The Feast – 267 – Prenatal Depression

Chapter 267: Prenatal Depression


Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Vinisha

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As Duan Tingxuan had mentioned before, the emperor had increased his workload several times, as though trying to make up for his half-year absence while ‘digging around’ Jiang Nan and Liaodong. The little marquis was so busy that for two whole months now he barely had the time to put his feet up. In fact, he always leaves the estate long before the sun was up and came back long after most of them were asleep. Even the empress could no longer bear seeing her nephew abused so and through strategic pillow talk, convinced the emperor to show mercy and granted him a two-day holiday. Naturally, it was all spent accompanying his lovely pregnant wife.

At Su Nuan Nuan’s words, the little marquis could not help laughing. He shook his head and said, “You are right. But, if you’re so tired, why come out to look at the chrysanthemums? If you enjoy looking at them so much, why don’t I have the servants move some of the nicer blooms into Spring Breeze Court?”

“What do you know, ah? Some exercise is needed to ensure a stable foetus. Especially when it comes to a body like mine. I can’t get fat no matter what I eat, which is good since I can maintain a slim figure, but this body can’t absorb nutrients properly either. If I don’t exercise, where would I get the energy to push the child out later? As the father, you’re not allowed in the birthing room, are you going to just lurk around outside listening to me howl for a day and a night…”

She was still speaking when Duan Tingxuan covered her mouth and said, “Please don’t speak anymore, just listening to this makes me tremble. And what’s this about a day and a night? Have some confidence with yourself, when Lan’er and Yun’er gave birth, it was all very successful.”

“They’ve given birth more than once, so of course they’re expert by now.” Su Nuan Nuan sighed. “To be honest, I would like to have a few more children; it’s not like our family can’t afford it. Children are so loving and pure, aren’t they? Unfortunately, in this era, giving birth is like catching a glimpse of hell’s gate, if a woman is not careful, she could fall through the gate of hell…”

“No, no, nothing like that would happen to you. You’re very lucky and your spirit is strong. So strong that you took over Su Meng Nuan’s body when she… so how could you easily… No, the heavens would keep us together and let us become a happy couple.”

The little marquis was so shocked by his wife’s words that even his hands were damp with nervous sweat. Suddenly, all the stories of noble women dying at childbirth streamed through his mind and he grew even more frightened by the idea. He clutched at Su Nuan Nuan’s hands and said, “How about… Nuan Nuan, how about we give up the child? There’s still time, after all, I have plenty of children and my children are your children in name.”

“Are you done with your nonsense?” Su Nuan Nuan glared at him. “Even you know to say they are mine in name only. Enough, I’m not going to argue with you anymore. Though I like all your other children well enough, I can’t just take them in and treat them as though I had given birth to them. Aiya, there’s no need for you to worry, I’m just suffering from a bit of prenatal depression and want to vent my frustrations a bit. Don’t take it to heart, have you not seen just how strong I am? How could something as insignificant as giving birth be difficult for me? It probably takes as much energy as making a pot of Buddha Jumps over the Wall. I guarantee I’ll pop it out without any problem, don’t worry about it.”

“The more you try to reassure me, the more worried I am. Also, you being tough in the kitchen has nothing to do with giving birth, ah.” The little marquis’ face had gone paler at Su Nuan Nuan’s false bravado.

Su Nuan Nuan said, “Can you please not be like this? You should be the one to reassure me. If I’m too nervous, it would be difficult for me to give birth. Really! Why are prospective fathers in novels always like this? You can either be stupidly besotted or gentle and reassuring, not this frightened person who needs me to reassure him about me giving birth.”

“I was very gentle and reassuring in the beginning, ah. When the little fellow in your tummy started to practice his martial arts, you’re the one who said that my face went completely slack and stupid. Today, when you suddenly brought up this thing, I suddenly recalled all the noble ladies who had… can you blame me for being frightened? Who is scaring whom now, ah?”

Duan Tingxuan waved his hands anxiously about, only to hear Su Nuan Nuan said, “There’s no point being frightened or worried. Enough, life and death, fortune and misfortune are ruled by fate. There’s no point thinking about it…”

“When you say that giving birth in this era is like catching a glimpse of hell’s gate. Could it be that giving birth in your time is… very easy?”

“It’s not like there is no danger involved, and there are always risks of complications of course. But as long as we take care to prevent amniotic fluid embolism [1], most mothers could give birth safely.”

When Duan Tingxuan displayed bewilderment over the strange medical term, she proceeded to explain the matter to him. The little marquis quickly grasped the concept and his eyes brightened. Excitedly, he said, “Truly? Majority of the women could give birth safely? This is too incredible. Over here, even among palace ladies and noblewomen, giving birth is like catching a glimpse of hell’s gate. Quick, Nuan Nuan, is there any good medicine or technique you can suggest? We may give them all a try. This concerns not only you but all the women of this world, ah.”

“Dear husband, while I am pleased to see you show your consideration for the women of the world so purely, I am sad to report that medical techniques from my time could not be used here.” At the little marquis’ dissatisfied look, she smiled and said, “Because a lot of women who suffer from complications would undergo the knife, their bellies cut to let the baby out. Is the medical technology here advanced enough to cut a woman open, take the baby out and sew her back properly?” 

“C-cut… open?” Duan Tingxuan stammered. His face grew several shades paler, he shook his head quickly and said, “No, no, that can’t be done. How could a birthing woman survive being cut open? Heavens, ah. This is too barbaric, ah.”

“What’s going on with your head?” Su Nuan Nuan stared up at her nervous husband with a 囧囧 expression on her face. “It’s cutting open the belly, not the birthing mother. The cut is done at the bottom of the belly to let the child out. If we cut any random woman in half, none of them would survive, you know? Why would you slash a whole woman in half when only a small cut is needed? I really don’t know what’s going on with your brain.”

“Oh, just cut the belly to take out the child?” Duan Tingxuan blinked with sudden realization. Then, just as quickly, his face fell and became very unpleasant looking. In a grim voice, he said, “How could you look onto this kind of barbaric, shameful, beastly practice so favourably? Do you know the Japanese pirates who have plagued our Dayin shores for hundreds of years that have disappeared only recently? There are still pockets of those brutes coming to our shores to loot, burn and kill from time to time. People who encountered these Japanese pirates would always come to a terrible end. They are known to slash open the stomachs of pregnant woman…”

“Stop…” Su Nuan Nuan raised her hand to stop the indignant information spill from her husband. “I say, dear husband, your wife is about to give birth, she is also suffering from prenatal depression. Not only did you not try to coax my mood, but have started to complain about the atrocities of these pirates. Yes, yes, I agree that these pirates are terrible people and should be split asunder by five horses. But… but can we please not go on about such patriotic rant for now? I’m even more depressed now, depression is bad for my health, you know?”

“Aren’t you the one who brought it up first? You were the one who was talking about cutting bellies open and taking out foetuses as though it’s something that’s easily done…” the little marquis paused, finally noticing his wife’s drooping head.

Su Nuan Nuan was muttering to herself, “Oh, good heavens, the generation gap is too big for proper communication.”

He looked up and around, listening intently to make sure that there were really no one around before saying, “Be at ease, there is no one within 2 miles from here. We may speak freely.”


[Gumihou: … I’m going to take a wild guess and consider the last part as an exaggeration on DTX’s part because not even the Forbidden Palace is 1 mile long and there are bound to be servants lurking around too, you know, sweep the floors.]


[1] Amniotic Fluid Embolism – is where the fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus during pregnancy enters the mother’s bloodstream.


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