The book you hold in your hands is a reinvention of some of the time-honored?programs for maternal care; less rigid and restricting than the protocols of?the past, yet infused with the wisdom that women have shared with one another?around cradles and kitchen tables since time immemorial. It is a journey toward?and through the first days of becoming a mother. It is free of too many rules and?”shoulds” and incorporates plenty of leeway to create your personal experience.
There are so many styles of mothering and so many choices to make for?baby’s well-being and your own (how to birth, where to birth, how to feed, how?to diaper-the list goes on!) that motherhood can sometimes feel divisive. But?The First Forty Days inclusive by design. It sees every woman as part of a sister-hood of mothers-no matter what personal choices each one makes along the?way-connected by the simple truth that today we must create the postpartum?experiences we want’ The actions contained in these pages will show you the way. They are small and simple things that you can easily do for yourself or ask others to do for you: make a special warming soup, share a heartfelt conversation, give yourself five minutes for a moment of quiet each day.
When any mother has a problem, the first thing I say to her is, “You need to be petted! Put your feet up, your body needs to be boosted with touch and stimulated if you want to get through this time.” For pregnant, birthing, and postpartum women, the more they’re touched, the happier they are, and the less stressful everything becomes. – CECILIA GARCIA, CHUMASH MEDICINE WOMAN, ENSENADA, MEXICO
The heart of the First Forty Days is nourishing the new mother. Eating well can be the first thing to get sacrificed when time, energy. and resources are lacking, yet-paradoxically-the demands of postpartum require you to stay very well fed. You have to refuel after the massive effort of birth while simultaneously doing something extraordinary: creating sustenance for a baby with your own body! It s incredible! And it requires energy in the form of food.
Stable and consistent eating is also a preventive measure against emotional distress. Being undernourished and incredibly overtired is a volatile combination. Tensions can rise and moods can spiral downward with surprising speed. A warming meal and a satisfied belly are the first steps to turning that spiral around, or stop it from happening at all.
To do this, I share my postpartum fusion food, a repertoire of dishes and drinks that blend old and new, East and west-the best of all worlds. The recipes take a back-to-basics approach to making simple dishes-either on your own in your kitchen or by asking others to cook for you. you’ll discover a range of meals, snacks, and drinks that are quick to make, support your digestion, and fortify you with necessary nutrition. This is a folksy style of cooking that doesn’t require much skill or many traditional or specialty ingredients. It is healing food made simply and colored with love.
one important consideration before we begin: please know that your first forty days are not a time to worry about losing so-called baby weight. Dieting to lose excess pounds may or may not be something you engage in during the months to come, but for this tender early period-remember, forty days is not even half of your baby’s “fourth trimester”-your onus is to feed yourself wisely and well. In the first phase of life with your child, your body is still shared and your choices affect two people deeply. The good, healthy fats featured in the?recipes fuel your metabolism to work efficiently and stabilize your mood. Eating in this way supports lactation, helping your body engage i n the energy intensive act of breastfeeding, So my invitation is to give up fighting with food?or?stressing about it. I want mothers to enjoy food as nourishment, as medicine, as comfort and, of course, as a gift offered with love from a person who cares.
Around this central hub of food, The First Forty Days will?invite you to consider the other steps you can take to ensure that you don’t lose yourself as you care for your baby-and your partner and other children, if you have them.
Your postpartum experience actually begins in your third trimester of pregnancy. For the first forty days, the end of pregnancy is actually the beginning of the story.
You will start out in the Gathering phase, which takes place in the third trimester. This is a time of activity and preparation for birth and postpartum. you will assemble your supplies and ready yourself and your home for what is to come.
Then you will inevitably enter the passage, the short but intense period of labor and delivery that is the bridge between the old you without a child, and the new you as a mother. The information here will?assist you in staying fueled, hydrated, and grounded during this extraordinary event.
Finally, you will sink into the Gateway, or the first forty days-the main event covered here and the heart of the book! The recipes collected and?the wisdom shared in this section will help you move through this rare season of your rife touched by all?five of the ancient insights: retreat, warmth, support, rest, and ritual.
Note: In this book, the gender neutral word “partner” is used to connote the baby’s other parent instead of “father” or?”dad”. Families are composed in so many ways today: the second parent maybe another mother, a baby may arrive to two fathers, or there may be no partner at all. The intention, with this choice of wording is to make this information as relevant to as many new parents as possible, so that the early days of parenting are as supported as they can possibly be.
As you read through the next four chapters, take what you will and do as much or as little as you like. choose a recipe that will strengthen and warm you; make a pot of tea to nourish you from within; or take just a word of wisdom to hold onto if you falter or doubt. How you use The First Forty Days is?up to you.
Text copyright ? 2016 by Heng Ou. Amely Greeven, and Marisa Belger