We need to fundamentally reexamine how new moms are cared for after childbirth.

You've just been through the most physically demanding and life-altering event you'll ever experience. You have been stretched, pushed, pulled, and ravaged in seemingly superhuman ways to bring your baby into the world. Your altered body prepares to feed and slowly begins to heal, causing your hormones to ricochet through you like pinballs.

And on top of all of that, you are suddenly thrust into an entirely new role, a tiny life placed in your full-time care—a life that doesn't sleep regularly and requires specific methods of feeding every few hours around the clock.


In a viral Facebook post, blogger Anneliese Lawton described her own experiences with postpartum care—or the lack thereof:

"After my boys were born, there were appointments.
To check their latch.
To check their weight.
To check their hearing.
To check the colour of their skin for signs of jaundice.
There were appointments.
There were regular pokes and prods.
Their well-being was front and centre.
I'd say, when it comes to our health-care system, they were well taken care of.
Then there was me.
A first-time mom without a clue.
Engorged, bleeding, and stitched up.
Sent home with some painkillers and stool softeners.
Thrown into motherhood with the expectation my instincts would kick in.
That I would know how to handle colic and late night feedings.
That breastfeeding would come as nature intended.
That my husband would sense my spiral into depression.
That I would know how to live in my new and very foreign body.
That this stomach wouldn't make me feel hideous.
And my mind wouldn't make me feel less than they deserved.
No one poked me.
No one prodded.
No one checked my stitches, my healing, or my sanity until eight weeks postpartum.
And even then, it was a pat on the back and I was sent on my way.
Our world forgets about mothers.
We slip through the cracks.
We become background noise.
And in that, we learn our role... our place in our family unit... to always come last.
Folks, we can't put mothers last.
Our babies need us.
To be healthy.
To know that we are worthy.
To know that Motherhood, while natural, can sometimes feel like the least natural role in our life
And that deserves attention.
Mothers deserve attention.
We need our world to fuss over us the way they fuss over ten fresh fingers and ten fresh toes.
We need to be seen.
We need to be heard.
We need someone to not only ask if we're okay but to check time and time again, just to be sure.
We're not just a uterus.
We're not just a lifeline to a new and precious soul.
We're mothers.
And we need someone to make sure we're ok, too."

And Lawton's experience was in Canada, whose policies towards new moms, at least when it comes to maternity leave, are generally more supportive than in the U.S.

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In an ideal world, mothers would be flooded with care and support following childbirth. Instead, most American women are sent home with their babies and not checked on again for six to eight weeks.

Those first six to eight weeks are a make-or-break period for breastfeeding, a prime time for postpartum depression or psychosis to start setting in, and when sleep deprivation begins to take its toll. In different times and places, the "village" of fellow mothers and elders would care for new moms during this period. But in the U.S., most moms have been left to figure things out and fend for themselves.

Thankfully, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends that all who give birth "have contact with their obstetrician–gynecologists or other obstetric care providers within the first three weeks postpartum."

"This initial assessment should be followed up with ongoing care as needed, concluding with a comprehensive postpartum visit no later than 12 weeks after birth," the ACOG says.

"The comprehensive postpartum visit should include a full assessment of physical, social and psychological well-being, including the following domains: mood and emotional well-being; infant care and feeding; sexuality, contraception and birth spacing; sleep and fatigue; physical recovery from birth; chronic disease management and health maintenance."

In addition, the "fourth trimester" period should be marked by "individualized and woman centered" care.

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Dr. Alison Stuebe, who co-authored the revised ACOG guidelines that came out in May 2018, told Parents.com that the advice came "in response to the fact that maternal mortality is rising in the U.S., and women are more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes after the day of delivery than during pregnancy or birth."

"We also know that problems like postpartum depression and breastfeeding difficulties are more likely to get better if mothers get support in the first few weeks after birth, rather than muddling through until six weeks postpartum," Dr. Stuebe said.

It hasn't always been this way. Traditionally, women received 30 to 40 days of rest after giving birth—a period during which other mothers helped her recover. But our modern world doesn't provide that kind of "village" support, and many women face financial pressures to return to work too soon. The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that doesn't mandate paid maternity leave, adding insult to the injury of the lack of support for new moms.

We have a long way to go in understanding and providing the care that new moms really need. Creating an earlier postpartum checkup is a start, but it's time for a larger societal conversation about how we can make sure support for new moms is a priority, not an afterthought.

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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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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."