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9 Things about the 4th Trimester to Keep in Mind

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Which is the hardest? Pregnancy? Labour? Or postpartum? Every mum will have a different reason for their answer but for me, hands down, it was postpartum, especially with my third child.

Postpartum. The 4th trimester. A whirlwind of emotions, pain, sadness, confusion, exhaustion and joy that can’t really be explained.

young-asian-mother-with-newborn-baby in confinement
Source: Adobe Stock

I was fully prepared for the 4th trimester. I knew what products I needed. I had a freezer full of meals. I was prepared for the lack of sleep. I had a pumping station all set up. I had done it twice before.

I thought I knew it all. I had been here before. But what I didn’t take into consideration is my newborn hadn’t. Yes, I’ve been through the ups and downs of postpartum, of recovering, but my confused newborn wasn’t sure what was going on.

She didn’t know why her tummy always hurt. She didn’t understand why she kept being put down in a bassinet.  Or what all these new sounds in this strange new environment were.

If I could go back and do it again, I would do it a lot differently. And I would remind myself of these 9 things every single day, especially after a sleepless night.

Mums, if you’re preparing for newbornhood and the beautiful 4th trimester, please keep these things in mind too – hopefully they help you when you need it the most.

1. Yes, you’re meant to be sore. 

Everything is meant to hurt. Don’t downplay it or try to brush the pain off. Take the painkillers. Sit on the donut. Rest your body. Make grunting noises if it helps and complain if you want to. Your body has gone above and beyond and there’s no need to downplay your mammoth effort.

2. Tears are normal. 

Her tears. Your tears. Just invest in a trolley load of tissues and let it flow.

3. You aren’t in this alone. 

It seems like it. Often. Especially at night and in the mornings. When your partner is at work, you’re left to pick up the pieces of yet another terrible, broken night of tears and tummy pains. You feel resentment and anger and frustration and loneliness. But you’re not alone. He’s there, if you just let him in and let him help.

4.  Sleep deprivation can be absolute torture. 

It will break you if you let it.

If you start to feel like you are losing your mind, that the lack of sleep is starting to break you, speak up. Ask for help. Call in the grandparents or a friend. Extreme sleep deprivation isn’t a battle you want to fight.

4th trimester
Source: Adobestock

5. You don’t have to be her everything.

Even if you take a break, and let someone else hold her (and even cry for a bit), it’s okay. If you step away it won’t hurt her. She won’t remember. So remove the guilt and let yourself just be.

Alone. Asleep. Hopefully even showered. Without anyone touching you.

After you’ve rested, or even just had a moment to regain your strength, you will still be her everything but without feeling like you’ve got nothing left to give.

6. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Or your newborn. 

Your newborn is new. She’s never done this before and she doesn’t really know how it all works. It takes time to discover this, to learn how to sleep, to settle her stomach, to discover how to be content in this strange new world.

fourth-trimester-tips
Source: Adobe Stock

7. Stop with the plans. 

Plans in the 4th trimester are just a waste of time and worry. Not everything will go to plan. In fact, some days, nothing will go to plan. Soon, your baby will be able to follow a plan. She will actually be really good at routine.

But not today.

8. You will find yourself again. 

And you will find your groove. It may seem like you’re a mess. That you’ve completely lost yourself by gaining a newborn. That you’re just a sloppy version of the person you once were. That your brain is mush and your body is letting you down. That you can’t even muster the energy to do simple things.

But you will come back. And when you do, you’ll be even better at multitasking than ever before!

4th trimester - mum with newborn motherhood
Source: Bigstock

9. It doesn’t matter

What’s it? It’s the little things. The dishes. The floor. The laundry. Making a snack, even. The little things that you didn’t even put a second thought into doing but now you can’t manage to do, even if you have ALL day.

While not being able to do it can be incredibly frustrating, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I look around today, four years after leaving my final 4th trimester and I see a clean house. Dishes done. Laundry folded. The floor clean (sort of). Doing these simple errands back then, instead of resting and simply soaking her in, didn’t matter.

What mattered was asleep, in my arms.

I wish I had known that back then.

So, to the mums entering the 4th trimester, read this again. And remember it.

Take it easy, leave the laundry, heal your body, rest your mind and rediscover yourself in this new role of motherhood. This is what the fourth trimester is all about.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Elizabeth

    i sincerley hope this is acknowledged at charmain clift cottages now because it they definitley ignored all of this science and truth when i and bubs lived there in 2012 xoxo well done on another great article

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