepted into medical school and my parents encouraged me to pursue my dreams. They believed in me, and they helped me believe in myself.
After my mom died, I lost my anchor. I was always looking for her, wondering where she was and whether she was okay. I felt like I needed her guidance and direction, and I wasn’t getting it from my father. He’d always been there for me, but now he was too busy working two jobs to pay attention to his kids. I was the oldest child, and I always felt like I was the one responsible for taking care of everything. So I started to rely on my friends to help me out. I turned to alcohol to ease the pain of losing my mom. But that was a mistake. I ended up dropping out of med school. I had a bad drinking problem for almost three years, and I nearly destroyed my life. I also had a lot of problems with depression, anxiety, and stress. It was during this time that I discovered the benefits of meditation. I read about mindfulness and learned how to practice it. I stopped relying on my friends and relied on myself instead. I was able to turn my life around, and I went on to achieve a successful career in medicine. Today I’m a doctor, a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend. I feel like I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother for teaching me to be strong and independent and for giving me the tools to succeed. I’m so grateful to her for making sure I had the right foundation to build upon. Every woman should have a confinement nanny, and I’m living proof that it works.