How To Survive The Fourth Trimester
The Fourth Trimester is a phrase that I came across quite recently. As soon as I discovered what it meant I fell in love with its meaning straight away. The reason why? Because it finally gave understanding to what the next 3 months of my life were going to be like.
The Fourth Trimester, rightfully coined is essentially the 3 months after a woman has given birth. The reason for it being referred to as another Trimester instead of it being simply “after birth” is because in those next few months there are a lot of changes which will be taking place and it will take some adjusting to get used to it.
In these 3 months the mother’s body goes through some very distinct changes, life is turned upside down and you have a new baby who will need you at it’s every beck and call. It will certainly take a period of adjustment.
So you don’t feel completely overwhelmed like I did when I had my first child here are some great pieces of advice for you to survive the Fourth Trimester phase.
A LITTLE ABOUT MEHi, I’m Dela the face behind Natural Ghana Girl. I’m originally from the UK but now live in Ghana with my husband and 4 children. I’m on a journey to discover more about being a mummy to little people whilst retaining a life that makes me Dela. Lets learn together.
Sleep will very quickly become a thing of the past with baby needing to feed every couple of hours. You will have to learn to adapt to functioning on minimal hours of sleep each day.
Dont worry about it! Sleep when you can even if it means sleeping at 12.00 in the afternoon. There is no good time to go to bed, take what you can get because it will do wonders for your psyche when you don’t stress about it. The more sleep you can get the better able you will be to look after your baby.
Don’t expect to fit back into your skinny jeans straight away. When I gave birth to my first child I packed my pre-pregnancy jeans and a maternity pair jeans in my hospital bag. Neither fit me after having given birth, looking back now I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. I’ve heard of the ‘snap back’ when everything goes right back to how it was before you got pregnant but my expectations were ridiculous to say the least.
After giving birth I was left with this awkwardly shaped empty sack in front of me which used to be called my stomach (ha!). There was definitely no snap back for me at least not that quickly anyway.
Give your body time to readjust. Remember it took your body a whole 9 months to stretch and accommodate your baby so it’s only fair that you give it some time to spring back also. Take the time to embrace some of your partners clothes (let’s face it they probably look better on you anyway). Or try on some of the clothes you wore in the early stages of your pregnancy.
Whichever option you go for just remember that you have just given birth and this is not the time to beat yourself up about what you think your body should or should not look like. Take your time and enjoy this space.
If you didn’t get a chance to prepare some frozen meals before baby came along this would be a really great time to enlist the help of some friends. Usually when you give birth people are always offering to help so take them up on it. Get them to make you a few dishes that you can easily freeze for later on in the week when you won’t have time to cook.
I like to break meals down into small Tupperware containers according to portion size. This makes things so much easier as I just have to pull out one container at a time to have a meal rather than defrost a whole container of food.
This is certainly not the time to be polite by declining help from friends. If makes you feel awkward you can always promise to repay the favour in return at a later date. This is all part of the fourth trimester adjustment period.
Never be afraid to say no to visitors. Your body has just gone through a major upheaval and you need time to recover from that. Understandably people will want to see your new baby but they do have to respect the fact that you need a little time to feel human again.
The fourth trimester is never going to be an easy breeze so you have to make things work to your own advantage. If you are expecting visitors get them to help with little things around the house such as the washing up that you’ve been trying to do for the last few hours or the vacuuming. Never feel bad for asking. In all honesty people like to feel helpful and will gladly oblige.
If you can’t make it into the shower before midday, it’s fine. You just had a baby and you are stilling trying to find your feet. Shower at anytime of the day, it really doesn’t matter. You most definitely have a free pass in this area.
Get yourself some treats, for me it always has been and always will be chocolate! Chocolate gives me a sense of normality is the supposed chaos (well that’s what it feels like to me at the time). Get something that will make you feel happy and normal. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll appreciate it later on.
If getting someone in to do your cleaning for a couple of hours a week will help you get some much-needed sleep, do it! You won’t get extra brownie points for having done everything yourself so rope in some help where you can. You deserve it, you just gave birth to a human being!
The real lesson for today is stop stressing about things. Over time things will fall into place for you before you know it. Baby will be in a routine, you’ll be able to stop to have that coffee with friends and those skinny jeans will be back at the front of your wardrobe again. Every mother goes through this stage, we understand.
Let me know if you have any other tips for surviving the fourth trimester, I would love to hear them. Comment below.