The fourth trimester diaries…

I have noticed that a lot of people are talking about birth experiences lately on Facebook- especially those less than ideal ones. It seems crazy that we place so much emphasis on this one event. THE BIG BIRTH. Yes, it is a BIG event, perhaps one of the biggest you will go through as a mom. But we put so much emphasis on this one event that we loose focus on what will come after.  ( I am not trying to minimize the birthing experience, positive or negative – I know that how the birth happens can have long-term effects on both baby and mother.)

I don’t regret my birthing experiences. They are what they are. There is so many ways things could have been different.  But I am a firm believer in that things happened in a certain way so it could open my eyes to another world and other possibilities.

I wish I knew about the “fourth trimester” Khloe 5 years ago. So what is it? Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. You may find the term “trimester” odd, since your baby is already born.

But what got to me after she was born was the fact that  I was just emotionally so underprepared. I had this Pinterest ideas in my head on how I would care lovingly for my baby and do so many things that I have put off for months. Mmm… Nothing of that really happened. I was depressed, missed work and went back after 8 weeks. Weird. I know. Do I regret it? No.

What I do regret though as a first time mom I spend so much time and effort on being the perfect mom. Regretting my birth and the way it happened. Trying to live up to my own unreasonable ideas and expectations. I am really sorry for all the time I spent worrying and Googling nonsense. I spent so much time doing washing and cleaning and packing and re-packing her closet. Taking her for weekly weigh ins. Getting frustrated that she is not sleeping enough so I can catch up on my emails/ pack and pack/ re-arrange things.

But with Zoe it was so different. I was a lot smarter this time- appointed a post partum doula to help me. To help me settle in and adjust. I had my placenta encapsulated. I was really looking after myself this time and looking after my new baby. I spent so much time just me and her curled up in bed sleeping. I spent my afternoons putting her in a wrap and walking up the street to the park. Took the time to just let her settle in quietly.  I enjoyed nursing-time cuddles when I come home from work and I got better at accepting that I don’t need a SUPER clean house.

I don’t think my situation is ideal currently as I tend to work late a lot. BUT I take time after work to listen to them. To let them tell me stories while they are in the bath and I sit on the floor watching them. I cover their little bodies in lotion and they get dressed. We read Dr Seuss and the Children’s Bible every night and laugh about “Green Eggs and Ham” We eat supper together and I put them to sleep. And that is my piece of heaven every day.

But if there is one thing I want to say to new mommies: Please take your time to settle in. You just created another life. Don’t try too hard. Be gentle on yourself.  You may have just had surgery, or other medical complications related to the birth. Your hormones are all out of whack. There is no need to conquer anything right, other than just learning how to be a parent and getting to know this new person. For the mommies that returns to work- there is no need to be brave, it is harder on you than on them. It can be hell to go back- but give yourself time to settle in.

Eventually we all settle in and it makes sense… Just enjoy the little moments.


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