Annyong! Lindsay here.
We have a lot to write about these days. First of all, we’ve living in a motel for a month or so until we move into our bigger apartment (can’t wait for that!!). We are living in a place called Motel Bobo. How awesome is that? The owners gave us a great deal on a month stay and every time we come in they smile amusingly at us. (Weird foreigners!) AND, get this, they seriously make my bed every day. And clean my bathroom.
So if you’re out there feeling sorry for us, please don’t. I am currently forgetting how to clean. And cook. And make my bed.
In other news, I started a new Korean class today. It’s a goal of mine to learn more Korean so when it’s time for the big baby delivery, I will be able to understand the nurses. My doctor speaks excellent English. But if any of the 10 nurses knows a word of my language, they haven’t shown it. They only speak Korean to me every time I go for a visit.
In my Korean class today, my teacher explained “Taegyo” (태교) to me after learning I am 16 weeks pregnant. It’s about time to get started in a few Korean motherhood traditions, she suggested!
Taegyo is a very interesting concept. It basically translates to “prenatal culture,” or the education of your baby while in the womb.
Taegyo is practices and regulations that a mother should observe in order to have good effects on her unborn child during maternity. More importantly, it is the education of the baby during maternity. It is the idea that when an expectant mother tries to be careful of everything, prudent in speech and action, and keep distance from evil thoughts, it affects the unborn child in good ways.
Practicing Taegyo is largely the responsibility of the woman. The aim of all the rules is to prevent emotional turmoil in the pregnant woman. Proponents of Taegyo point to studies showing the detrimental health effects of stress as supporting their belief that an environment of emotional calm is vitally important to the healthy formation of a child.
Examples of Taegyo includes reading to your baby, talking to your baby, playing music for your baby, and doing yoga–all during the first 9 months of pregnancy. These practices are very common today. For example, both my Korean friend Lucy and my Korean teacher said they have friends who do pages of math every day to help their unborn baby be smarter in math and sciences. Some study English. Others listen to classical music. And this must be done every day.
This practice, which was introduced into Korean culture by the Chinese, dates back to the 1300s. One Korean scholar even said in the 1800s that the ten-month education in the mother’s womb is more important than the ten-year education that follows it.
Personally, I think this is a great idea–especially since it promotes a peaceful mind and state of being for the mother during the whole pregnancy. It’s well known that stress is not good for the baby. And this goes along my with my own doctor’s No. 1 rule: ENJOY YOUR PREGNANCY.
Whit and I without knowing it have already started practicing some forms of Taegyo by reading to our baby every day. Our baby’s current favorite? A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein–the first book we bought our little one. Whit has even memorized Clarence Lee from Tennessee. We certainly hope that our baby will benefit from all our Taegyo and will not trade us in a for a new version!