Dear (new) Mumma,
Becoming a mother for the first time is overwhelming. The first three months after your precious baby is born is like being caught in an emotional whirlwind.
This period is known as the fourth trimester.
Filled with uncertainty, chaos, fear and lots of mess.
What is the fourth trimester?
The fourth trimester is the time when your baby is born until they are 3 months old. It signifies a period of time where your newborn is going through immense development changes as they adjust to their new surroundings and their new world.
As new parents, it’s important to be aware of the fourth-trimester and the changes that we are going through in our new roles.
We should see this as a time to be honored, and respected. A time where we are learning about our baby, our new selves. It should be a time where we spend adjusting and being gentle with ourselves and our newborns.
There will be new Mumma guilt, and lots of it – ranging from the concern over the number of nappies consumed, to the amount of daily sugar you eat ( to keep the energy supply up no less).
There will be worry and anxiety. Your mind will be filled with endless thoughts such as; did I feed her enough, is she too hot or too cold. Am I doing this right? Do they think I’m doing it right?
There will be tears and lots of them. Mostly from your cute bundle of joy, but you will also experience moments where it all becomes.too.much.
Sometimes due to sheer exhaustion, but also due to frustration- why is my baby still crying ???! How can I fit my baby’s head through this top and not cause her to have yet another meltdown?
There will be advice. All of which will be well-meaning, but some of it you may find annoying.
Remember, despite it being a new role – we as mothers do have intuition. It’s far more powerful to listen to what feels right for you and your baby. Your bond is unique… trust yourself and know you are doing the best you can.
There will be judgments. Perhaps it’s on the topic of vaccinating or not vaccinating your newborn, or the well-meaning (but old fashioned ) advice from the elders who think that you are holding your baby too much or that you should let your baby cry it out.
You may feel resentment. When your partner goes to the gym for the fourth time in the week because he needs the energy. Or resentment because his life has changed but not in the way you imagined.
You may experience sadness. Sadness that you feel that the old way of doing things and your independence has gone. It’s ok to feel this, this too shall pass as you adjust.
There will be feelings of insecurity. Perhaps it comes upon your own reflection. You may be feeling that the pregnancy weight hasn’t fallen off quick enough, or you may feel lost within yourself.
Self – Love
Be kind to yourself. You have created life.
Reflect on how incredible that is.
See this time as a transition and know that you will feel like a new version of your old self in time – for extra kilograms or permanent stretch marks – learn to love yourself deeper.
It may be hard to find time for yourself. But take it when and where you can. The advice of sleeping when your baby sleeps is so important. Looking back on the fourth trimester, I wish I had listened more to that advice and respected my body and mind.
I was tired but still wanted to do it all, the cooking, cleaning, washing and socializing – when I should have been respecting my body and mind and taken some rest when my daughter was sound asleep.
The time when I should have been resting, I was busy cleaning, washing or cooking. It’s better to get a new perspective and acknowledge that the household will not fall apart if the house isn’t perfectly spotless. Adjust your expectations, things are now different and this is an adjustment phase.
Pre-baby, I was constantly running around the city, seeing people, doing things.
Post-baby during the fourth trimester, I was happy with doing one thing per day. I deemed the day a success if my daughter and I made it to a baby playgroup. The old days of racing around like a lunatic were gone.
This too shall pass
I remember, one night when my daughter was 5 weeks old, I was sleep deprived and feeling very upset. I found myself searching the internet for any glimmer of hope that it would get easier.
11 months in, and I can look back and say yes it will get easier. Of course, there are new challenges at every stage of a child’s development. But the fourth trimester is a particularly intense time due to the newness of it all, and all the changes that come with a newborn.
I want you to know that there will be better days waiting for you.
One thing I will promise is that when the whirlwind settles, you will walk out 12 weeks later (perhaps with a disheveled expression ) feeling more confident.
It may appear when you see your baby smile for the first time, or perhaps when you feel more comfortable with your new routine with your baby.
You and your newborn are going through a huge transition – they are out in the big wide world, learning, and adjusting.
Your baby isn’t trying to be calculating, your baby is crying because they have needs. Therefore, you really can’t love or hold a baby too much during this time ( don’t be pressured into thinking otherwise).
My hope is that we talk more about the transition period that is the fourth trimester, and the huge impact it has on our new family unit.
If things become too intense, reach out and get some professional help – speak to your post-partum team, or doctor for more support.
The old saying is that it takes a village to raise a child is very true.
Becoming a mother for the first time can feel so intense, it’s important to get support from your partner, family, and friends.
As a first time mum, and an expat in the Netherlands the majority of my blogs are dedicated to pregnancy and motherhood. I’m on a mission to live a healthier, greener and sustainable lifestyle – Amsterdam is a fantastic place to do this!
This is what the essence of Healthy Living Amsterdam is about – a journey of discovery for our well-being of the mind, body, and soul. On this site, you will find my favorite places in Amsterdam for healthy living.