Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Woefully out of touch with my "heritage"

A friend of ours had a little baby about a month ago, and she has been observing "quarantena," a Mexican tradition I was unfamiliar with, but now kind of fascinated by (I've seen it spelled both "cuarantena" and with the qu-. I have no idea which, if either, is correct).

There were a few stories floating around (on NPR, in the NY Times) about a similar Asian tradition called "doing the month," and I'm starting to really get interested in this idea of isolating the new mom and her baby to protect them and ensure post-partum healing.

I didn't do this (I think we waited a couple of weeks to take the baby anywhere other than doctor visits after we brought him home, but I definitely went out with him, I just don't remember where) because I was unaware of this tradition (and maybe if I'd heard about this then I might've made fun of it, thinking it was "old fashioned"), but looking back, I can see how special that time was, how tired I was, how much healing I still had to do (and STILL have to do!), and how much I needed to get to know my little boy.

All that stuff happened, just not in a protected environment.

I like the idea of it.

Here's an article from Slate about post-partum traditions. And here's an article about other traditions, "cuarantena" amongst them.

As you can see, there's lots to read about!

In case some of you aren't aware, I'm Mexican. I know, I know, I skew "other," but because I don't speak Spanish (very well; or "at all," if you want to get really technical) or identify with my heritage, it's always been easy for people to think I'm from somewhere else (Tahiti!). I just wasn't raised in those traditions, and mostly, that's been OK for me. My parents brought me up just fine. We are who we are and I'm fine with that (except in the 10th grade, when my Spanish teacher - from SPAIN - sent me home from Spanish 101 with a very strange [to the ears of my family] and highly mockable accent). There are things that now, with a greater understanding of their value, I'd love to learn, but you know? I have all the time in the world. And I can share them with JP, too.

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