I‘ve been meaning to write a post about giving birth in Hong Kong for some time. Because it had such an impact on my personal situation, I’m writing an entirely separate post about children born in 2007, Year of the Golden Pig, and what it means exactly. If your child was born in between February 18, 2007 and February 6, 2008, this will be some interesting trivia for you, hopefully.
What Is Year Of The Golden Pig?
The Year of the Pig occurs every 12 years on the zodiac calendar. When I read about it in Hong Kong, Year of the Golden Pig is supposedly every 600 years. However, here in the U.S., it’s quoted as happening every 60 years.
In either case, if you are a believer in the Chinese zodiac and were thinking of having children, you’d probably have pushed it off to 2007, if possible. Keep in mind, in some mainland Chinese areas, people are only allowed one child. If you were going to plan for that one child, wouldn’t you want he or she to be born in the most auspicious year?
Why Is It An Auspicious Year?
A pig is jolly and fat, which is also symbolic of wealth. You need money to eat and be happy, right? Chinese folklore has it that a child born in the Year of the Golden Pig, will certainly experience a prosperous and healthy life. The child will also be honest and hardworking.
We did not plan to have La Jolla Girl in the Year of the Golden Pig. It was just “luck.”
Fear Of A Baby Boom
This brought up all sorts of fears in Hong Kong and China, such as a huge portion of the work force being out on maternity leave at the same time as well as overcrowding of hospitals. Mainland Chinese need a visa to enter Hong Kong, but some (for whatever reason) are allowed in to give birth at private hospitals in Hong Kong. I can see why. Even compared to hospitals in the U.S., the private hospital I was at in Hong Kong blew our care here out of the water. Lots of Mainland Chinese seek to cross the border for health care (citizenship issues aside), as it is.
The result? There were going to be even more people entering legally and illegally, both putting pressure on the Hong Kong health care system. Not only that, but plenty of Hong Kong residents postponed having a baby until Year of the Golden Pig, though not as many as those on the mainland.
Hospitals Required Reservations From Day 1
As you may know, we had a transcontinental lifestyle and while I was home for the holidays, I learned my Ob-Gyn in Hong Kong forgot to make my reservation at my hospital of choice. I thought she had done this on day 1, but was all revealed while I was in the U.S. and helpless to do much about it. Panic is an understatement.
In the Year of the Golden Pig, there was no way you could just go into labor and expect to be accepted into your hospital of choice. No way. You needed to book your hospital at your very first doctor visit. Even then, your first choice was not always guaranteed because there were so many people giving birth. In “normal” years, you need to book your hospital in advance if you want private care in Hong Kong. I should mention that the public system in Hong Kong is truly excellent, but I wanted the room with an ocean view and certainty.
What Actually Happened
The hospitals were indeed overflowing. There were reports of women giving birth in the hallways of the public hospitals because there were no beds available. They had to accept everyone giving birth. In the end, I switched doctors to the most high powered Ob-Gyn at my hospital of choice, and I got in to the Matilda. It was the most amazing experience ever.
Needless to say, 2007 was a great year for anyone in the baby business. I even read a Reuters article that talks about lagging condom sales in the months prior to the Year of the Golden Pig!
In the end, there certainly were a lot of babies born in Asia in the Year of the Golden Pig. I don’t think it caused quite the strain on China that some were expecting. But, future concerns like overcrowding of schools, remain to be seen.
Do you have a Golden Pig baby? If so, hopefully they can spoil YOU in your golden years.