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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."

[rebelmouse-image 19398111 dam="1" original_size="465x264" caption="Image via Canary/YouTube." expand=1]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.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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Top Splash

Little boy and his mom get the surprise of a lifetime: tickets to the Eagles game

"I hate telling people no, especially when I can help."

Little boy and his mom get surprised with tickets to Eagles game.

In today's world, it's easy to get caught up in all the negative news we're exposed to, but in reality, most good deeds are done away from a camera—just one person helping another without desire for fanfare. And for mom Bryanne McBride and her young son, Mason, that's exactly what they were doing when they got the surprise of a lifetime.

Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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Education

Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

An estimated 50-70% of the population doesn't have an internal monologue.

The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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Community

Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

Grayscale photo of woman in bikini.

Facebook has been a great place for people to bare all when it comes to their emotions. But when it comes to baring all with regards to bodies, Facebook has always seemed as if they’d rather people bare none of it. Facebook has received criticism for over-sexualizing breasts, but a new recommendation from Meta’s advisory board says the nipples can come out for nonbinary users.

Recently, Facebook censored two posts from a transgender and nonbinary couple that featured the couple appearing topless. Even though their nipples were covered, an AI system took the photos down for "violating the Sexual Solicitation Community Standard" after they were flagged by a human user. The couple appealed to Meta, and the photos were reinstated, but it was enough to catch the attention of Meta’s oversight board, which advises Meta on content moderation policies and is made up of academics, politicians and journalists.

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