Keeping the Sanity
How will you survive the most difficult trimester of all?
That’s right the 4th Trimester. Those first few days and hours might be blissful and euphoric but those baby highs might just fade in a few days. You will be slapped in the face by exhaustion. Your body that has just undergone one of the most challenging physical activities (labor & delivery) will be neglected. Your appetite and personal hygiene will fight for dominance but you know who wins? Your baby. Your new little mini me will win all your time. You will be overwhelmed, tired and hungry. You will question, is this my new life? Is this the new me? The one who puts the cereal away in the fridge and the milk in the cabinet? The one who changed the baby in the middle of the night but realized you forgot to put a new diaper on and is now sobbing over wet sheets you must wash at 3 am. You will question, is my baby eating enough? Is his belly-button supposed to look like this? Is it ok to call the doctor for 13th time? Relax, it’s not all bad but it does get overwhelming. The important thing is you can plan ahead for a better 4th Trimester.
To prepare for the 4th trimester you will want to:
· Meal Plan- list 10-12 meals that you like to eat. Slip them into two groups. Easy and more time consuming. Chose easy meals at first then gradually get up to the more time consuming meal or when you know you will have extra help ie: grandparents down to see the baby, or husbands off from work. Make your grocery list accordingly.
· Have help in place- ask a grandparent to commit to one day a week for you to do “me” things or even to do “me & partner” activities. Even if it’s for an hour. It’s worth it. This is where the next one might come in hand
· Prepare to pump- get your pump parts clean and ready. I’ve made printable labels to keep track of your stored milk and also a printable proper Breast milk storage chart to keep on your refrigerator.
· Have your bills organized- on ONE sheet. For what is not on automatic billing, you will forget what day it is and if you have paid the water bill. I’ve created a household binder packet to help you have all your household information in one spot, like a hub. You can print them free on my site.
· Keep a Baby immunization record sheet. The doctors should give you a sheet but in case you want to note any reactions, any questions you have and just in general remember where you baby is at each checkup.
· Plan the welcome/christening party. Have all this figured out before the baby comes so you aren’t stressing out about guest lists, favors, etc. The only thing you might have to wait on is purchasing the dress or outfit in case you baby is fitting in clothes different than expected, same goes for your outfit! Try www.shutterfly.com for making invitations
· Write thank you cards in advance, or at least have addresses ready to go, stamped envelopes etc. This will save you so much time in a few weeks after you receive all the new gifts when people come to visit in the hospital or at home.
There is no doubt the first few weeks after giving birth are like an extension of pregnancy but it can also be a lot tougher. You may just need a way to relax and regroup. Not all days with a newborn are overwhelming and especially towards the end of the 4th trimester you may just be getting that block of sleep you need to regain some clarity but in the meantime here are some way to relax and refresh yourself.
Things you can do that have helped me in the past are:
· Going outside. Fresh air is a gift. Use it and bring that baby if you’re up to it. If not ask a neighbor, a friend, an in-law or someone you trust to watch the baby and go out for a walk or to a park or waterfront.
· Buy a new outfit. Buy yourself something. Don’t go nuts because chances are you won’t be this in-between size as I like to refer to it for long (unless you are have back to back babies). Having something new and nice to put on for when you want to go out with your partner or when someone comes over will help you feel better about your body and your new image.
· Get a sitter. Spend alone time with your partner. I will touch on this reconnection more in the 4th Trimester Guide but it’s imperative. So just do it even if it’s to food shop together, movie, dinner, breakfast, coffee, picnic something, anything to feed the relationship, you won’t be sorry.
· Have a girls’ night either at home or out. If you’re not up to this right away I get it. I, at times didn’t have the energy to change into people friendly clothes but even talking with friends over coffee in sweats if you must, is an outlet.
· Get a journal or a start blog.
· Join an online community. No people friendly clothes required. There are tons of them like mothering.com or the bump. Or join ours it’s a small positive group of women sharing pregnancy and baby related topics. New Mom Group
· Join a play group or a mommy and me class but don’t stress. I remember being in tears one time because I missed one and thought my kid (one of the older ones) deserved to be there so much that it brought me to tears, it’s supposed to help not hinder your mood so if your stressed on getting there either throw some cute stretchies on and go (No one cares if you have mascara on or a clean bra.) or if you’re not there yet, skip it and go for a walk and try again next week. You can check with your local church, township recreation or even Facebook to find a group. Another great site to try is Meet Ups this is where I found on of my place groups.
· Host a play group. If you don’t want to be the social butterfly initially its ok but maybe having a once a month group and have an open ear to other mothers may be nice for you and the little one.
· Try yoga. Wait until after your six week post birth checkup for vaginal delivery. Check what the doctor says about cesarean recovery times. Otherwise, meditate for the time being.
· Go for a scenic drive with your favorite playlist.
· Make something make a baby hat, or make a cake, scrapbook something.
Having a baby will surface a lot of emotions and ups and downs. If you thought you were emotional during your pregnancy you may just see this continue afterwards. Take a deep breath you are a new woman, a very important one, a mother and some of what you are feeling may be normal.
For some, it’s not going to be a walk in the park that gets them out of their mood. Sometimes it will take professional help. I HAVE to put in here even though I don’t want to go there, if you think you are depressed, get help. Don’t think about it just do it. Don’t hurt your baby, yourself or your other children or partner. Leave it to a professional to decipher what’s normal and what’s not. If you don’t know where to go to get help or where to start, a good resource will be your hospital, your obstetrician or your health insurance company.
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Hi There! I'm Jamie. Mother of 4 Beautiful Babies I love to help Pregnant Women & New Moms.
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