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.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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