3 moms recorded their first weeks home with a newborn. It got real — real quick.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn't understand why people talked about the newborn period being so hard.

I mean, it's not like newborn babies are crawling around getting into things or arguing with you about which color cup they want. They eat, they sleep, and they poop. How hard could it be?

Then I had my first baby — and the world turned upside down.


Photo by Philippe Huguen/Getty Images.

Having a newborn is so much more than just snuggling with your sweet-smelling infant. There's the childbirth recovery, the hormone surges, the engorged breasts leaking all over the place, the crying (yours and the baby's), and the sleep deprivation — OMG, the sleep deprivation. It's used as a form of torture for a reason.

There's also the weighty realization that this tiny person's life is literally in your hands, and you have no real idea what you're doing. It's all-consuming.

Three moms recorded their first weeks home with their newborns — and nothing was held back.

Cortney, Melissa, and Dorian all had babies this year. Melissa had her second child (she also had a toddler at the time), and Cortney and Dorian were first-time moms. They each used home security cameras to candidly document the first few postpartum weeks and shared a bit about what life has been like with a newborn.

One mom slowly eased her just-gave-birth body onto the couch and said, "Aw, f*ck." Yep. I remember that feeling. And the sound of those newborn cries is enough to make any mom's gut clench with feeling.

Of course, there is an indescribable beauty and magic to newborn babies. If someone could figure out how to bottle that baby-head smell, they'd be billionaires. There's nothing softer or silkier than baby skin, and sometimes all you want to do is just sit and stare at their perfect faces.

But that's only a fraction of the story in those early weeks.

These moms shared what surprised them about having a newborn, and it's a powerful reminder of how hard it really can be.

"Having a newborn is not what I expected," Cortney tells me. "I knew it would be tiring, but I didn't realize how exhausted I would be. It's literally a 24/7 job with no breaks."

Dorian reiterates how exhausting that period can be. "The main thing that surprised me was how serious exhaustion could be," she says. "Especially in the first two weeks. It felt like sheer willpower to put one foot in front of the other and keep going because I was so tired."

Image via Canary/YouTube.

Sleep deprivation is no joke, I'm telling you. And when you add "recovering from childbirth" to the mix, it's a miracle new moms function at all.

"I wish people understood how difficult it is," Melissa says. "Being pregnant, giving birth, and the aftermath is a lot. Not only do you have to figure out how to meet the needs of a baby, but you feel worn out."

New moms need support, and that starts with acknowledging how hard they're working and how valuable that work is.

Did you know that the U.S. is the only developed nation that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave for new moms? The only one. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Meanwhile, 36 nations offer at least a year of paid leave for parents, and dozens more offer, at minimum, 14 weeks.

If we want our citizenry to be healthy and productive, we need to acknowledge that new mothers need time to recover from childbirth, tend to the needs of their babies, and adjust to a huge life change. New motherhood is hard — awesome and amazing, but hard. Let's all do what we can to support new moms as they adjust to their unexpectedly upside-down worlds.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less

As I was doomscrolling through Twitter yesterday, the wording of an Associated Press post caught my eye. "The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats," it read.

A win for Democrats? Surely they meant a win for Americans? For voters? For democracy?


Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less
Deutsche Bank / Flickr

Actor Tom Hanks is speaking out about Americans who can't manage to practice basic precautions to help stop the spread of the COVID-19.

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, are in a unique position to talk about the virus, they were among the first major celebrities to announce they contracted the virus in March.

The couple recovered form the disease after self-isolating in Australia.

The "Forest Gump" and "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" star didn't mince words when speaking at a press conference for his upcoming film "Greyhound," which debuts July 10 on Apple TV+.

Keep Reading Show less

After years of advocating for racial justice and calling out police brutality and seeing little change in law enforcement and our justice system, some people are rightfully fed up. When complaints are met with inaction, protests are met with inaction, and direct action is met with inaction, maybe it's time to get specific in who needs to be held accountable for issues in law enforcement.

That's exactly what Keiajah (KJ) Brooks did at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting in her hometown of Kansas City this week. The 20-year-old used her approximately four minutes with the microphone—and with the commissioners' undivided attention—to unequivocally lay out her position to each and every one of the officials in that room.

"Fair warning, I'm not nice and I don't seek to be respectable," she began. "I'm not asking y'all for anything because y'all can't and won't be both my savior and my oppressor. I don't want reform. I want to turn this building into luxury low-cost housing. These would make some really nice apartments."

"Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities, 'cause they're cute now, but in 10 years, they're Black male suspects in red shirts and khaki shorts," she said. "Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration..." she added, before looking directly at the police chief and pointedly calling him out by name, "...Rick Smith."

Keep Reading Show less