The Becoming Podcast – Season 5; Episode 6: Heng Ou and Marisa Belger on the essential art of nourishing the new mother

Aug 21, 2023

Hello beautiful ones!  I am so excited to share this month’s interview with Heng Ou and Marisa Belger with you.

They are the authors of The First Forty Days:  The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, which was a groundbreaking book for so many new mothers and postpartum professionals.  To say I was delighted to be able to connect with these two amazing women is the understatement of the year!  Especially as we approach the launch of the 2023 Season of MotherSHIFT and The Village, this conversation is so rich and filled with wisdom for mamas and their support people alike.


First, let me tell you a little bit about Marisa and Heng:

Marisa Belger helps women click into the wisdom of their inner knowing so they can make choices that support their evolution. She is a certified life coach and women’s group facilitator in addition to being the co-author with Heng Ou and Amely Greeven of The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, Awakening Fertility:  The Essential Art of Preparing for Pregnancy and Nine Golden Months: The Essential Art of Nurturing the Mother-to-Be.

Heng Ou, in addition to co-authoring the books mentioned above, is also the founder of MotherBees, a concept conceived after the birth of her third child. During her recovery, she practiced ‘zuo yuezi’, a traditional Chinese approach to postpartum care that was passed down to her by a beloved aunt.  Heng was so profoundly moved by the restorative power of this practice that she felt a calling to make this ritual more broadly accessible. Motivated by her belief that nourishment extends far beyond the foods we eat, Heng’s concept of care is designed to nourish the soul, wellbeing, and heart.  Heng is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Here’s some of what Heng, Marisa and I talk about in this episode:

> What is true now, for both Heng and Marisa, seven years after their bestselling book The First Forty Days was published.  We talk about what has changed and how, in some ways, we’re only just beginning.

>  What happens when we take the traditions of the first forty days and insert them into a capitalist, patriarchal, white supremacist culture – and how having the “perfect postpartum” is another myth that many mothers can become trapped in.

> How we try to tame the wildness and unpredictability of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, and how to sit in the unknowns we face during these times.

>  The intuition that new motherhood gives us access to, how “maternal instinct” has been weaponized against mothers, and how listening to your intuition doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always get it right.

>  What happens to mothers’ sense of identity and self-worth when they find themselves dramatically slowing down in the first forty days.

> How mothers’ relationship with food and their bodies shifts and changes over the course of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and matrescence.


I loved this interview so much, and Heng and Marisa have an incredible wealth of wisdom to share.  I hope you enjoy tuning in!


Listen to the episode on iTunes



Show notes


Heng’s MotherBees Website

Marisa’s Website

Heng’s Instagram

Marisa’s Instagram

Living the First Forty Days and Beyond Experience

Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews.  Thank you so much!