The Fourth Trimester and Parenthood

So, did you know that there is actually another trimester after the third one? Neither did I to be honest but believe me its real…. 

The 12 weeks after birth are probably the hardest in my opinion, it’s a constant battle of night feeds, liquid nappies, exhaustion and finding your feet with all the new things you have to adapt your life and routine to. 

When we got home I don’t think things settled in quite yet as I was waiting for this big gush of love to come for my new baby, but it doesn’t always happen like that even though they are your child and you have just carried them for nine months it can be anti-climax, you can get baby blues, it took me a few weeks to feel that total gush of love for Clara, as I didn’t know her there wasn’t a bond just yet. 

Adapting to the new routine and balancing trying to get heal myself and but also look after this new little human who depended on you completely, I thought that because I helped out with my nephew, I actually had some clue about being a mum… I thought wrong turns out all I knew was how to change a nappy and make a bottle! 

I mean there is just so much more involved, Like the first dirty nappy… its black and thick and sticky like tar nothing can prepare you for that, when your washing them make sure you have sterilised water on hand to clean their eyes with cotton wool, make sure to not use anything in their baths for at least 8 weeks, and don’t let them sleep too long even though a sleep is just as good as a feed, don’t hold them too much because then they will not be able to self sooth or be on their own, don’t use covers, pillows or anything in their cots for that matter, don’t use the same sponge for cleaning their body and face that you would also use for their bits and bobs, Not to mention don’t leave the house without a whole suitcase packed for their stuff, change of clothes, nappies, wipes, cream, bottles, milk, dummies, sterilised wipes to clean teats on dummies, hand sanitiser and wait more change of clothes because they have decided to poop through the entire two sets you already packed and had on them, there is so much more that I could rant on about that I learned in the first 12 weeks of becoming a parent, don’t get me wrong I adapted well but it was definitely hard I felt almost like I had lost my own identity and freedom. I couldn’t bath without having Clara in the bathroom with me, I couldn’t sleep unless she was sleeping, every time I needed to eat Clara came first and she needed to eat. Although I did have help my mum stayed with us for a week and I was scared when she had to leave because she couldn’t stay forever, and I needed to learn on my own.

My mother-in-law advised me that the first 8 weeks are chaos no routine multiple night feeds etc etc. So, I had that in mind the first 8 weeks will be hard and after those 8 weeks are done, we can get into some sort of routine. So, after those 8 weeks had passed it was GO time! 

We started off with Clara had a bath at 23:00pm and then she could get her feed and drift off to sleep around 12:00am, and hope and pray she would sleep for a good few hours and she did Clara slept until around 06:00am every time, and she would wake up get changed and fed and then I would put her back down and turn around and go to sleep. Sounds harsh doesn’t it but I needed to try and train Clara young to be independent and that being on your own is okay and self-soothing is also okay, and she would she would fall back over until around 9ish. We did this for around 2 months and we then started to cut back the time every so often to bath at 10pm, and then 9pm etc etc, this then got us to where we are now. When Clara was around 7months she was in bed for 19:00pm every night until 07:00am the next morning, I wouldn’t sooth her to sleep or cuddle her, I would simply just put her down with her dummy and leave the room.

This worked for us, she is now almost 2 and in her own room and sleeps 7-to-9 in her own room and doesn’t have to be soothed to sleep, she is very independent and comfortable in her own company, in fact even if I try sometimes to sleep with her in the bed with me it takes ages for her to sleep as she feels more comfortable in a cot.

Even though that worked for us doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, sometimes routines get messed up, every baby is different and if what works for you is different to someone else sod it… it yours life and your baby do what you want and don’t let anyone tell you different. I learned that I’m the parent and I will decide! 

Even though I spoke all about adapting to being a parent and routine etc, what about you when you come home?

You feel exhausted and there is so much people don’t tell you about your own body afterbirth, no one tells you about going to the toilet for the first time… mammas who have pushed you will understand the last thing you want to be doing is more pushing, going to the toilet and having to use a squeezy bottle of warm water to dilute your pee so it doesn’t sting like F***K on your stitches, having a midwife come to the house and once again having you get stripped to check on those stitches, and the fact if you actually get up and become really active that you bleed more? But it is just impossible to rest when you have a newborn so how can you take it easy? Not to mention the leaking from your boobs! I breastfed for an all of 10 minutes I couldn’t take it my boobs being as big as they were adding more weight to them with milk was not for me I gave up quickly but I tried and if I have any more children I will try again, I remember sitting one day with partner and mum and saying i could smell veg… cooked veg or rotten veg and I just didn’t know what it was it was following me about everywhere I thought I maybe just exhausted and going mad … nope just turns out the cabbage I had in my boobs from that day and had forgot about until I got undressed that evening had pretty much just cooked through … it does help though mad to think putting cabbage leaves in your bra helps stop milk producing.  The constant fear of going to toilet each time and the fear in your of your stitches becoming infected not to mention actually looking at your bits after you have given birth ……. OW! I did not think you could bruise in such a place but believe me it does! It looked awful I didn’t think it would ever look normal again (it does) so there is hope don’t be frightened after you have that first look it gets better, it heals! 

Sex for the first time after birth? Not as bad as you think it will be and you don’t need to wait 6 weeks, wait however long you feel your comfortable … We waited around 4 weeks and it felt fine like there was nothing different as If it hasn’t been ripped apart 4 weeks before it. 

Overall .. if you feel like your going mad, your bond isn’t there right away, your exhausted and have lost your identity, it comes back it gets better and its all 110% worth it, waking up every morning and having that little human smile at you knowing you are their person, their safety net, it makes everything disappear.

love mon x

Keep posted for my next blog post where i will discuss … problems after pregnancy regarding Gallbladder issues!

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