During our pregnancy journey, we spend a lot of our time preparing for baby. From the nursery to baby gear and everything in between. Taking the time to focus on ourselves and prepare for the postpartum period can often be overlooked or pushed to the side completely. The first 40 days after birth are important for a mother’s rest and recovery and Author Heng Ou aims to restore the lost art of caring for a mom during this time period in her book The First Forty Days.
The book is based on Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, which is a set period of time that a mother stays at home to heal and bond with baby. With many mothers feeling the pressure to “bounce back” after pregnancy, they are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges this new phase in life brings. This book serves as a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance during those first weeks with a new baby.
Ou breaks the book down into three chapters. The Gathering chapter discusses the final months of pregnancy and how to “nest” and prepare. In The Passage chapter, she offers judgment-free advice on preparing for birth whether it’s non-medicated, C-section, or at home. Finally, in The Gateway chapter, she breaks down what the first days after baby could look like. Following these three chapters, she includes 60 easy to make recipes for healing soups, meals and snacks, and calming and lactation-boosting teas.
Heng Ou is the founder of Motherbees, a food and lifestyle company that empowers women and their families through every stage of life.