May 16, 2023 3 min read

Oh the fourth trimester, that blissful and incredibly exhausting first 12 weeks of your sweet baby’s life. It’s a beautiful blur of night feeds, soft newborn skin, and endless nappy changes. Somehow time stands still and speeds up, all at once. You’re getting to know a brand-new human who you have only just met but at the same time, you’ve known all along. It is stretching in every way—heart, body, and soul.

 

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The tiny human that grew from the size of a poppy seed in your belly to the squishy little body in your arms will need all of you in the fourth trimester. The comfort and safety of the womb is a world away and they will seek to be close to you, what they know best. This makes the fourth trimester is an all-consuming season of motherhood.

 

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Imagine a cup that is emptied often, must also be filled often. In a season where you are giving everything, you also need to be prioritised. We love this quote,

 


Taking care of myself doesn’t mean

Me First’ it means, ‘Me as well'.

 

Your needs as a mother, matter too. In a “bounce back” culture that often doesn’t value mothers’ postnatal wellbeing, here’s four truths you need to hear.   

 

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You deserve to have space to recover.

Your body just did a mind-blowingly amazing thing! It grew and nourished a whole human being for 9 months and then brought it earthside. Take a moment to honour your body and the incredible job it did, mama! Every outside pressure can wait. Give your body time to heal…each mark and bump is beautiful; a celebration of the life that you brought into the world.

 

You need support.

You need support of every kind in the fourth trimester, emotional and physical. Take the help when offered and seek it when you need it. Talk about the feelings, eat the hand-delivered meal, let someone else cuddle the baby while you nap. We were never supposed to do motherhood alone.

 

mother_holding_newborn_love

You deserve rest.

It’s not our natural instinct as mothers to rest but rest is when our bodies heal. Leave those dishes in the sink, block out those guilty thoughts, and listen to your body… it knows what you need. If social media makes you feel like you’re not doing enough, put your phone down. You’re exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do.

You need time to be yourself.

Your new title of mama is incredible but it is weighty. It is what you are, but you are more. Doing the things that make you feel like you again is important. Go for the walk on the beach, watch the rom com, enjoy a coffee with a friend.

 

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If I can be transparent with you, even though I had three chances for each of my three children, I think somehow I didn’t give the fourth trimester the respect it deserves. Maybe I just didn’t know these four truths, maybe I didn’t think I deserved them. I see it all differently now.

If I could go back in time…

I would lay, cocooned in bed longer, soaking in the magic that is the newborn smell. I would silence any pressure to do more, to be more, knowing that what I was doing was enough. I would have made the phone call that I just couldn’t bring myself to, so that I could have that long, hot, worry-free shower in the middle of the day. I wouldn’t have wasted a second thinking about forming a sleep routine and would have trusted that my baby and I would figure it out together. I would have stood in front of the mirror and instead of my eyes catching the loose skin on my tummy, they would have gratefully taken in the shape of a woman, who brought life into the world.

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