I have found an incredible culture here of people who nurture a new mom. I don't remember this mentality in the States as much, and it's such a beautiful way to see birth and to wish the mother well. A few days after we came home from the hospital, our neighbor showed up at the door. This is a family that has 9 kids and a very full house! They keep to themselves a great deal and aren't people that we've had the chance to spend much time with. So, there the husband was with a huge loaf of amazing, hot homemade bread, and a large jar of homemade plum jam. It was arranged on a platter and was such a sweet and warm gift. We devoured it the next day and really appreciated the sentiment.
Another family came with a "new-mom shake," as the husband called it. It was a milkshake that was delicious and that was full of nutrients to help the new mom. I drank it on the spot and it was such a cute idea that I had to giggle while I was drinking.
Next, my next door neighbor brought an enormous fruit platter over to wish us Mazal Tov. The next day, she showed up with lunch for me! She'd made a nutritious meal that was full of whole grains, vegetables and nuts and she informed me that no one else in the family was allowed to eat it - it was just for the new mom.
We received meals from our friends for 10 days and had Shabbat meals provided for us for three weeks in a row! It was amazing to watch people coming to the house with all of this food and with such joy at seeing the new baby. It really helped to keep me off my feet and to nurture me and the family.
Finally, as the grand finale, an amazing friend invited me to come and stay in Tel Aviv at her house for a night. Her husband took the kids to Europe and she had her house to herself. So, I packed up and arrived on Wednesday morning last week. She met me at the house, showed me where she had my breakfast and lunch and got me situated. I had the entire day to hang out with Azriel, watch terrible shows on t.v., nap and enjoy. In the late afternoon, she came home and took me to a new spa that they have in the neighborhood! She watched Azriel while I had an amazing facial and a pedicure. Then, we went to a mall for dinner and some fresh air. The next morning, she had breakfast and lunch waiting for me and I hung out and relaxed again, before returning to Jerusalem that night. It was the best present and such a sweet offer from her!
Now, after three weeks of nurturing, I feel refreshed and ready to conquer many of the day to day tasks of life with five boys. It's been a great three weeks and I've loved watching the creative ways that friends have chosen to nurture me and to welcome Azriel into our community!