Ten days before the 4th of July, I gave birth to my daughter . My first, and only as it turns out. It was a spontaneous home birth, but that story is for another post. My husband and I were completely mesmerized by the beauty of our little newborn girl, it was mind blowing really. Between the complete awesomeness of the birthing experience and the exquisite little being that we were holding and caring for, and of course the sleep deprivation (which we were totally unprepared for), the next 10 – 14 days were a complete blur. I like to compare it to us being a family of cats, cuddling together and moving from sleep, eat, and sleep again phases throughout the day. It was dreamy and incredibly surreal.
We were barely aware that the Fourth of July was upon us, and going with the flow, decided to stay home and have a quiet holiday.
My husband laid out a blanket with mounds of decorative pillows, and my beloved body pillow (that body pillow totally got me thru the last trimester of pregnancy, couldn’t have slept without it). He made cold lemon cucumber water and we spent the entire holiday weekend, sans night time, in our backyard. A little respite in our postcard sized yard of nature with the squirrels, butterflies, and birds.
I laid on that blanket with my newborn and we would nap and lounge as I got used to nursing her in all different positions. Oftentimes we would gaze at each other while she nursed. Or I would let her sleep on my belly after a feeding. It was not exactly lazy, but definitely a slow summer pace that filled our beings and our days. We were building a new family cocoon together.
My husband, a photographer, woke up on the 4th and became incredibly inspired. He just snapped away, as my infant and I lounged. It was primitive and magical. The images of that day are spectacular. As you can see. I recall some friends stopping in to visit here and there, bringing food and snacks to picnic together. They were respectful and kept their visits short. And we enjoyed sharing the newness of it all. It was a peaceful and slow joy. Celebratory yet calm. Around us the neighborhood was bustling for barbeques and pool parties, the rush to get the best spot for fireworks at the park frenzy was certainly happening, but not in our little world.
Now that she is older, and we enjoy the pool parties and fireworks, of course it is tradition here in the US to partake of all of that on the 4th. But I still cherish those memories of that first holiday weekend with my newborn. It always gives me butterflies in my tummy.
Have a safe, happy, and celebratory Fourth of July,
Alisa Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder of PAM and mother of an amazing wonder
Images by her uber talented husband, Ron Hamad