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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."