When we brought our daughters (now 3 and 6) home as newborns, I remember, throughout the ensuing months, having two very distinct experiences of time: one as a long and expansive string of family visits, of sitting in the dark in the middle of the night, of the gradual bodily recovery, of endless nursing and the like, and the other full of logistics and those very concrete and distinct firsts, from car rides to swaddles.
I also remember encountering another time dynamic post birth: the time that heals. There were certain special moments that allowed me to sit in the spring of motherhood and tap into the pulse of all that had unfolded magically and very recently. Once was during a quiet visit from a trusted friend and the other was a postpartum visit from my doula. When I took time to reflect and talk about our newly configured life, I encountered healing and the deep impression it left. I felt I was able to relish in the short-lived time of the newborn, removing myself briefly from the fast pace of daily life and instead dwelling in the little bear cave we had created.
Ritual is one way to embody those tender moments. The bris and baby naming are time-honored and built-in Jewish traditions announcing and capturing the time of birth. As a foodie, I am a believer that ingredients come with a resonance that mirror core pieces of motherhood and that can hold the magic of the time as well.
In that spirit, I have also created a food-based ritual (inspired by the seder plate) to also mark the time of new baby in our lives. With food being key to nourishment and much-needed energy for both mom and baby, food can serve as a tool of grounding and guidance through this time of change. The tastes, smells and ingredient combinations of a nourishing meal or delectable treat beckon to be a blessing—one that is soothing, healing, honoring of the birth, the baby and the family.