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MAMA EATS FIRST
Mama Eats First is a book about the transition to motherhood and how to optimize the first forty days after birth to truly support the recovery and emergence of the newborn mom.
I wrote this book because moms need more support than what our system and culture offer now. With the right tools and loving guidance, newborn moms can create an environment that allows for deep healing, recovery and a transition into a thriving, empowered experience.
In my book, I translate traditions from other cultures into practices and systems that are accessible to you now. Whether you have a whole village of aunties ready to help or are building your own team far from family or friends, I offer guidance on the what, how, and when.
At present, the book is written in six parts.
Part 1: In this section, you will learn about the unique challenges and opportunities facing millennial moms today. You will also learn about the groundbreaking concept of “Matresence”, the time period when a woman experiences more neurobiological changes than at any other point in her life. Through this lens, we explore how to reframe the entry point of motherhood in a way that better serves the women going through the portal. Finally, you will learn about some postpartum realities, so you’re not left scratching your head and wondering if what you’re feeling is ‘normal’.
Part 2: Do you have trouble asking for or receiving help? This section will completely transform the way you think about asking for and receiving help. You will learn why behavioral psychologist Adam Grant sees receiving help as an ultimate form of giving. You will also read stories of how women with vastly different life circumstances approached building their villages. Whether you have a strong local community or feel like you’re on your own, you will discover strategies for getting the help you need.
Part 3: Put on your comfiest robe and snuggle up as you enjoy this restorative section focused on the ultimate need of every new mom: rest! You will read about my personal struggle with being okay with slowing down, and how I hacked rest with a crying newborn (it was simple but not easy). Learn from sleep experts about feeling recharged and what to do when it simply isn’t possible to lie down. a pause and give yourself the gift of reflection and learn about yourself by looking inward with a series of questions and thought exercises.
Part 4: This section is all about nourishment through food. Here, I take best practices from traditional ‘Mother Centered’ cultures and offer them in a way that is practical for modern, millennial mamas. Have you wondered why some women ingest their own placentas? Are you hoping to avoid constipation and indigestion during your first few weeks as a mom? Learn the principles of what to eat, what to avoid, and how to avoid the common challenges that come with trying to feed yourself and your baby. Hint: Mama eats first!
Part 5: Here, we dive deep in the social, emotional, and spiritual processing of the transition from maiden to mother. You will read stories that show how grieving is as powerful and important as celebrating. I also share insights on how the transition to parenthood can impact your partner and offer tools for protecting your relationship.
Part 6: This This section helps to set you up for ways of being and systems for operating long after your forty days are complete. You also will enjoy a selection of recipes inspired by Mother-Centered cultures.
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Note from Elizabeth:
“My hope is that, in reading this book, you will discover a new way of experiencing the initial Forty Days of your postpartum period. In this book, I hope to instill in you the same sort of passion and excitement that I have for motherhood and women’s health. Ultimately, for all expecting and new mamas, I want this book to empower you to ask for help, and for your communities to step up and provide the support that you deserve.”
If you’re interested in learning about some of the experiences that happen during matrescence, you can simply open up one of the countless books published about adolescence. Mood swings, hair growth, bleeding, swift changes to the size of the body, acne, changes to breast size, discharge... these are just a few things that are shared between a girl transitioning to womanhood and a woman transitioning to motherhood.
In case you haven’t been told by your midwife or mother or friend already: there will be blood. A lot of it. And it’s actually healthy and important to bleed, albeit inconvenient at times. Lochia, of postbirth bleeding is how your uterus cleans house. After ten months of a pregnancy free of not menstruation, this is, what one of my clients affectionately calls, “period payback”.
There is a Mandarin phrase used during this time, 陪月（peiyue）, that translates to “mothering the mother”.
During this time, the new mother is fed nourishing foods, swaddled in warm clothes, and told to do as little as possible outside of rest and heal. Household and baby care duties are delegated to her mom or other aunts. The priority is rebuilding her qi (life force energy) and nourishing her body with the view of longevity.