For first time mothers, parenthood could pose quite the challenge. You'll have to adapt to a new schedule and will often be exhausted after spending every waking minute with your newborn.
But at the end of the day bonding with your child is one of the best experiences you can have as a parent, and most will go to great lengths to make it as special as possible.
Terry Loong, 40, is one mother who went above and beyond to bond with her son, Matthew, by refusing to shower for 30 days following his birth.
According to the first time mother, her lack of bathing was to protect Matthew and herself from developing any infections.
While she made sure to regularly wash her newborn, Loong said she also didn't leave the house or have visitors, which is called postpartum confinement, a common practice in Asian culture.
"I remember my mum having a period of confinement when I was little. I’m the oldest of five so I saw it a lot," Loong explained.
"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," she added.
Loong, who is a plastic surgeon, revealed she was in "absolute agony, screaming the whole way" to St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, Southwest London, and didn't have a chance to shower before she delivered her son.
"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," Loong 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."
Loong also said she found it difficult to stick to her postpartum confinement near the end of the 30 days, and that her first shower was rough.
"I almost got used to it by the end, but I could tell I was smelly. I was committed to completing it though," Loong shared. "So much dead skin came away in that first shower – it was almost like I had cocooned myself."
However, Loong did admit to breaking her oath in order to improve Matthew's immune system.
She said: "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."
“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," Loong 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."
Despite being an unusual practice, Loong insists 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," she 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," the mother-of-one said.
"I personally feel it helped us bond and become a family without distractions, and I came out of it feeling mentally stronger and ready to start my new life," she concluded.
How long would you wait before you shower after giving birth?