Things I Wish I Knew: Fourth Trimester Edition

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. It takes a village to raise a child!

By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA

Originally published here: Mommy Monitor’s Blog

Parenthood is a journey, and while you can do all the reading you want, there is not enough preparation for the reality of becoming a mother. However, from my experience, having certain supports in place is helpful in navigating this milestone. If you’re awaiting the arrival of the newest member of your family, read this blog, where I share some things that you should consider as a part of your fourth trimester (the first three months after the baby arrives) care plan.

RECEIVE HELP WHEN IT’S GIVEN

Some days after bringing our first born home, my cousin came by. She offered to watch him so I could have some time to myself. I did want to have a shower; however, I felt guilty for accepting her offer. She was adamant that if having a shower was what I wanted, then I should do that. It’s OKAY to get help; it doesn’t make you any less of a mama for accepting it. Everyone benefits from a well-rested, fed, clean, and happy mama.

Adjust your priorities

When we first had our son, I remember how proud we were when people came by and our home was in pristine condition, the baby was taken care of, but we were EXHAUSTED (of course). Our focus was on maintaining the cleanliness of our home as opposed to resting when we could. Getting rest with a newborn (depending on your situation) is a rarity. You’re only able to rest if the baby is sleeping or if there is someone around to watch the baby so you can rest. Please prioritize your rest and anything else that will help you to maintain your well-being over having a perfect home.

Save yourself the stress

Babies don’t care about the things that we care about, such as; what you look, smell, or feel like. They don’t care about the nursery, stroller, clothing they are wearing nor how much those things cost. At the end of the day, they only care about having their needs met; they want to be fed, held, loved, etc. Be easy on yourself and don’t think you have to have it all or all together; your baby wants and loves you as you are.

Put yourself first

With our first born, we allowed visitors to come when they wanted to and stayed up to host them, when we should have been resting because when they left, you guessed it, we were POOPED. With our second child, we took our time and welcomed guests when WE were ready; which was MONTHS after we brought our daughter home.

It takes a village

I watched a YouTube video of a mom who shared the genius idea of making a list of things she needed help with when she just had her baby (such as sweeping the floor, groceries, etc.). She put it on the fridge for visitors to see, so when they came by, they would look at the list and pick something to do.

In addition, depending on the needs and (financial) capacity of your family, I would strongly consider adding one or more of the following as a part of your village:

  • A postpartum doula
  • A pelvic floor specialist
  • A therapist
  • A dietician / holistic nutritionist
  • A registered massage therapist
  • A meal delivery, cleaning, and / or nanny service (alternatively, if it’s possible, rally your loved ones to help)

Manage your expectations

Prior to having children you may have had an idea of how you wanted to parent. Once you become a parent, you may have found that some things you desired to do prior to having children just don’t resonate with you anymore and that’s okay. If the vision you had prior to becoming a parent is different from who you are now as a parent, FORGIVE yourself and release it; you are allowed to change your mind. Use it as an opportunity to explore who you are and what values you want to embody in the present and move forward with as a parent.

Remember, in the process of birthing a baby, you have also birthed a new version of you. You and your family will be getting used to the baby and vice versa. Give yourself permission to be where you are.

Mommy monitor is a great resource to visit to help you get started for pregnancy support and beyond. Visit them at https://www.mommymonitor.ca

Take deep care and be well, mamas.

Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA‍

Certified Transformational Coach | Wholesome Mind Health Coaching

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A social enterprise bringing patient-centered and culturally sensitive maternal health care to pregnant women globally. info@mommymonitor.ca mommymonitor.ca