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Meet the Mama: Elysse Smiley from Campbell, California

Meet Elysse Smiley

A fifth generation Californian in the San Francisco Bay Area, Elysse is a product designer and a mother of two -- Violet who is 8 years old and Cora who is 16 months. Elysse is Violet's bonus mother (or step mom), while Cora is her first biological child. In our Meet The Mamas Series, Elysse shares her story on how asking for help supported her postpartum journey greatly.


Mother and Toddler
Mama Elysse and 16 months old Cora


How long was your recovery after giving birth? Did you run into any challenges? What helped your recovery the most?

Physically I was lucky and I recovered really quickly since I had a vaginally birth with no complications. I would say I felt better within a couple of weeks.

Emotional recovery was a different story. I didn’t realize until much later that I suffered from postpartum anxiety and I had a hard time adjusting to becoming a mother. Things got a lot better for me when Cora was about 6 months old and I started working with a naturopath to make sure I wasn’t depleted of any nutrients. I also worked with a therapist to get past some of my anxiety related fears.

What are some products or support you wish you had when you got home that first week after giving birth?

I was lucky that I had support from friends and family but I do wish I had thought more about the nutrition aspect of being newly postpartum. My daughter was born in the summer so I assumed I would want cold food but my body craved warm, simple and nourishing foods like stews and soups. It would have been great if I had prepared some of those types of foods ahead of time. It was harder than I thought taking time to prepare food for me and my husband.

What was really helpful in making your life easier as a new mom?

Asking and getting help from family, friends or professionals. I was super fortunate to have my family watch the baby for a couple of hours a week and that was a life saver. I was able to shower, sleep or just relax knowing my baby was taken care of. After the initial period of my family helping I even hired help to watch the baby for a couple hours a week while I was at home. It’s not something that everyone has the luxury to have but i’ve always been super grateful that I had that support so I could have time for myself and heal postpartum.

What are some of your favorite self care rituals to do postpartum

My favorite thing is taking epsom salt baths. I started taking baths only a couple days postpartum and they really helped me relax. 

I would love to hear your thoughts/experiences with getting help from family or friends. Did you have help, and what was it like? What would you have done differently in terms of getting help from family or friends?

I did have help mostly from family and it was extremely helpful. They brought over food and watched Cora for me for a couple of hours so I could try and rest. I wouldn’t of done anything differently but I will say I actively made sure I didn’t have a ton of family and friends just visiting the baby. When I had friends or family over they were there specifically to help. I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed and I made it clear what things would be helpful to me and Cora.

Did you experience any baby blues or postpartum anxiety or depression? Do you have any advice for new mothers struggling with postpartum anxiety or depression?

I didn’t realize it at the time but I definitely experienced postpartum anxiety. I had always heard about postpartum depression (which I luckily didn’t experience) but nothing about anxiety so I honestly didn’t realize that my emotions were more extreme than they needed to be.

My advice is to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling postpartum. I think if I had a more honest conversation with her before my check up appointment she might have been able to see more clearly what was going on and I could have addressed the anxiety earlier.

What's the worst advice you've gotten for postpartum & early motherhood?

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.” It’s not bad advice per se, but to me it’s really not that simple. I always struggled with sleeping when she slept and that advice stressed me out. It was a vicious cycle. I finally accepted that sometimes it’s ok to not sleep and maybe do something else, like eat, shower or just relax.

What's the best advice you've gotten for postpartum & early motherhood?

Trust your instincts. It sounds so simple but it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all of the information that is out there. You are their mom for a reason. You’ll figure out what’s best for you, your baby and your family.

Any closing advice for someone who's just about to be a new mom?

I’m sure people have heard this saying a lot but it really does go by so fast. A lot of time people say this to make sure you try and enjoy all the moments with your baby. While I think this is good advice, I really think about this when I’m going through a rough time in my motherhood journey.

It’s easier to handle the challenges when you know things are constantly changing and soon those challenges might not be a problem anymore.

It’s a nice reminder that even the tough times will go by quickly.




Interested in being featured in our Meet the Mamas Series? Contact us at


Have more questions about Ritual Meals? View our frequently asked questions below.

  • What is Ritual Meals?

    Ritual Meals is a postpartum meal delivery service. Our signature postpartum meal delivery product is The Postpartum Program, which includes meals, snacks, and teas shipped weekly to your doorstep. Customers receive orders with all the fresh meals, snacks, and teas you need to enjoy nourishing postpartum food prepared by our chefs. We save you the time and energy of going to the grocery store, finding new recipes, meal planning, and portioning.

    Our talented chefs work with our Wellness Team to create new menus each week for you, based on what’s seasonally available from our community of local farms and ranches. We use the highest quality ingredients which are organic or pesticide free produce and grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.

  • What are the benefits of postpartum food and Ritual Meals?

    We understand that, as a new mom, you've got one of the hardest jobs in the world—so we created The Postpartum Program to help you heal and feel your best after giving birth. Our postpartum meals are nutritionally designed to support your physical recovery, energy levels, hormonal balance, milk supply and quality, and mood. At Ritual Meals, we are serious about supporting your postpartum nourishment and postpartum wellness journey. Everything we cook is made with the highest quality, whole food ingredients, good for you and your baby, whether or not you are breastfeeding.

    Our postpartum nutrition philosophy is focused on food as medicine.

    Our postpartum meals include both plated food and soups and stews which are more easily digestible and improve absorption of essential minerals and vitamins that the body needs to repair, restore, and fortify after birth or surgery. Grass-fed and pasture-raised animal stock are the base of all of our soups and stews, supplying essential nutrients, lean protein, and collagen to boost energy, support and heal connective tissues, and support healthy metabolism.

    If you are breastfeeding, our postpartum meals can provide measurable benefits for your milk supply and quality. Our postpartum meals often include galactagogues (ingredients which support milk supply and quality), including flax seeds, oats, tahini, brewer’s yeast, and more. We also avoid ingredients that could be associated with colic or sensitivities for breastfed babies, including cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and hot peppers.

    * This program is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with your doctor prior to starting this program if you have a medical condition or are taking any prescription medication or nutritional supplements.

  • How much does Ritual Meals Cost?

    The Postpartum Program at Ritual Meals is priced starting at $176 per week. Meal frequency per week can be customized, which changes the cost of the program. As well, if you opted into our Subscription option, you can save up to 10% each week and receive free delivery with promo code FREESHIPPING.  Customize your postpartum plan to view prices.

  • What kinds of ingredients does Ritual Meals use?

    All meals are made to order and made from scratch with the highest quality ingredients. We prioritize local and organic produce and use only meat sourced from local farms that sustainably and humanely raise their animals. Our animals are always grass-fed or pasture-raised. Our produce is plant rich, organic or pesticide-free, low gluten, no refined sugars, and non-GMO.

    Organic or pesticide-free, whole, unprocessed foods are both more nutritive and more flavorful. We thoughtfully pair ingredients based on complementary benefits. For example, these pairings—lentils and red bell pepper, sesame and salmon, pasture-raised eggs and leafy greens, and chicken and quinoa—allow you to absorb more nutrients and experience their healing benefits.

  • What if I have allergy or dietary needs?

    Due to the small size of our culinary team, we are currently unable to offer substitutions in our menus, which are set weekly. To receive weekly email notifications about our upcoming menus which lists our full ingredients, please subscribe to our newsletter below.

    Please note: our Postpartum Program is not intended for severe allergies. If you have any questions about how we can support your dietary needs, please reach out to our Wellness Team at

  • How do you keep food fresh in transit? What if I am not home?

    We pack the postpartum meals fresh with care using 100% recyclable, insulated boxes and drain safe gel packs designed to keep your food refrigerated on the way to your doorstep.

    We understand that when it comes to birth, timing may not always happen according to plan. We highly recommend recruiting the help of a friend, neighbor, or family member so that if you aren’t able to get to your food when it arrives at your doorstep, they can help you store it in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy them.

    The delivery driver should leave the package for you at your door with no signature required. We package our postpartum meals in 100% recyclable insulated liners with drain-safe gel packs, so that your food stays refrigerated in transit. If you have any concerns with the temperature or condition of your meals once delivered, please contact our Wellness Team at

  • Where does Ritual Meals deliver?

    We ship across the continental US to your doorstep! If you have any additional questions, you can contact our Wellness Team at

  • How do I get started with Ritual Meals?

    You can get started by selecting your program options on the Postpartum Program page

    If you would like any help choosing a program that works best for you, please email our Wellness Team at and we’d be happy to help!

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Postpartum Meal Delivery
Women-owned Business

Founded and created by two women of color, our goal is to create more opportunities to other women.

Locally Sourced
Locally Sourced

We source as locally as possible from our community of local farms and ranches.

Whole Foods
Whole Foods

We commit to using organic or pesticide-free, 100% whole food ingredients in all our products.

Sustainably Made
Sustainably Made

We commit to environmental responsibilty through our low waste practices both inside and outside of the kitchen.

Gives Back
Gives Back

We donate 2% of our sales to organizations that support and empower women or work to reduce food insecurity.