Jasmine Van Allen
Nov 25, 2023
The Fourth Trimester
I never fully understood why they call the first six weeks after giving birth “the fourth trimester” …until now. After that magical, indescribable moment of meeting your new baby and feeling that instant, powerful love for them, the recovery begins. Whether you had a natural birth or a C-section like me (unplanned, but necessary) the next six weeks are… eventful to say the least.
In my personal experience, I could barely move without being in pain the first two weeks after I had my daughter. This made the hourly feedings — day and night — in-between naps an interesting experience.
If you have a newborn with colic or digestive issues like our daughter, it means hours of rocking and walking the halls with a crying newborn. Furthermore, it also means you’re trying to stay focused after zero sleep or recovery time from your stay in the hospital.
Being a new parent is the hardest thing I’ve done, by far (and I think my husband will second that statement). But despite all this, we wouldn’t change it for the world! Why? Because of that little human you created.
That tiny, beautiful bundle of joy that you spent the last nine months preparing for, yet somehow still feel like you could never be ready for, becomes your whole world, your all-consuming light. I am not exaggerating when I say I would take a bullet for her and do anything to keep her safe and healthy. I’m convinced that love is the only reason new parents survive the seemingly never-ending sleepless nights of those first few months.
For new parents out there currently in survival mode, I promise you, it does get easier, you will sleep again, and the best is yet to come. My daughter is 10 months old now and I find myself looking back on those first few weeks when she was so tiny in my arms, and I miss those gassy smiles, the newborn scrunch, and the extended naps so that I could nap too, just to name a few.
It feels never-ending in the moment, until you stumble out of the new parent fog and before you know it, you’re experiencing all those first milestones. The first smile, the first laugh, the first full blown giggle, the first time they roll over, the first time they crawl, the first time they “speak”. And so, so many more!
It really does go by as fast as they say, and the best advice I can give, is do your best to be present and soak in every moment. I know it’s hard, it’s stressful and it’s beyond exhausting being a parent, but it is also the greatest gift and I am thankful every single day that my daughter chose me to be her mama!
You’ve got this! Lean on your support system, only keep the advice that makes you say “that’s genius” (and let the rest go). Remember, you are the expert when it comes to your baby. Have faith in yourselves and trust your instincts, advocate for your child when necessary (because you are their voice) and take it one day at a time.
If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of post partum anxiety or depression, please don’t do like I did and deny it. Seek out the help when it’s offered to you, because it really does help give you tools needed to work through those feelings. One day at a time!
photos courtesty of Unsplash.