baby

During Pregnancy
Mien believed that when an unborn child is still in the mother’s womb, family members must be very careful around the mother. One should not intrude the mother while she is in her room, that may chase away the baby’s soul. One should not use sharp objects such as knife or scissors to cut things around the mother for risk that the baby may be born deformed or have a cleft-palate or hare lip.

During Birth
In the village far away from the city where there is no hospital near by, a pregnant woman’s mother (baby’s grandma) would usually act as a midwife and help deliver the baby. Grandma would help pull the baby out if needed, but most of the time she would wait until the baby is completely out from the mother’s vagina, then the grandma would hold the baby in her hands, and quickly cut the baby’s umbilical cord, usally with sharpened bamboo.

If the baby’s mother is single during her pregnancy, she must deliver her baby out side the house in a booth built near the house. She needs to respect her family by not giving birth in the house because she is still single, has no husband, and the baby is born out of wedlock. If she’s married, or has a husband, she can give birth in the house, in her own room.

Traditionally, both the dried afterbirth and the first excrement of the baby are saved in a box or bamboo cylinder.

After Birth
After the baby is washed, wiped dry, and wrapped in towels, or blanket. Within that day, the mother then brings out the baby to the door and face toward the sky; showing the baby to the moon, the sun, and the stars to prove that the family now has a new member. From that point on, no one from outside the family is allowed to come in the house until after a certain ceremony is completed. It could take weeks depending on the lunar calendar. During this time, a cross-sign (symbol), made of bamboo is placed outside the main door(s), which means “the family is not welcoming anyone at this time.”

Below are 4 very important steps, which to help protect the mother & baby [must be done by selected shaman(s)].

  1. Jaiv saetv (to protect a baby from getting sick)
  2. Orn biangh (to help warm a spirit)
  3. Saaz uix (to protect both mother and baby from evil spirits)
  4. Tim mienv-kuv (give relationship to the baby, and the biological parents)
mother

Caring for Mother and Baby
During the first 10 days after labor, the mother must not eat anything raw, not even fresh vegetables. Everything she eats must be cooked; chicken broth with variety of herbs is very common. During the first month, the mother is not allowed to visit anyone outside her home. She must not work, or lift anything heavy. The mother and baby must bathe in a tub that is filled with warm water only. The mother must drink warm broth, which boiled with variety of herbs. The broth works like medicine, soothes, and heals the inside.