Life

Tales of Confinement

I have a story to tell. I call it “The Confinement Lady’s Series of Unfortunate Events”.

Tradition has it that a confinement lady takes care of the well-being of mother and newborn. She knows what is best for mother to nourish and to abstain, and she knows how to manage the newborn. So we met one in March (let’s call her CL1) and paid her a deposit for her services. On the day of birth, we contacted her and told her that baby is born, but CL1 said she couldn’t take our job because she was still stuck with another confinement case. So she recommended us her cousin (CL2). CL2 came on the day of discharge. She’s ok, just that she talks way too much.

2 days later, CL2 told us that her mother passed away, so she has to return to hometown. As such, she called CL3 to replace her, which CL3 agreed. Fortunately, CL3 was rather quiet but we were told that she didn’t have as much experience as the others. Before they swopped, they requested for a token (ang pow), which we unwillingly gave.

CL3 had lots of tales to tell, about her previous employments, and even on other CLs. She also ‘hinted’ us how other employers gave her big ang pows at the end of the job. Also, during our job, we experienced 2 water supply disruptions due to HDB maintenance works, and we had a minor sewerage choke of which she had to clear up. Obviously she was hinting for a handsome ang pow.

But 2 weeks into the job, she told us she was unable to complete her 28-day tenure as well, because her permit is expiring. So we ended up getting short-changed by 2 days. With that, we were adamant not to give her much extra reward.

Then 4 days before she left, she asked if she could have a photo of the baby. We didn’t know how to reject her, but luckily she didn’t remind us.

And so today she left us. Adieu.

My advise is: don’t get a confinement lady, because you should know how to take care of yourself, and because it’s a mother’s instinct to know how to handle a newborn. Attend antenatal classes and you will learn all you need to care for your self and baby. In any case, there’s always the pediatrician or the hospital parenting centre to help you to manage any parenting issues. Confinement lady is only valuable for people who lives in rural areas where you are out of reach from hospitals or if you need someone to care for your baby. And if you employ the confinement lady, you would have to follow her practice, or else there is no point her being around. So sometimes even if you don’t agree with what she says, you have to do it.

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