Terry Loong, 40, opened up about how she didn't shower for 30 days after giving birth to help her bond with her newborn baby.
Following the birth of son Matthew in April 2016, the mother from Harrow, West London practiced postpartum confinement - where the new mother doesn't leave the house, have visitors or, in some cases, bathe for a month after giving birth, as reported by the Sun.
Loong, who is a plastic surgeon, claimed that the practice had health benefits and gave her time to bond with her baby.
Postpartum confinement is conventional in some Asian cultures as it is believed to help protect both the mother and infant from infections, foster bonding, and gives the mother time to heal after giving birth.
“I remember my (mother) having a period of confinement when I was little. I’m the oldest of five, so I saw it a lot," she said. “It is common in Asian culture. Some of my Chinese friends here in London have done it too, but adapted it to what works for them, picking different parts of it."
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“I don’t know many people that did it fully, like me. The biggest thing is that people couldn’t believe I hadn’t showered."
Loong admitted that she was in "absolute agony, screaming the whole way" to the hospital. She didn't even have a chance to take a bath before welcoming Matthew into the world.
Loong delivered her son at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, Southwest London.
"It takes an enormous amount of energy to make, carry and deliver a baby," she said.
"The sheer exhaustion I felt was a shock to my body," she continued. "I knew I needed to rest, so decided to try confinement as I thought it would give me a chance to heal properly and mentally rest so I could be the best mother possible."
Speaking about postpartum confinement, Loong revealed that she found it hard to stick to the practice near the end of 30 days.
"I almost got used to it by the end, but I could tell I was smelly. I was committed to completing it though," Loong said. "So much dead skin came away in that first shower – it was almost like I had cocooned myself."
But she admitted to breaking her oath to improve her son's immune system.
"It was sunny but cool outside, and Matthew’s immune system was still so low because he hadn’t been exposed to the outside environment, so we wanted to make sure he was healthy too," Loong said.
“I broke the confinement slightly as I went out for around an hour, at the two-week mark, to the park as it was a sunny day," she explained. "We walked around the park a little bit and took in the sunshine with a picnic, but we didn’t talk to anyone there."
Though the practice is quite unusual, she insisted that she would do it again in a heartbeat.
"After the birth, I had blood down below and was covered in sweat. My hair was really greasy to start with, and I did smell of bodily fluids, but I didn’t care – it was the most natural thing in the world," Loong said.
"It wasn’t pretty, but it was important. If I had another baby, I would definitely do it again," the mother-of-one continued. "I know not everyone follows it as strictly as I did, but like with anything mother-related, it’s all about what’s right for you and your baby."
Loong concluded that postpartum confinement helped her bond with Matthew without disturbances and that she "came out of it feeling mentally stronger and ready" to begin her new life.