The fourth trimester is a kitschy saying for a baby’s first 3 months after birth.
Whether or not you choose to focus on the baby’s first 3 months or the mother’s first 3 months, the fourth trimester is very much an adjustment period.
For Baby: Life outside of womb is loud and bright. Yes, babies cry when they are hungry, wet, and/or tired. But how do you think you would feel if you were no longer in the solitude of your mother’s womb?
For Mom: Her body is still recovering from the trauma of birth. Whether she went through a natural birth or c-section, the swelling, aches, and involuntarily contractions are very much real.
I recall crying along with my daughter (my firstborn).
I was so delirious from sleep deprivation and our hourly breastfeeding sessions that her inexplicable cries only caused me grief.
“How could the child I fought so hard to birth cause me to feel this crazy cocktail of emotions?” I thought.
That’s when I realized that the third trimester was not the final trimester.
If it takes an average person 21 days to develop a new habit, it makes total sense why it takes 3 more months to adapt to being a newborn and a parent.
Furthermore, if you already have children in the home, the fourth trimester is an adjustment period for the entire family.
As our family grew, I learned ways to thrive during this baby hazing phase.
For my Moms-to-be and many time Mamas, here are some tips from me to you:
Schedule Your Visitors
The biggest mistake my husband and I made as first-time parents was allowing an endless flow of visitors from the day our first daughter was born.
No joke. I probably saw 100 people in the first 48 hours. ?
Although, we loved that everyone wanted to love on us, we made it a point to space out our visitors the following two births.
Think about it! If all your visitors come over the first few days after you’ve given birth, how many people can actually come back to help you transition in the following weeks?
Our new preference is to have our immediate family visit the first couple of days. That’s a total of 10 people max.
Once Mommy and Baby are settled at home, we allow a visitor or two a day to come over—with the intent to help. The days of “kicking-it” are practically over. ??♀️
The help that’s the most appreciated could be as simple as cleaning the dishes or holding the baby while Mommy takes a shower.
Anything else (gifts, money, etc) is welcome but help (cleaning, cooking, etc) is much preferred.
Ask for Help
Over the years I have learned that my love language is acts of service. Therefore, when my husband or a friend does something for me—especially without asking—I equate it as love because it takes a task off of my endless to-do list.
With that being said, my family and friends receive love differently as well.
Some people prefer for you to tell them what you need done while others prefer to offer what they “think” you need.
When I ask for help, I like to give my helper a task that I need done off of my to-do list. For me, normally the task is cooking, cleaning, or holding the baby so I can take a nap.
However, if your visitor/helper prefer for offer a gift or money instead, accept it. After all, help is better than no help.
The key as a new parent is for you to focus on your health and your baby’s well being during the fourth trimester.
Whether you’re a first time parent or parent of many, help is almost always appreciated.
This Too Shall Pass
Now that I am a #MommyOf3 children under the age of 5, three months is no time at all to me. I feel like I blink and three months flies by like nothing.
I find myself trying to hold on to every single milestone. Sometimes, I have to fight back tears as I watch my oldest progress academically while my youngest crawls around the house.
When other parents used to tell me and my husband how quickly time passed, it was easy to disregard their comments.
However, almost five years into parenthood, I can attest to it all being true.
Every single time I felt like I couldn’t make it through the fourth trimester but kept pushing, I proved to myself that it was only hard for a little while.
Parenthood teaches you love, patience, and empathy all wrapped in sleepless nights, worry, and doubt.
And because God’s Grace is sufficient, it reminds us all that this too shall pass.
Before you know it, you’ll blink and your children will be out of the nest.
Although the baby hazing phase is beyond difficult, it will happen just as fast as all the other baby milestones.
Therefore, pray for it all! It really is all worth it in the end. ?