Did You Know About The Fourth Trimester?

Once you pop out that baby you enter the fourth trimester. What you didn’t know you have to go through another trimester??? Yep folks I discussed all about surviving the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy but let me share the reality of the postpartum stage or what I like to call the fourth trimester. This trimester is a transition period where you’re being physically, mentally and emotionally tested as you figure out your new normal.

Physically recovering from birth is straight up not pretty. Let’s start with the real Victoria’s secret….the granny panty or the fabulous disposable mesh underwear. I highly recommend prior to birth to pick up some non-thong undergarments because there is NO way a string panty will support the humongous pad (or what I like to call the surfboard) that you need while you bleed. OR you can just take a stash of the uber sexy one-size fits all mesh underwear the hospital provides (Fact: I wore these for the first week at home- they’re free, comfy and I could just trash ‘em when blood got on it!). Point is between the granny panty or mesh thingies and the mammoth ‘surfboard’…sexy is the last thing you feel.

4thtribirth

While you’re naked let’s talk about the Jello effect. One of the weirdest feelings after you give birth is touching your stomach. For 9 months your baby grew and stretched your belly and after birth your belly feels like jiggly Jello…another sight that makes you feel like Angelina Jolie. Do yourself a favor and do NOT attempt to put on any of your old clothes the first month after birth. There are some women out there that miraculously shrink back to their pre-baby bodies in an impressive time span…I’m not one of those women. Matter of fact I never fully got my body back from giving birth from Lily. I might have hit the pre-baby number, but my body just never looked the same. So for the majority of women just don’t try to shimmy into those pre-baby jeans or you will just feel super depressed. Elastic pants became my best friend along with maxi dresses after both babies were born.

The crazy hormones have done a number on my skin making me feel like I’m going through puberty all over. All that awesome pregnancy hair starts to fall out…literally in big wads when I’m showering. And stretch marks…ugh it looks like a baby bear grabbed my hips and slid down a few inches (From the major lbs. I gained with Lily).

At night I wake up in pools of sweat or a damp bra from my leaky boobs. Can we talk about the rocks inside my boobs?? I mean that’s what it feels like when your tatas are engorged with milk. With Lily my boobs engorged so much that I couldn’t even lay on my side without waking up in major discomfort. With Chloe I get engorged but not as bad since my body knows how much to produce. After the engorgement comes that major deflation when the baby drains you, leaving my boobs looking like the ones on the women in the Amazon featured on National Geographic…I’m talking my nips now point to the floor people. Don’t get me started on the myth that breastfeeding helps you loose weight because that fable never became a reality for me with either baby. Most days I feel like a starving Zombie.

With Lily I sat on a doughnut cushion to help alleviate the pain from the tears in both holes down there.  With Chloe I had a HUGE issue with my episiotomy healing properly and had to be re-stitched twice (not common but can happen).

4thtricrown

So that was some of the physical aspects of the fourth trimester. The hardest part, for me, is all the mental and emotional hurdles. You are no longer just a woman, wife or girlfriend…you are a mom. You are now responsible for the care of another human being that will depend on you physically, emotionally and financially.

During the fourth trimester you learn how to live your new normal. Before baby you could just pick up and go wherever to do whatever for how ever long you wanted. Just leaving the house to run a mundane errand like groceries can take forever…checking your diaper bag to make sure you have everything, placing baby in the car seat and then taking baby out of car seat when the diaper explodes, then changing baby and washing out car seat. You have to time your errands around feedings and naps. Eventually you get the hang of it and it becomes second nature.

BUT when you add another kid to the mix it is absolute chaos. I broke down in tears the first time I had to leave the house to take lily to school. Lily was having a tantrum while I started putting on her shoes. She wouldn’t help carry out her backpack, so I had to make two trips for that and the diaper bag while I buckled her in. While I was placing Lily in her car seat I heard the baby start to cry and she cried the entire time I placed her in the car seat and drove to and from Lily’s school.

Every mom is different, but most women experience some baby blues with all the hormones. Anything can make you sad and make you start to cry; even packing your kids in a car will frustrate you to the point of tears. Add in sleep deprivation and a simple tv commercial can make you reach for a tissue.

I broke down sobbing the first weekend home with Lily because I couldn’t get her to stop crying. As a first time mom trying to figure out what exactly my baby needed to stop crying was frustrating and made me think I didn’t have it in me to rock this mom thing. With Chloe I have cried for totally different reasons. I’ve cried because I’m tired and I hate my Jello tummy…but most of the tears are because this might be my last baby. Sometimes when I’m rocking Chloe to sleep I will tear up because I think this is the last baby I get to rock until my babies have babies.

4thtri

This fourth trimester is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. BUT this little moment in time will forever be carved in your memory not because of the sleepless nights, Jello belly or emotional meltdowns over breastfeeding woes. No, this brief time in your life will reflect some of your most precious memories of your life. The fourth trimester holds that moment you became a parent. You might have been in pain and doped up, but you will always remember those first few moments you saw your baby or held them in your arms for the first time.

The rocks in your boobs might hurt and your eyes maybe dry and bloodshot, but you will always remember how tiny your baby’s hand was when it secured to your pinky while you fed them.

Yes this period can be testing and you will probably struggle as a first time parent on how to do everything. You will wrestle with parental guilt over the tiniest issues. BUT you will walk away not only as a stronger parent but a stronger person in general. Being a parent is THE hardest job. In this trimester you will discover that you can DO so much more than what you thought you were capable of.

You physically grew a human in your body and gave birth, a feat that I believe the strongest man could not handle (my personal belief!). Somehow your sleep deprived and weepy self can sill get through each day and night. So stand up and shout “GO ME” or give yourself a round of golf claps so you don’t wake up that baby…and be proud of everything you will overcome this trimester.

In this trimester your heart grows ten fold for this little child and the unconditional love you get back will make you almost forget all the crazy pregnancy and horrible birth stories leading you to want to do it all again!

{newborn photos cred: Niki Schmidt Photography}

 
4 Comments
View Comments
  1. Katie commented:
    July 10, 2014 Reply

    I am weeks away from being a new mommy and I love this. It is real and raw but so encouraging. Thank you for writing this 🙂

    • Amy Romano commented:
      July 14, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Katie!! I’m glad you found this encouraging! Good luck in the coming weeks with the birth of your baby…you got this!!

  2. evelyn commented:
    October 5, 2014 Reply

    Gosh the 4th trimester was the hardest for me! I can relate to this post completely , thank you for sharing , sending love & light your way Xo!

  3. Susan commented:
    January 18, 2015 Reply

    I love your honesty and rawness after having a baby. It’s totally true!! I came across the ‘fourth trimester’ after the end of my little ones fourth trimester and it explains a heck of a lot, plus he had severe silent reflux – so many days I sat and cried with my baby, and yes I cried at tv commercials ALL THE TIME. The first one has certainly scared us but I’m sure we will want to give our son a sibling one day. You are blessed with a truly beautiful family, thank you for your blog 🙂 much love xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an *

*
*
*