Meet other Taiwanxifus at Parents’ Place

This afternoon I attended the opening party for Parents’ Place, a center for parents and their children opened by good friend — and another Taiwanxifu — Angela.

Angela is a certified doula and childbirth educator, and in her role she has helped empower many women in Taiwan — especially expatriates who do not speak Chinese and might otherwise find the medical system daunting — to have beautiful and meaningful birthing experiences.

Many of Angela’s clients kept telling her the same thing: they found it hard to meet other people with young families in Taiwan.  New mothers wanted to be more connected, with expatriate mothers finding it especially difficult to meet other Mums and Bubs.  Perhaps the absence of a visible presence for infants is because most Taiwanese mothers tend to be cloistered within their own family after childbirth as they ‘sit through the month’.  Then they often go back to work sooner than they might like.  And 老外 (lai wai — foreigners) no longer live in just the Tienmu district of Taipei, but are now spread throughout the city (and other areas of Taiwan).

Parent’s Place provides a relaxed meeting place for parents and their kids.  They will hold a range of classes, including birthing classes, prenatal and postpartum exercise, infant massage, baby signing, Kindermusik, language (English and Mandarin), creative dance, and martial arts for kids from English-speaking backgrounds.  Several of the classes are taught by other Taiwanxifus including Katrina from Kidzone-tw (yes, there are actually several of us Taiwanxifu around).  And at the opening, my son enjoyed playing with the crowd of other cross-cultural kids who have grown up switching naturally between speaking both English and Chinese.

As an aside, I cannot speak highly enough of the role of a doula.  Mr Taiwanxifu and I were fortunate to have a doula guide us with the birth of our little boy, now an active toddler who turns two this week.  My son was born two months’ prematurely, before we had done any birthing classes, on a long weekend in an unfamiliar hospital overwhelmed with unexpected emergency deliveries.  Mr Taiwanxifu was a rock of support, as was our wonderful doula who provided information and reassurance — both during and after the birth.  Partly as a result of choosing a doula, I was a rarity:  a mother of a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who did not have a caesarean.  And my natural birth was a celebration, achieved without any pain relief medication.  Nor am I the only success story as statistics show that, while using a doula is no guarantee that things will go according to schedule, the presence of a doula can reduce the likelihood of a caesarean delivery by 12 per cent, and the need for an epidural by 11 per cent.

Parents’ Place is on the second floor of Chenggong Road Section 4, Neihu (內湖區,成功路4段), within a short walk of the Neihu MRT station.  It is currently open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 0930 to 1200.  Angela advises to call beforehand to check opening times on 097 066 9040.

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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7 Responses to Meet other Taiwanxifus at Parents’ Place

  1. Tsu Lin says:

    Dear Taiwanxifu,

    I happened to stumbled unto your blog while searching for “chinese lamb stew” recipe. I love the taiwanese food posts in your blog.

    PS: “Sit through the month” has another easier-to-understand name, and it is “confinement”. I practised confinement after the birth of my daughter too.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Thanks for your comment. How did you find post-birth ‘confinement’? My baby (now toddler) was born premature so I was not able to do the normal things like staying at home. But my husband cooked special chicken soup for me and made me Chinese medicine. And a Chinese friend came around and cooked me some special vegetarian confinement food.

      • Tsu Lin says:

        I’m open to the idea of post-birth confinement and tried to follow as much as I can. Having spoken to other Chinese, esp Chinese from China, I find that the Malaysian Chinese practice of confinement is strangely more complicated/restrictive than the “homeland” Chinese.
        The fact that I LOVE all kinds of “confinement” food made the experience much better, I suppose : I drank a “red dates with herbs” drink everyday for almost a month. And we have special food such as sesame & ginger chicken (basically we have to eat a lot of ginger because it is thought to help expel “wind”).
        Did you like the food for confinement? (My Chinese friend – from China- tells me they eat some noodle food which we don’t practice in Malaysia).

      • taiwanxifu says:

        I am open to the idea of confinement, too. Next time I will definitely be trying it. I think it is important for women to spend time nurturing themselves and their body after birth. Back in Australia I often felt that new mothers put too much pressure on themself to do everything. My mother even tried to host a dinner party on the night she brought me home from the hospital! But here in Taiwan it can be hard on some mothers because they are quite isolated. Usually it is their mother-in-law who assists with confinement, and if the relatonship is not too good it can be a stressful experience because pretty much the new mother can’t go anywhere or do anything.

        Mr Taiwanxifu made me lots of chicken soup (steamed in the Da-tung steamer with lots of red dates and goji berries and a generous slurp of Taiwanese rice wine), and also red bean soup (red helps rejuvenate the blood, important after birth). My Malaysian Chinese friends made me rice noodle soup laced with a type of wine ehanced with chicken essence.

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