The 4th Trimester

Have you heard of it? The 4th trimester? It's the one that no one talks about.

It's hormones crashing. It's struggling to breastfeed. It's wondering what the heck happened to my body. You start googling things at 2am because you're up with the baby anyways.

The 4th trimester is not about "getting your body back" or "losing the baby weight". It's about getting to know your baby. Learning their cries. Snuggling them ALL THE TIME. Fueling your body. Feeding your baby- however way is best for your because FED IS BEST. Getting a hot shower every day and being so thankful for it. 

I see many new moms asking when they can start working out. What exercises to do. What foods/diet they should eat to lose weight. Mamas, you don't need those added stresses. Let your body heal. You've just given birth to a human for goodness sake (I don't care how you delivered, you still have to heal!), please let your body do what it needs to do. You'll lose a lot of the weight in the first couple of weeks. I lost half of the 50# I gained within the first couple of weeks. And has taken the rest a while to come off, but that's ok.

You don't need to get back in shape super fast. You don't need to "get your butt kicked". Your body needs time to heal and then reconnect and integrate. Getting your body back doesn't need to be a priority right now, and honestly your body will never be the same. That's ok. If you have an orthopedic surgery, that area is never the same- so growing a human & bringing them into this world is going to affect your body.

I'm not saying any of this to argue or push my beliefs on anyone. I truly think there is way too much pressure on new moms to do all the things and "get their body back". This is a really vulnerable time in our lives. Our babies will also never be this little again. Tori will be 11 months old next week. She gets bigger every day. I miss when she was so little, so young and just would snuggle all the time. We'd take naps together, her curled on my chest. 

The adjustment from working, being pregnant, not having a newborn to coming home, and being home 24/7 with a newborn is huge. I went from working 35-40 hours/week in the clinic, 5-10 hours/week at the gym, working out 3-4 days/week, plus all the usual house things to being home with a newborn. I was lucky that my mother was able to spend a good chunk of the first two weeks with us and help. My husband went back to work the day after we got home from the hospital- part of owning your own business. I struggled with that adjustment. I felt so shut off from the world and my pre-baby life. 

Luckily I had a good support system of family, friends and colleagues. People came to see me. I went to La Leche League meetings (breastfeeding group). Eventually I was able to do more and more with Tori and that helped. 

Point is that it's all temporary- but such an important chapter. Instead of trying to rush it away, try to soak in those baby snuggles. Get to know your baby, bond with them. Enjoy your time off from work by catching up on Netflix or watching movies. Go on walks with your baby, go on walks as a family. Don't let losing weight or getting back to exercise take over this short time. The gym will be there. The weight may or may not be there. But your baby will not be a newborn for very long.