I thought since I am writing about motherhood for Natbee’s the best place to start would be the beginning, the fourth trimester. The early days of dealing with a newborn, the sleep deprivation, anxiety over every cough and whimper not to mention getting used to the fact that you are now officially a mother.
The first twelve weeks of a baby’s life are often referred to as the fourth trimester and is recognized as one of the most important phases of their early years. Just as your baby is adjusting to life out in the world, you are also adjusting to life as a parent. I still remember arriving home with our daughter and thinking ‘what do we do?’ We put the kettle on and went from there.
This is the time to rest, recover and regroup. Confinement for new mothers is still a practice in some cultures to this day for a reason. Your body and mind have gone through one of the biggest changes possible so of course you need time to recover, now is not when you should be on a diet so you can ‘snap back into shape’ – the media pressures on new mums are another post entirely!
So the key to the fourth trimester is twofold: Look after yourself and give yourself grace. Looking after yourself is as equally important as caring for the baby- if you aren’t caring for yourself how can you be in a place to care for them?
It sounds so simple to look after yourself but I would think how can I do that? How is that even possible when she needs to be feed, burped, nappy changed, put down for a sleep, nappy changed, change her clothes, feed, did I mention change her nappy?! Where is the time for me to do something for myself? During these initial weeks it will gradually become that bit easier to do something for you. Whether that’s having a hot cup of coffee by yourself, a face mask or getting some exercise, find small ways to incorporate something you love into your day.
One of the best things you can do is give yourself grace. Grace that the house isn’t perfect, that you ordered a take away again, that your body looks and feels like a marshmallow and that you want to cry over the tiniest of things. Your hormones are trying to stabilize after nine months of pregnancy so give yourself time. When it seems like everybody else babies are perfect sleepers and the mums look like they have it all together- give yourself grace.
You will have days where everything flows and you feel like you’ve nailed this parent thing and the next minute all hell breaks loose and you wonder how on earth you will manage. Give yourself grace.
If you are in this season or about to be a mum remember this: Rest, recover, regroup. This to shall pass. Sooner or later you’ll come out the other side and be amazed at what you have coped with and things that kept you up will become second nature. You’re doing a great job!
Do you have any tips for the fourth trimester? What would you like to hear next about motherhood?