There's a baby boom going on across Chi.na right now.
It's the last month(s) to become impregnated and birth a dragon baby. The year of the dragon ends with the next Chine.se New Year in mid-January 2013, and babies born after the New Year will be snakes (my sister's year! Hisssssssss).
In the Chin.ese zodiak, the dragon is the most powerful animal (followed by the tiger - me) and I guess the thought process is, if you only get one kid (as per the one-child policy), you want him/her to be the most powerful.
Every day on the street I encounter mid-term pregnant ladies and I smile to myself, "You got that dragon baby, good job."
However, as you can imagine, this deadline poses some stress for those who have other life goals besides birthing a child in the right zodiak year (imagine that) and also who do not get pregnant quickly after beginning to try. This is the case with my dear friend Michael and lucky me, I get to be privy to all the conception details.
This stuff is just too funny not to share.
Michael has been telling me that his mom wants him to, "make the baby," before he spends a year in America. He is scheduled to leave sometime between September and December. In Chine.se families, they concieve their one baby very quickly. My college students could not seperate "marriage" from "babies" they seem to come together at the same time. Most couples are expected to concieve within their first year of marriage, if they don't, they have dishonored the family and/or are selfish. (These are traditional ideas, yet I have encountered them among my modern friends quite often).
Michael was married last October, so the one-year anniversary is coming and if they were to not concieve before he leaves, that would delay the baby-making another year, which would dishonor the family. Mind you, Michael is 27 years old and his wife is 23, they are very young.
Last month, Michael's mom asked them to have a baby as soon as possible and to try to have a dragon baby. At this point, the only way to ensure the baby is born before January would be to have a scheduled C-section. This is shockingly common in C.hina, over half of all births are C-sections, the highest rate in the world. (I love working at a hospital and knowing these things).
Michael shared his mom's request with me over coffee one afternoon and then informed me nonchalantly that she would be fertile before my marathon and maybe after my marathon they would find out if, "it works."
I was amused at being told this information, but observed that having a baby is a calculating measure when there are deadlines and family pressures involved. Culture, what a funny thing.
I have been giggling to myself these past few weeks thinking that Michael was trying to make his baby and could not wait to ask if it worked. (TMI? nah...) I kind of like being front row to one of the greatest events in my friend's life. Even if he sees it as a pressure rather than a blessing.
Last night in the elevator at the hospital after my english class, Michael was explaining that his boss wants him to go to America in September, but he wants December. The elevator stopped at the cardio ward where he was going on night duty and I called out to him as he turned to leave, "Are you having a baby?"
He turned and flipped his wrist in the air, "No. Didn't work. I want a snake." And with that he was through the doors and I was surrounded by hospital patients left to contemplate my friend's parental fate.
Another nurse who is very close to Michael and also is privy to this personal information looked at me and said with a knowing smile, "September is only three months away. December gives more time."
The dragon deadline is over. But there are still 5 months left to make a snake.
The longer I am here and the deeper I go with my friends, the more I have no idea what is going on. But I'm ok with it, that's the tiger in me. :)
walk slow. xoxo.