Finally! I’m able to take a bath today! Following tradition, this is what I used for my first bath –
I call it the bath concoction. It’s made up of boiled leaves of bayabas, Kamias, Mango, Suha (Pomelo), Sambong, Damong Maria and Oregano. It smells like tea and it’s supposed to heal wounds and prevent cold air from entering your body.
After taking a bath, I was then steamed using hot water, sambong and damong maria leaves. The steam is supposed to help remove all unwanted stuff in your body. I sat on a chair with the pail of mixed leaves put at the bottom and a heater apparatus on the pail. I was wrapped in cloth. I perspired a lot in the 30minutes or so that I was wrapped and on the steamer. It felt good after wards. After which, I had a relaxing massage supposedly to close the pores in my body.
Is Po-Gue-Lai or Gue-Lai torture? On hindsight, it wasn’t too much of a burden for me. There were traditional stuff that needs to be eaten. Fortunately, I eat everything! 🙂
For the first 7 days, 2 kinds of tea had to be drunk. I find these 2 teas very helpful. It helped clean my digestive system. I noticed I peed more and more blood came out. After which, you drink another kind of tea (Tong Sim O Cho) till you finish your Po-Gue-Lai. Now, when I drank this tea, my allergies exacerbated so I drank it only once. Traditional Chinese will also ask you to drink a kind of wine (iron wine). However, since I had allergies, my doctor advised me against it. This wine is the most common source of conflict between the person insisting it and the moms. If you are breastfeeding, some people are hesitant with drinking this wine because it gets passed on to the baby. I have tried to look for a scientific study on whether the wine is indeed harmful to the baby or not but have not found any conclusive articles yet.
Chinese traditions also believed that if you eat a lot of ginger, you’d excrete more so this would enable you to lose more weight. Usually, you would mix the ginger on scrambled egg (again, I found I was hypersensitive to egg and chicken lately) or on black chicken. Aside from ginger, sesame oil is also a staple for Gue-Lai. Innards such as Kidney and Liver are also basics in Gue Lai. These are supposed to nourish your blood since you lost a lot during the delivery. They are either stir-fried in ginger and sesame oil or turned to soup.
Aside from these food, some would advocate drinking a lot of Lapu Lapu soup. Boiled in ginger, spring onions and leaks, the Lapu Lapu soup helps you produce more milk and is said to heal your wounds. In addition, you’re also asked to drink chocolate (those in tablea are said to be better versus the powdered ones) and eat fried pigeon.
I am still in the process of researching the benefits and effects of these Po Gue Lai food basics. Will post them once my research is complete.
For now, I’m happy that my Gue Lai is complete. To whatever benefits it may have on me, I will only know when I get older (that’s what the elders say). I’ve satisfied the elders and that’s the most important thing. In the end, it wasn’t too much of a torture. 🙂