Tuesday, May 21, 2024

After Giving Birth, This Golden Chicken Soup Was My Balm

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In The Fourth Trimester, we ask parents: What meal nourished you after welcoming your baby? This month, it’s a golden chicken soup from Eating Out Loud author and Top Chef Canada host Eden Grinshpan.

Growing up, there was nothing more exciting to me than the idea of becoming a mother. I had a million thoughts about pregnancy and labor. What would pregnancy feel like? What would labor feel like? Would I need an epidural? Would my partner faint like in a rom-com? Would the baby latch the second she came out?

I had my first child, Ayv, when I was 31. I labored at home with my husband, Ido, and my doula for a few hours. Then I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was afraid that I’d miss my chance at an epidural. We took an Uber to the hospital and, when they checked me in, I was dilated six centimeters. I started pushing in the afternoon and an hour later she was here. Eight pounds and totally perfect. I will never forget that moment being wheeled out of the hospital with Ayv in my arms. I was like, can I actually take her with me?

Funny enough, I had never considered what life with a newborn would look like. I could envision myself with children running around, smiling and laughing, frolicking in the summer breeze. But I couldn’t predict that shift you feel when you become a mom. Nothing can prepare you for that.

Adjusting to life at home was hard but fun. Yes there were a million diapers. But we had our family around—hanging, laughing, eating, watching movies, eating some more. It felt like time slowed down. And the fact that it was Passover, my favorite Jewish holiday, made it all even more special.

During Passover you don’t eat leavened bread, which means you live off of matzo. This giant cracker is not that flavorful, and if you didn’t grow up with it, you would probably find it bland. But for me it is the best. I love it schmeared with butter and sprinkled with salt. And I love it turned into matzo ball soup. Lots of people argue about whether these dumplings should be fluffy or dense, but no judgment here, I’m happy with either. It’s the chicken broth I feel most opinionated about.

My love for chicken soup runs deep. I know a lot of you can relate. There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of rich, almost sticky, golden chicken soup to cure all your worries. It can be celebratory for the holidays, comforting for a Sunday supper, or healing for whatever ails you. It’s been that way my whole life, so it’s no surprise that, after I gave birth, chicken soup became my balm.

The fourth trimester is all about taking care of the mama. I know that may sound silly since the baby is so fresh. Obviously we are all going to pass that baby around and smooch that baby like crazy, but the person who is going through the most is the mother. Healing after labor, not sleeping more than a couple hours at a time, hormones being all out of whack, the list goes on. Mom needs some TLC. I always tell my friends who are visiting loved ones who just gave birth to do their dishes, clean their house, do a load of laundry. That is how you can help.

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