The Fourth Trimester
In case you haven’t heard, pregnancy actually lasts for four trimesters. The so-called fourth is the recovery period after pregnancy, when you are returning to pre-pregnancy conditions and you’re getting used to life with a newborn. It can be challenging; while you’re trying to adjust to the new life you’ve created, your body is seemingly going haywire, with all sorts of new aches and pains in places that you hadn’t given much thought to in the past. And let’s not discuss the bleeding.
Most importantly, you’re trying to adjust to your new identity as a mother. While some women have “maternal instincts” seemingly from birth, others of us aren’t so lucky. I didn’t truly feel like a mom until several days after my daughter was born. Instead, I had some trouble adjusting to motherhood and the around-the-clock care that an infant requires.
The adjustment can be difficult, but there are things you can do to make it easier:
- Lower your expectations. Don’t expect things to go as planned; many times, they will not. By lowering (or even, in some cases, eliminating) expectations you’ll have a more realistic view of things.
- Rest. Don’t let yourself get too run down. Take a few minutes for yourself when you can, and relax, take a shower, call a friend – anything you need to recharge.
- Ask for help. Don’t try to be Super Parent – let others help you when possible, whether it’s help with the baby or for you. Getting someone else to do the laundry or give the baby a bottle can free up a few minutes for you to do something else.
Remember, the fourth trimester can be rough – not only are your hormones readjusting, but you’re also adjusting to life with a new baby. But with a little help you can make the time period easier.