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A Four Day Old On Christmas

Rebecca with her newborn in a restaurantRebecca H. McCormick, Fairfax City, Virginia

I hadn’t expected that my first time leaving the house with my new baby would be for all-you-can-eat Balkans cuisine on Christmas Eve, but there we were.

From the time I first calculated my due date in April 2019, I had tried my best to scale back the holidays. I was due on Christmas Day, and I needed to somehow manage a five year old with big holiday expectations, my own tendency to take on too much, and the likely reality that I would have a brand new baby in my arms between mid-December and New Year’s Day.

I tried to read up and listen to some good advice including a New Beginnings blog post that suggested each family member write out a few things they really wanted out of the holiday season. We had sat down as a family, and luckily, almost all the items were easily compatible with a newborn or could be done early in the month well before my due date.

But there was a sticky wicket. My son had been talking all year about doing the same Christmas Eve dinner as we had in 2018 at a nearby restaurant. In November, I made the reservations and crossed my fingers that it would all work out.

So midnight of December 21st brought the start of contractions, and I had a baby in my arms by 3 a.m. By 5:30 a.m., baby and I were tucked in bed, happily nursing as the birth helpers quietly paraded out after giving kind but firm instructions to stay in bed for the next week.

I guess that I’ve never been much of a rule follower. I did stay in bed almost exclusively that week, but on Christmas Eve, I made an exception. With the help of my parents who were visiting from out of town, we loaded up a car and made the short drive to the restaurant. Baby fell quietly asleep on the ride over, slept through the entire meal nestled in a sling, and only began stirring to nurse as dessert was being contemplated. I basked in the beautiful, powerful afterbirth hormone tonic, surrounded by family and good food.

I was so happy that by defining expectations of each person we could feel successful in doing just enough rather than too much. It will always be a Christmas to remember.

List with Christmas wishes of her family

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Editor’s Note: We would love to hear how your family celebrates the holidays. While today’s blog post is about one family’s Christmas tradition, we want to acknowledge the diversity of our readers and encourage you to share how *your* family marks special occasions and holidays throughout the year. If you would like to contribute, please send your submission to Amy at [email protected].”


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