Postpartum cooking for neighbors

A neighbor of ours who had their first child about six months after Kaia was born just had her second child a few weeks ago. We bonded over the last few years since we used to go to the gym at the same time and were obsessive about exercise. Plus, we later found out that we both went through IVF to conceive our children. She and her husband had tried naturally to conceive for eight years with no result (I cannot imagine how excruciating that was since every month for a year, I felt annoyed every time I got my period). They took endless tests, and no abnormalities were detected. In year nine, they finally did IVF and were lucky enough to get four genetically tested embryos via one IVF cycle. The first did not “stick,” the second became their first child, a girl; the third also did not stick, and the fourth… is now their newborn son.

I wanted to do something nice for them, so I decided to offer to make them dinner one night. When you are in the newborn fog, and especially with two kids, I’m sure it can be extremely rough. You don’t have the time or energy to cook, so you end up relying on takeout and delivery a bit too much for sustenance. But a home cooked meal is always appreciated and probably healthier for you. So since my friend was already coming over for dinner, I gave my neighbors individual portions of what I made: vegan dal makhani, butter chickpeas, black pepper mushroom fry, pea pulao (rice), corn masala, beet raita with cashew yogurt, mixed green salad with homemade French-style vinaigrette, and vegan lemon olive oil cake. I also gave her a mug of Chinese red date ginger tea and advised her to drink it warm or hot to aid in postpartum recovery. They marveled over the two cookie-sheets worth of food I brought and said how grateful they were for this gesture. “You said you were bringing over dinner, not an entire restaurant!! HOW CAN THERE BE MORE FOOD THAN THIS?” she had exclaimed, when I came with a second tray of food. And surprisingly, our neighbor said she really enjoyed the tea and would like more, which I still have half a jug left of.

When I was younger, I always imagined myself making meals and bringing them over to friends after giving birth as a birthing gift, if you want to call it that. But then I never had any friends who gave birth who lived that close by, so it never happened. I guess this is as close as it’s going to get for me to do something like this for someone, and I’m happy it was well received.

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