Cultures that covet sons and their offspring... - Mothering Forums
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Multicultural Families > Cultures that covet sons and their offspring...
mags's Avatar mags 06:12 PM 12-15-2008
Ugh, I had to vent and this is the only place on MDC where I think others may understand and relate. Some background info, I am Taiwanese American, my DH is Korean american. We have two sons and are expecting baby #3 in July. My brother and his wife just announced after I announced my pregnancy, that they will be expecting baby #1. Already, I feel as if my parents are more excited about my sil's pregnancy and I KNOW it is b/c it's my brother's baby, and b/c he is a boy he is more important to my parents, blah, blah, blah.

I'm just feeling resentful and irritated about always being the, "lesser" one in the family. I am the only girl, my own paternal grandfather would not visit when I was born, b/c I was "just" a girl. He finally visited our family for the first time after my brother was born three yrs later (who was my grandfather's favorite grandchild, b/c he was the oldest son of the oldest son). My own parents have always treated me like a second rate citizen compared to my brothers as well, it's obvious to my brothers and to my DH as well. A few yrs ago, my mom decided to pull the, "tradition" card (they do this when it is to their own fancy), saying that I couldn't come home for Chinese New Year (which isn't even a holiday that is a big deal to my parents), b/c the sons are the ones who come home, the daughter goes to their in laws. Neither of my brothers were coming home for CNY anyway, and my Korean in laws spend CNY doing church things, not fmaily things, so I am still irritated that my mom made such a big deal about this, "tradition" and made it sound like it was so important to her. I was really pissed about that one, and resent that of all traditions, my parents chose to embrace a very sexist and antiquated one.

My DH has one older brother, so of course, mil was happy that we had boys, but my bil and sil's son is the golden child, mil's favorite grandchild, b/c he is the oldest son of the oldest son. Why does this kind of hierarchy still exist??? I am so confused by it. Both my mil and my parents claim that it does not matter to them, the whole son thing, BUT it does, you can tell by the way they act.

Today my mom called me to ask when my edd was. Turns out my edd is 3 days before sil's, BUT I told my mom, it's moot anyway, b/c babies will come when they want to come. So, I really didn't understand why she was so fixated on our edds (and what is annoying is my mom had midwife training when she was a nurse in Taiwan, so I shouldn't have to explain this crap to her to begin with). She keeps insisting that she wants to, "plan" ahead. Plan what? There is nothing to plan, two babies are going to show up sometime within that general time frame, and unless my sil decides to get induced or get a c-section (something that wouldn't surprise me), we're not going to know exact dates anyway. I already have this distinct feeling that my mom is excited to go to help my sil out with her baby. Meanwhile, my mom never offered that kind of help when I had either one of my babies. In fact, she stayed over one night with my oldest while I was at the hospital to have my 2nd, and then left as soon as I gave birth and my DH who was up all night with me, got stuck taking care of an 18 mo yr old, b/c my dad wanted my mom to go golfing with him. I feel like I am so unimportant to them. I'm chopped liver, or even lower. For me to be the least favorite child in the family really sucked, esp growing up knowing it. Now to know that my children will also be the least favored grandchildren is also really upsetting to me.

Anyway, I am not really seeking any advice. Just need to vent and get some frustration out to those who might understand what it's like to go through this crap. I know that it is common among Asian cultures, but I was not sure about other cultures who may have the same, "rules" so I didn't specify, "Asian" in the title of my thread.

east carolina's Avatar east carolina 06:25 PM 12-15-2008
Wow, I'm so sorry that your family treats you this way. It really gets my hackles up when women are mistreated.

Czech culture and tradition is definitely not as extreme, like a woman would not "forfeit" her parents to her inlaws, but I think my DH's generation (born in 1980) is the first to really treat women fairly and equally.
skreader's Avatar skreader 06:50 AM 12-16-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
A few yrs ago, my mom decided to pull the, "tradition" card (they do this when it is to their own fancy), saying that I couldn't come home for Chinese New Year (which isn't even a holiday that is a big deal to my parents), b/c the sons are the ones who come home, the daughter goes to their in laws. Neither of my brothers were coming home for CNY anyway, and my Korean in laws spend CNY doing church things, not fmaily things, so I am still irritated that my mom made such a big deal about this, "tradition" and made it sound like it was so important to her. I was really pissed about that one, and resent that of all traditions, my parents chose to embrace a very sexist and antiquated one.
[snip]

Anyway, I am not really seeking any advice. Just need to vent and get some frustration out to those who might understand what it's like to go through this crap. I know that it is common among Asian cultures, but I was not sure about other cultures who may have the same, "rules" so I didn't specify, "Asian" in the title of my thread.

No advice, but and commseration. It sounds so painful & rejecting.

When I lived in Taiwan, I went to stay w/ my flat-mate at CNY and on the 2nd day we went to her maternal grandparents. I was told that the *second* day is traditional for married daughters to visit. Maybe you can pull that one out for your parents?

re: your mom planning to help your s-i-l "zuo yuezi", rather than you.

Grrrr. If it's any comfort, I read a dissertation about zuo yuezi in Taiwan and one of the author's theses was that the micro-dynamics of family power and care are shown in the degree of care women get during "zuo yuezi" from their in-laws or natal families. It's also one of the reasons that zuo yuezi centers are so popular in Taiwan.

Do you have any other help and support for the coming month?

I'm Euro-American, living in HK, married to an HK Chinese guy.

In HK, people are *fairly* mellow about girls vs. boys (as far as I've seen) - but my m-i-l was pleased when I had my son and in addition to my natural joy in having another baby, there was a part of me that was happy that my husband and I could please her in this way.
mags's Avatar mags 01:20 PM 12-16-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post
No advice, but and commseration. It sounds so painful & rejecting.

When I lived in Taiwan, I went to stay w/ my flat-mate at CNY and on the 2nd day we went to her maternal grandparents. I was told that the *second* day is traditional for married daughters to visit. Maybe you can pull that one out for your parents?

re: your mom planning to help your s-i-l "zuo yuezi", rather than you.

Grrrr. If it's any comfort, I read a dissertation about zuo yuezi in Taiwan and one of the author's theses was that the micro-dynamics of family power and care are shown in the degree of care women get during "zuo yuezi" from their in-laws or natal families. It's also one of the reasons that zuo yuezi centers are so popular in Taiwan.

Do you have any other help and support for the coming month?

I'm Euro-American, living in HK, married to an HK Chinese guy.

In HK, people are *fairly* mellow about girls vs. boys (as far as I've seen) - but my m-i-l was pleased when I had my son and in addition to my natural joy in having another baby, there was a part of me that was happy that my husband and I could please her in this way.
skreader,

So, the thesis was that the more postpartum care a women got, the more control the in laws and parents had over the mother/couple? I'm not sure I am interpretting the results correctly. Yes, you know what is crazy? My sil is Cantonese American, and I would think that HER mom would want to provide her postpartum care. I even told my mom, you should let sil's mom stay with her first and my mom said that you never know what will happen (which probably means she will bully her way into the picture). This is one reason why I am so annoyed with my mother. She had the opportunity to help out when I had my kids, she *barely* helped out. I mean, she did nothing at all when I had my oldest, and then the only thing she did when I had my 2nd baby was she watched my oldest for 24 hrs while we were at the hospital. That's it. Now she is more excited about helping out my sil??? It just really stings.

I think my mom is mad at me, b/c to her, it's all about the chinese medicine herbs. She wanted to feed me all kinds of horrible chinese herbs and I refused to do so. I asked her what they were and she said she didn't know the, "american" name, I told her to find out and I would research it and if it was ok for breastfeeding, I would take it. She kept saying, "it's all natural, it's safe." I said, "no, you don't even know what that BAG of random ingredients is and you're telling me that it's safe????" She got really angry with me, told me she spent good $ to get the quality label japanese brand and I was being unappreciative. She still keeps trying to push the herbs on me, my brother was in a very serious car accident several months ago, my mom is trying to give him the SAME herbs, he refused (he's a doctor, so even more suspicious), so instead she gave it to one of her friends' dd who just had her baby a month ago as a baby gift (wouldn't listen to me when I told her just to give a gift card, now she looks like a lunatic for her, "gift"), and that new mom is a doctor herself, who own Taiwanese mother would probably not push chinese herbs on her. I guarantee she will NOT some weird herbs. What really makes me mad is that I told her I would take it if she could tell me what was in the concoction, BUT she didn't want to be bothered with it. Plus, she was annoyed that I chose to BF my babies and seemed to feel that if I did not BF, that I wouldn't have thrown such a fit about wanting to know what the herbs were. Funny how someone who touts how, "natural" and "safe" these herbs are, seems to be so gung ho about baby formula (she would show up with cans of formula every time she showed up for a visit). She seemed totally insulted. So, I guess she feels that if I don't blindly take some chiense herbs that *may* harm my baby (who knows?), that it means I am rejecting her, "help?" There are so many other things apart from the freakin herbs, but that is what she is fixated on. My mom did not get postpartum care after she had me, since I was a girl, BUT when she had my brothers, she did get postpartum care, one time from my paternal grandmother, another time from my dad's sister. And the thing is that my dad's family has never been nice to my mother, yet they still provided her with several weeks of postpartum care, and came from far away to do so. My mom lives 50 min from me, she and my dad complain that we live too far away and it is too much hassle for them to visit us. I just really don't know what to say. I have friends whose in laws live over 3 hrs away and they are visiting them at least a couple times a month to spend time with their grandkids, and my parents make themselves out to be martyrs for visiting us maybe a couple times a yr???
ShwarmaQueen's Avatar ShwarmaQueen 03:49 PM 12-16-2008
Tough situation. I'm sorry that you have such a strained relation with your mom. I will never understand how a mother could feel more "connected" to a DIL as opposed to her own DD. Stinks.
CheekyLilMonkeys's Avatar CheekyLilMonkeys 07:20 PM 12-16-2008
My husband comes from a culture where males are given preference. Apparently if you have a girl you will get hardly any visitors and those that do come will be trying to console you, they dont even bother calling everyone straight away if it's a girl because it's not newsworthy - but if it's a boy, big fanfare, heaps of visitors etc etc.

I've had two boys so I'm a wonderful DIL DH's sisters though have both tried to tell me I should stop at the two I have since I already have two boys, and avoid the risk of having a girl.

They also see it as when a girl marries she goes to her in-laws and becomes their daughter. DH's cousin was living with us for a couple of years and she told me that they dont get as attached to their daughters because they are only on 'loan' and not really their daughter, they will be their husbands parents daughter - and a girls MIL is her 'real' mother.

I really feel for you it must be heartbreaking to feel less valued simply for being female - something you have no control over! My SIL had a boy followed by 2 girls. 9years later they had another because she was so disappointed she'd only had one son. The baby is a beautiful girl - during her pregnancy she had said to her children (in what she thought was a good joke) if it is a boy iI'll poke him because he's poked me so much, if it's a girl we'll send her back to India to live because we already have too many girls, we dont need another. Her youngest daughter said 'no Mum, its not her fault if she's a girl, we should keep her!" I felt so sad about the hurtful message she was sending the two daughters she already had.
skreader's Avatar skreader 11:59 PM 12-16-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
skreader,
So, the thesis was that the more postpartum care a women got, the more control the in laws and parents had over the mother/couple? I'm not sure I am interpretting the results correctly.
Not exactly - it was more that the level of social support and care a woman received during zuo yuezi (from either her husband's family or her natal family) very accurately reflected her place within the family. I remember there was also an example of a woman who had difficult or non-existent relations w/ her natal family and husband's family & her boss (who valued her highly) paid for her stay at a zuo yuezi center.


Quote:
Yes, you know what is crazy? My sil is Cantonese American, and I would think that HER mom would want to provide her postpartum care. I even told my mom, you should let sil's mom stay with her first and my mom said that you never know what will happen (which probably means she will bully her way into the picture). This is one reason why I am so annoyed with my mother. She had the opportunity to help out when I had my kids, she *barely* helped out. I mean, she did nothing at all when I had my oldest, and then the only thing she did when I had my 2nd baby was she watched my oldest for 24 hrs while we were at the hospital. That's it. Now she is more excited about helping out my sil??? It just really stings.
Yes, it sounds really really painful.

Quote:
I think my mom is mad at me, b/c to her, it's all about the chinese medicine herbs. She wanted to feed me all kinds of horrible chinese herbs and I refused to do so. I asked her what they were and she said she didn't know the, "american" name, I told her to find out and I would research it and if it was ok for breastfeeding, I would take it. She kept saying, "it's all natural, it's safe." I said, "no, you don't even know what that BAG of random ingredients is and you're telling me that it's safe????" She got really angry with me, told me she spent good $ to get the quality label japanese brand and I was being unappreciative. She still keeps trying to push the herbs on me, my brother was in a very serious car accident several months ago, my mom is trying to give him the SAME herbs, he refused (he's a doctor, so even more suspicious), so instead she gave it to one of her friends' dd who just had her baby a month ago as a baby gift (wouldn't listen to me when I told her just to give a gift card, now she looks like a lunatic for her, "gift"), and that new mom is a doctor herself, who own Taiwanese mother would probably not push chinese herbs on her. I guarantee she will NOT some weird herbs. What really makes me mad is that I told her I would take it if she could tell me what was in the concoction, BUT she didn't want to be bothered with it. Plus, she was annoyed that I chose to BF my babies and seemed to feel that if I did not BF, that I wouldn't have thrown such a fit about wanting to know what the herbs were. Funny how someone who touts how, "natural" and "safe" these herbs are, seems to be so gung ho about baby formula (she would show up with cans of formula every time she showed up for a visit). She seemed totally insulted. So, I guess she feels that if I don't blindly take some chiense herbs that *may* harm my baby (who knows?), that it means I am rejecting her, "help?" There are so many other things apart from the freakin herbs, but that is what she is fixated on. My mom did not get postpartum care after she had me, since I was a girl, BUT when she had my brothers, she did get postpartum care, one time from my paternal grandmother, another time from my dad's sister. And the thing is that my dad's family has never been nice to my mother, yet they still provided her with several weeks of postpartum care, and came from far away to do so. My mom lives 50 min from me, she and my dad complain that we live too far away and it is too much hassle for them to visit us. I just really don't know what to say. I have friends whose in laws live over 3 hrs away and they are visiting them at least a couple times a month to spend time with their grandkids, and my parents make themselves out to be martyrs for visiting us maybe a couple times a yr???
hug:

I've sometimes had issues w/ my own mom where I sometimes have felt that in my role in
the family I *give* her care, but she gives care to my other sibs & these issues even
seem to extend to the grandkids (*I* can cope, my sibling's kids *need* her more, etc.
etc.). I've tried to make peace w/ it & just tell myself "that's how it is, I've been
"the helping getting girl" since I was 3 and that's how it will always be. I get lots of
"warm fuzzies" that way too. Ah... family dynamics.

Sounds like so much issues to be conflicted about (herbs, breast-feeding) that maybe it is for the best that your mom doesn't come to help you zuo yuezi.
But... how can you get care?


Do you live in a place where you can hire a "confinement lady" (陪月, "pui yuet")? Or, could you hire a doula or nurse and ask her to act as a confinement lady? What about *your* in-laws? I know you mentioned in the original post that your m-i-l is very involved w/ church activities - but would she be willing to parctice "charity at home" w/ you - or help pay for a helper for the 1st month?

Is there a zuo yuezi place (I've always had an entrepreneurial fantasy of opening a zuo yuezi center in the USA)?

I know none of this cyber-support provides practical help, but I hope being able to vent helps.
noobmom's Avatar noobmom 06:03 AM 12-17-2008
Vent away!

I'm from a similar culture and I understand what you're describing, although my mom is not quite as bad as you say. The part I really can't believe is the fact that she basically uninvited you on CNY, even if it is tradition. But I completely believe it all. In fact, I'll probably see the exact thing happening when my brother has children. LOL

My only advice to you is that you can't change other people, only yourself. So, it's best to lower your expectations of your mother. She's never going to treat you better, so try to stop caring or expecting as much. Let stuff roll off your back, so to speak. Look at the bright side--surely in her old age she'll expect your SIL (her DIL) to take care of her, not you, since that would be "tradition". As for your children, it's really hard to see the grandparents treating them unfairly, but honestly, when have you ever seen the spoiled children/grandchildren grow up to be stronger, more capable people? I think letting go of as much anger and resentment as you can (and believe me, I know it's hard) is the best you can do at this point. And take her lack of help as a compliment, which is it, in a way. After all, if she thought you were an incompetent she'd come in to do more for you. At least that's how I think of it when it's my mom.
Bad Mama Jama's Avatar Bad Mama Jama 02:29 PM 12-17-2008
and i am sorry that your mother is harboring this attitude. it really saddens me. :
EdnaMarie's Avatar EdnaMarie 02:29 AM 12-18-2008
Oh, I'm so sorry. I cannot imagine my MIL ever favoring one of her children over another, even though in some respects, sons are more coveted (I suppose for economic reasons).

Your story reminds me of a story from Maxine Hong Kingston's autobiography- you might want to pick up a copy. She was a first or 1/2 gen Chinese American some time ago. She went through that with her family and it caused her terrible pain.
mags's Avatar mags 11:34 AM 12-18-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheekyLilMonkeys View Post
My SIL had a boy followed by 2 girls. 9years later they had another because she was so disappointed she'd only had one son. The baby is a beautiful girl - during her pregnancy she had said to her children (in what she thought was a good joke) if it is a boy iI'll poke him because he's poked me so much, if it's a girl we'll send her back to India to live because we already have too many girls, we dont need another. Her youngest daughter said 'no Mum, its not her fault if she's a girl, we should keep her!" I felt so sad about the hurtful message she was sending the two daughters she already had.
That is really sad that her dd had to tell her that.
mags's Avatar mags 11:44 AM 12-18-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by noobmom View Post

My only advice to you is that you can't change other people, only yourself. So, it's best to lower your expectations of your mother. She's never going to treat you better, so try to stop caring or expecting as much. Let stuff roll off your back, so to speak. Look at the bright side--surely in her old age she'll expect your SIL (her DIL) to take care of her, not you, since that would be "tradition". As for your children, it's really hard to see the grandparents treating them unfairly, but honestly, when have you ever seen the spoiled children/grandchildren grow up to be stronger, more capable people? I think letting go of as much anger and resentment as you can (and believe me, I know it's hard) is the best you can do at this point. And take her lack of help as a compliment, which is it, in a way. After all, if she thought you were an incompetent she'd come in to do more for you. At least that's how I think of it when it's my mom.
I kwym about lowering my expectations. I have already done that in many respects. I had it out with my mom about two yrs ago. She kept bugging me to go back to work, "for social security benefits" (yeah, don't get me started on that one, like SS is even going to exist when I am retirement age). My mom cancels on us all of the time. She will say she is going to visit, and then cancel like an HOUR after she was already supposed to be here. She has done it enough, that I do not let my kids know that she is coming ahead of time, b/c I know they will be disappointed if she is a no show. Anyway, she told me that I should go back to work and she would watch my kids for me. Yeah, right. Like she is SUCH a reliable person to begin with. I flat out told her that my expectations of she and my dad are so low, that I know that if I had an emergency situation, that I will not be able to count on them to help me. My mom was really upset about this, but it's the truth. They are so unreliable. If it is something that they really think is important, they will drop everything, but I most certainly do not feel that I fall under that category. My own father even refused to go see my other brother when he was in a coma after a serious car accident, he simply said, "there's nothing I can do." It took him over two wks to go see him, my brother is ok now (but will have some residual issues from his car accident), but is very hurt about this as well. While they covet my brothers more than they do me, in some respects, they also don't treat my brothers as good as they should. I mean, if you find out your adult son was in a serious car accident and was non-responsive, you would cancel the rest of your vacation (my father was with his sisters, who he cares more about than his own children) and drop everything to fly to our son's city to see him right? No, they finished out their vacation, and then when they got back, my mom went to see my brother and my dad just stayed at home. It's just so f'd up. I resent my parents a lot, they are rotten parents, my brothers all agree. You're right, it's hard to let go and in some respects it's easier not to deal with them at all, but it still bites too, kwim?
mags's Avatar mags 12:02 PM 12-18-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post
Not exactly - it was more that the level of social support and care a woman received during zuo yuezi (from either her husband's family or her natal family) very accurately reflected her place within the family. I remember there was also an example of a woman who had difficult or non-existent relations w/ her natal family and husband's family & her boss (who valued her highly) paid for her stay at a zuo yuezi center.




Yes, it sounds really really painful.



hug:

I've sometimes had issues w/ my own mom where I sometimes have felt that in my role in
the family I *give* her care, but she gives care to my other sibs & these issues even
seem to extend to the grandkids (*I* can cope, my sibling's kids *need* her more, etc.
etc.). I've tried to make peace w/ it & just tell myself "that's how it is, I've been
"the helping getting girl" since I was 3 and that's how it will always be. I get lots of
"warm fuzzies" that way too. Ah... family dynamics.

Sounds like so much issues to be conflicted about (herbs, breast-feeding) that maybe it is for the best that your mom doesn't come to help you zuo yuezi.
But... how can you get care?


Do you live in a place where you can hire a "confinement lady" (陪月, "pui yuet")? Or, could you hire a doula or nurse and ask her to act as a confinement lady? What about *your* in-laws? I know you mentioned in the original post that your m-i-l is very involved w/ church activities - but would she be willing to parctice "charity at home" w/ you - or help pay for a helper for the 1st month?

Is there a zuo yuezi place (I've always had an entrepreneurial fantasy of opening a zuo yuezi center in the USA)?

I know none of this cyber-support provides practical help, but I hope being able to vent helps.
Wow, about the boss paying for zuo yuezi and the family wanting nothing to do with it! I had never heard of that happening before. You know, I really related to what you said about your role as the, "the helping getting girl." That was me too. I swear the only good thing my mom had to say about me was that I was very helpful when my brothers were babies and I would always fetch things for her. It felt to me like my role in the family was to be her assistant, I don't feel like I was treated like a daughter.

About my mil, oh she is even more screwed up than my mom, like she is one of the most self-centered ppl I have ever encountered type of screwed up. I don't know. I may have to grovel for her help when the baby comes, just to keep the older two occupied. However, she drives me crazy on a whole other level (mil is Korean and stuck in a time warp if you ask me about her expectations of dils, she IS the stereotype of the Korean mil from hell). She provided post-partum care for my sil and my sil was miserable being stuck with mil for 2 wks. I guess mil was not helpful at all, all she did was force feed her seaweed soup, she had no BF advice to offer her (even though she BF'd her children) and just did not give sil the support that she needed, sil said she was upset that mil told sil's mom NOT to come, b/c really what she wanted was for her mom to be there for her, not crazy mil. So I avoided asking mil for any help with either of my two children based on my sil's exp, thinking that my mom would fulfill that role, which of course she didn't. Basically, my DH is the only one who I trust enough and is responsible enough for me to help me. I have to laugh about suggestion, "charity at home with my mil." My mil once bragged to me that she couldn't wait to retire so she could do, "volunteer work" at her church. I was so impressed, something like this is not something I would expect to hear from my mil. So, I said, "oh, you'll be volunteering at a soup kitchen?" Mil looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No, I'll bring donuts to church?" WTF? Why can't she bring donuts to church now and in what kind of crazy world does bringing donuts count as volunteer, "work????" So, needless to say, I think my expectations of my mil are even lower than my expectations of my own mom. Plus, it's difficult communicating with mil and mil is, "too scared" to drive to our house, so that would mean I would have to send my DH and hr away to go get her, or fil would have to drive her... everything is always such a PITA. I wish that at least *one* side of the family was, "normal," but I feel like I got stuck with two very dysfunctional families and neither one is reliable. Thank you for your support skreader, I really do appreciate it.
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 02:08 PM 12-18-2008
I'm so sorry.

My dh is the only son (one of two children) and I know he was spoiled as a child. However he somehow turned out to be a really nice guy.

Now, we have two daughters and ours were the first two grandchildren. My first dd was a blessing in everyone's eyes. The horoscope had said she was going to be a girl and they were just happy to have a grandchild. My second dd came along and everyone thought she was going to be a boy. They even called her by the chosen boy name (that I regret telling anyone) before we found out by u/s she was a girl. They were in total dibelief! They wanted me to get another u/s to verify!

So dd2 was born and she had some major health issues including a feeding tube. Although my IL's loved her just as much as dd1, the extended family pretty much did not love her at all and it was so obvious amongst the older people in India. My dd was scolded for lifting her shirt because her feeding tube was exposed, and they didn't want me feeding her so anyone could see it. (My MIL was great though-- she was supportive.)

My dh's sister became pregnant and she was really hoping for a girl because she loved my dd's. Her baby turned out to be a boy and she was so shocked and she grieved for awhile before she accepted her son. Of course my FIL and the extended family were thrilled.
WC_hapamama's Avatar WC_hapamama 07:04 AM 12-20-2008
I'm married to a third generation eldest son... and have the 4th generation eldest son (all 4 generations are firstborns).

I do notice that my MIL favors my firstborn son... and my daughter who looks nothing like me. If my other two sons ever notice the favoritism, I'll call her on it, but so far it hasn't bugged anyone but me.
skreader's Avatar skreader 03:35 AM 12-21-2008
Hi Mags,

Wow, very hard situation. Is hired help in any form a possibility? Or, can some of the work be sent out? Are there places that you can (for example) send out the laundry to be washed and it's returned cleaned and pressed? Or can you all agree that the family will subsist on soup, noodles, frozen jiaozi, and delivered pizza for a month or two?

What about friends? Maybe you could have a "ju geuk geung" party a month or so before due date, where you can prepare the pigs-feet-ginger so it will be ready for your confinement? I made a big pot of it for my second child (my m-i-l showed me how) and I ate lots of it during the first month. Every meal I would put some of the sauce on rice, if I wasn't eating the eggs (I left the feet for DH to eat). Or maybe that's a very Cantonese thing.

I used to belong to an online mothers group. They are mostly Singaporean - and the moderator has a great page of resources for confinement foods.

http://www.momsinmind.com.sg/confinementrecipes.html

I'm glad my cyber-support can help even a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
.

... wish that at least *one* side of the family was, "normal," but I feel like I got stuck with two very dysfunctional families and neither one is reliable. Thank you for your support skreader, I really do appreciate it.

texmati's Avatar texmati 12:04 PM 12-21-2008
oooh.. I'm desi and I come from one of these. I'm 27 years old... I think my dad always wished me and my sis were boys. He even used to call us boy nicknames (like raja).

To this day he can't understand why I like to knit and cook and garden. He's really a sweetie, but its just one of those little annoyances. I'm subbing to write more later.
asianyoushi's Avatar asianyoushi 01:30 PM 12-21-2008
hugs i know asian cultures favor boys more... korean american family.... my sister's in laws are more obsessive with the "gender favoritism".
mags's Avatar mags 06:35 PM 12-21-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post
Hi Mags,

Wow, very hard situation. Is hired help in any form a possibility? Or, can some of the work be sent out? Are there places that you can (for example) send out the laundry to be washed and it's returned cleaned and pressed? Or can you all agree that the family will subsist on soup, noodles, frozen jiaozi, and delivered pizza for a month or two?

What about friends? Maybe you could have a "ju geuk geung" party a month or so before due date, where you can prepare the pigs-feet-ginger so it will be ready for your confinement? I made a big pot of it for my second child (my m-i-l showed me how) and I ate lots of it during the first month. Every meal I would put some of the sauce on rice, if I wasn't eating the eggs (I left the feet for DH to eat). Or maybe that's a very Cantonese thing.

I used to belong to an online mothers group. They are mostly Singaporean - and the moderator has a great page of resources for confinement foods.

http://www.momsinmind.com.sg/confinementrecipes.html

I'm glad my cyber-support can help even a little.
Skreader, thanks for the suggestions! I do have to laugh a little bit though, b/c we live in an area with barely any Asians and ppl know little to nothing about Asians, except for negative stereotypes from TV. We are lucky there is even an Asian market in our town and I cannot even find a good Chinese restaurant in our town to order take out from. I think we will end up managing ok after the baby comes, I will just have to freeze a lot of meals in advance and I have some friends who will also make meals for us after the baby comes, so I can at least get some help from them. I do appreciate all of the support here online. I have very few friends IRL who understand this kind of situation, even many of my Asian American friends would not understand, so it's nice to know that you ladies are here to let me vent it out and offer support.
ILoveMyBabyBird's Avatar ILoveMyBabyBird 11:14 PM 12-21-2008
Sorry about your family situation. My family white/american actually favors girls over boys. Not nearly to your extreme, but when my ds was not more than 6 months everyone was asking when I was going to have a sister for him. My sister is pregnant now with a girl and there may be more underlying issues to why she was spoiled at her baby shower compared to when i had my ds, the dad of the unborn baby is out of the picture, and this will be my deceased mom's first grand-daughter, so i think people are obessing about that. They wanted my ds to be a girl so bad when i was pregnant. But, of coure then there is dh's family (indian) and we all know how they feel about boys. My dh was his dad's favorite growing up an in less than two weeks we'll be visiting them for the first time, i expect ds to be spoiled there.
Fay's Avatar Fay 03:42 PM 12-23-2008
My DH's family is Taiwanese and strongly prefers boys over girls. My DH is the preferred child in his family, and is deeply resented by his sister. She married a Taiwanese doctor and was under pressure from her ILs to produce a grandson, her third and last child was a boy.

My DH was hoping for daughters, partly to get his parents off his back, but we have 2 beautiful sons. Our DS1 is autistic, which creates a whole new set of issues for grandparents who want perfect trophy boys...and my SIL has been a total witch throughout the whole process of pursuing a diagnosis and appropriate therapies...I will never understand why she would try so hard to turn her parents against their son and grandson.

I think the preferred gender thing can be very destructive to family relationships. I'm so sorry that the OP is going through the feelings of rejection over and over again in her life.
FelixMom's Avatar FelixMom 05:07 AM 12-25-2008
Sorry about your situation, Mags,

My mother came from a traditional Chinese family where boys were favoured over girls, and her own mother forced her to do a lot of house chores while the younger kids skeddadled and played. And lucky me, as her only daughter, she somehow took out some of that anger and frustration on me. My two brothers got pampered and spoiled while I was told that the only reason she was giving me a university education was to find a suitable guy ASAP.

Fast forward to me having my first kid, and my mom was absolutely NO help whatsoever. Though I envied my friends whose parents would come from across the ocean to help out after a birth, at the same time I was relieved NOT to have my mom helping me, because there would have been plenty of grounds for many arguments and disputes. They came and visited for TWO hours when their very first grandchild was born. Our DS was a boy, but since I wasn't the favoured child (read: black sheep of the family) it appeared as though my mom could hardly wait to get out of our apartment after dropping off the pig's feet in vinegar.

This too shall pass. I wish you a supportive network of friends and hired help. Accept your toxic in-laws and parents for what they are and limit your interactions with them so their negative energy doesn't poison you. There's no use in rationalizing why they do what they do. Just stay out of the line of fire and your kids will thank you for being ever-present and sane!!!

It's taken me time and lots of reflection to build the loving family I never had, and I wish you lots of courage to do the same. My situation is slightly different from you in that my non-Asian DH and his family are close by, very helpful in all respects but non-obtrusive and don't interfere.
mags's Avatar mags 12:35 PM 12-25-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixMom View Post
Sorry about your situation, Mags,

My mother came from a traditional Chinese family where boys were favoured over girls, and her own mother forced her to do a lot of house chores while the younger kids skeddadled and played. And lucky me, as her only daughter, she somehow took out some of that anger and frustration on me. My two brothers got pampered and spoiled while I was told that the only reason she was giving me a university education was to find a suitable guy ASAP.

Fast forward to me having my first kid, and my mom was absolutely NO help whatsoever. Though I envied my friends whose parents would come from across the ocean to help out after a birth, at the same time I was relieved NOT to have my mom helping me, because there would have been plenty of grounds for many arguments and disputes. They came and visited for TWO hours when their very first grandchild was born. Our DS was a boy, but since I wasn't the favoured child (read: black sheep of the family) it appeared as though my mom could hardly wait to get out of our apartment after dropping off the pig's feet in vinegar.

This too shall pass. I wish you a supportive network of friends and hired help. Accept your toxic in-laws and parents for what they are and limit your interactions with them so their negative energy doesn't poison you. There's no use in rationalizing why they do what they do. Just stay out of the line of fire and your kids will thank you for being ever-present and sane!!!

It's taken me time and lots of reflection to build the loving family I never had, and I wish you lots of courage to do the same. My situation is slightly different from you in that my non-Asian DH and his family are close by, very helpful in all respects but non-obtrusive and don't interfere.
Thanks for posting. I relate so much to your post. I know there is nothing I can do to change the way that they are and you are right it takes a lot of time and reflection to build the loving family that I have now. I feel like I have had to parent my children completely opposite from the way I was brought up. I'm so glad for you that your DH's family is close and supportive of you.
ABmom's Avatar ABmom 02:47 PM 12-25-2008
to all.

Dh and I are both Asians (Vietnamese & Chinese) and we are fortunate that our parents are not too archaic in their thinking. Yes they do value males (to carry the family name) but they also love their daughters & granddaughters. As dh is the only son, I know there is pressure to produce a son. My oldest brother's wife also felt the pressure to produce a son. Although our parents (his and mine) do not treat the grandchildren any differently, we (myself & sil) understand where this thinking comes from.

As we have decided that ds will be the last, I hope that we don't unknowingly put any pressure on our future dil to produce a son.
LoMaH's Avatar LoMaH 05:02 PM 12-25-2008
Oh, mags
I'm so sorry. That WAS painful to read.

Congratulations on your new baby!
LoMaH's Avatar LoMaH 05:40 PM 12-25-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
skreader,
I think my mom is mad at me, b/c to her, it's all about the chinese medicine herbs. She wanted to feed me all kinds of horrible chinese herbs and I refused to do so. I asked her what they were and she said she didn't know the, "american" name, I told her to find out and I would research it and if it was ok for breastfeeding, I would take it. She kept saying, "it's all natural, it's safe." I said, "no, you don't even know what that BAG of random ingredients is and you're telling me that it's safe????" She got really angry with me, told me she spent good $ to get the quality label japanese brand and I was being unappreciative. She still keeps trying to push the herbs on me, my brother was in a very serious car accident several months ago, my mom is trying to give him the SAME herbs, he refused (he's a doctor, so even more suspicious), so instead she gave it to one of her friends' dd who just had her baby a month ago as a baby gift (wouldn't listen to me when I told her just to give a gift card, now she looks like a lunatic for her, "gift"), and that new mom is a doctor herself, who own Taiwanese mother would probably not push chinese herbs on her. I guarantee she will NOT some weird herbs. What really makes me mad is that I told her I would take it if she could tell me what was in the concoction, BUT she didn't want to be bothered with it. Plus, she was annoyed that I chose to BF my babies and seemed to feel that if I did not BF, that I wouldn't have thrown such a fit about wanting to know what the herbs were. Funny how someone who touts how, "natural" and "safe" these herbs are, seems to be so gung ho about baby formula (she would show up with cans of formula every time she showed up for a visit). She seemed totally insulted. So, I guess she feels that if I don't blindly take some chiense herbs that *may* harm my baby (who knows?), that it means I am rejecting her, "help?"
I haven't read the other responses yet, but I think she may feel that you're rejecting HER and HER ways. (I've btdt too.)
You know how we mothers can be sensitive about our own decisions to the point that sometimes we may feel that we need to justify our choices to other mothers who do differently than we do?

Since you're questioning the use of Chinese herbs and formula (which is your prerogative of course), she may feel you're judging her and that you think that your choices are superior to hers.
Now, sometimes parents can be extremely pushy and don't accept their kids being assertive, no matter how gently it's done. So, it's a tight rope to walk. But maybe there's something you can find that she recommends to you where you can make her feel important and wise. Ex- asking her for advice about something or inviting her to go shop for the baby and joyfully accepting HER choice.
And no doubt, my suggestion may be difficult to you because of the hurt and rejection you've felt for so long.

However, if you don't want to live in a state of perpetual hurt........ I think you can either try to make amends with your mom OR limit your exposure to her and try to not let what she does affect you (I know easier said than done, but possible). Sometimes when we feel rejected, we raise our expectations of others really high- wanting them to compensate/suffer for our mistreatment. If we keep these unrealistic expectations, we're usually highly disappointed since they rarely meet them. So perhaps find another outlet that allows you to express your pain that doesn't involve expecting them to apologize or to change.

I hope that you didn't find that advice too outrageous.
Take care
joanq's Avatar joanq 08:36 AM 12-28-2008
I'm so sorry. That must be so difficult. I certainly can't understand how families can be that way, but my DH's is. He is the oldest son, and we have a boy. My SIL has 3 girls. When I was pregnant with DS my SIL said to me "If your baby is a boy he will be the most important grandchild".
It made me so sad to hear that, and it didn't even seem to phase her. Just a statement of fact!
dessismama's Avatar dessismama 02:23 PM 12-28-2008
Mags,

My heart goes out to you!! Your mom sounds a lot like my MIL...

My DH's extended family favors boys over girls too. It is horrible! They definitely treat my sons differently from my daughters. I cannot believe people are so silly.... I mean should the gender of your child really matter?

I have a very good friend and colleague who is Korean born and she constantly talks about how boys are so much more precious in Korea and how when her mother had a son after 3 daughters one of her friends from across the street stopped talking with her from envy. Come on!! Come to your senses!!

Congratulations on your new baby!! I hope you can find someone to help you when your third comes!! Maybe a sister-in-law?
mags's Avatar mags 08:10 PM 12-28-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoMaH View Post
I haven't read the other responses yet, but I think she may feel that you're rejecting HER and HER ways. (I've btdt too.)
You know how we mothers can be sensitive about our own decisions to the point that sometimes we may feel that we need to justify our choices to other mothers who do differently than we do?

Since you're questioning the use of Chinese herbs and formula (which is your prerogative of course), she may feel you're judging her and that you think that your choices are superior to hers.
Now, sometimes parents can be extremely pushy and don't accept their kids being assertive, no matter how gently it's done. So, it's a tight rope to walk. But maybe there's something you can find that she recommends to you where you can make her feel important and wise. Ex- asking her for advice about something or inviting her to go shop for the baby and joyfully accepting HER choice.
And no doubt, my suggestion may be difficult to you because of the hurt and rejection you've felt for so long.

However, if you don't want to live in a state of perpetual hurt........ I think you can either try to make amends with your mom OR limit your exposure to her and try to not let what she does affect you (I know easier said than done, but possible). Sometimes when we feel rejected, we raise our expectations of others really high- wanting them to compensate/suffer for our mistreatment. If we keep these unrealistic expectations, we're usually highly disappointed since they rarely meet them. So perhaps find another outlet that allows you to express your pain that doesn't involve expecting them to apologize or to change.

I hope that you didn't find that advice too outrageous.
Take care
Thanks. My big issue with the Chinese herbs is that I don't know where the hell my mom gets it. She goes back to Taiwan and then gets bags of herbs. They are not labeled, or anything, she has no way to know how they were handled or if they are pure, etc.. As for expectations, I have really, really low expectations of both my mil and mother, my mom is esp unreliable when it comes to, "helping" me with the kids, even if it was her idea to begin with.

Strangely enough we just found out though that mil's boss has made her go part time (from full time). So, she is off in the afternoons now. My DH told her that we will need her to be, "on call" when it's time for the baby to be due (they live an hr away), so she can watch our two boys when I go to the hospital. She seemed very agreeable to it and is actually very excited to have one more grandchild. She had assumed that she would have no more. So, who knows. Maybe my mil will come through for us.
Lazy Gardens's Avatar Lazy Gardens 08:43 PM 12-29-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
skreader,
I think my mom is mad at me, b/c to her, it's all about the chinese medicine herbs. She wanted to feed me all kinds of horrible chinese herbs and I refused to do so. I asked her what they were and she said she didn't know the, "american" name, I told her to find out and I would research it and if it was ok for breastfeeding, I would take it.

She kept saying, "it's all natural, it's safe." I said, "no, you don't even know what that BAG of random ingredients is and you're telling me that it's safe????"
Good move, because those things are DANGEROUS! The actual herb may be OK, if it is correctly identified and prepared, but the quality control is non-existent, and they are often laced with prescription medications or contaminated with heavy metals.

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3031748
http://www.ufscc.ufl.edu/Patient/can...rnews&id=17520
http://professional.cancerconsultant....aspx?id=29307

And that's just a few of the cites.

The same goes for the "traditional" remedies in Hispanic cultures: many or them are loaded with lead or mercury salts.

As for the "It's all natural" argument: botulin toxin, rattlesnake venom and castor beans are 100% natural. Any takers?
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