Have you prepared for your 4th Trimester?
Developing a plan for the postpartum period is just as important, if not more than developing your birth plan. Fact of the matter is that developing these plans do not guarantee a pain free birth, or perfect outcomes, or a super easy transition to parenthood. What these plans do is force you to educate yourself about the options and the possibilities that you have for this phase of crazy life!
What on earth is a 4th trimester? Aren’t there only 3 trimesters? Well, the answer is pretty simple. If you are pregnant, or have gone through pregnancy, you know that we measure progress by weeks, months and trimesters. Each trimester brings new growth spurts, developments (both mental and emotional) and show the progress that we are making. The transitions between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters are pretty smooth. The most that most mamas notice is the change in appetite, nausea, mobility, fatigue or energy. But how about that transition from 3rd to 4th trimester? You go from having that cute little munchkin punching out your lungs and bladder to holding the sweet thing in your arms. From having her wake you up with dance parties at 2am to crying at 2am. The transition is pretty crazy to say the least.
Now, think about this transition again from your baby’s perspective. These tiny humans go from a warm, dark, quiet place that has been everything they have ever known. They have been comfortable and calm (except for those dance parties and kung fu sessions). They never knew hunger, loneliness, or fear. To say this is a shock to their system is an understatement, so we need to do everything in our power to create a safe, loving, calm environment for them…which means making sure everything is as aligned as possible for our own transitions to parenthood.
To do this, we need to really go back to the basics…we could even go back to Psychology 101 to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (source https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)
Pretty nerdy, right?! How can we relate this back to the 4th trimester? Look around your house, or apartment. Do you have a house or apartment? Is there food nearby? Is it easily accessible or ready made? Do you have adequate clothing for you and baby? Are you keeping a water bottle nearby at all times? Are you giving yourself the time and space to rest? Are you keeping others nearby who want to help give you a hand so that you can rest? Awesome! Do you feel safe? See that?…we just took care of your most basic needs!
Next, we need to move on to mama’s psychological needs. Do the people around you make you feel comfortable and are you able to feel vulnerable around them? Do you feel loved and supported? Do you have a network of friends that you can call or visit who understand you? How do you feel about your birth experience? Is there someone who you can share that with? Are you feeling in control of your decisions?
This last one can be tricky for a new parent. These are the sprinkles on top that can only be there after everything is already taken care of…which is why those basic needs are so crazy important. Are you feeling fulfilled? How has your change in roles affected you?(if a new parent…or any parent for that matter with a new baby). Do you have a creative outlet that you can use to let out some steam? Are you meditating?…even taking 30 seconds to remember how to breathe properly. Do you understand how amazingly incredible that you are for making a beautiful little human, nourishing that human and fulfilling all of their needs? Lets just remember that for a minute. You are doing a lot. You are meeting all of those above needs for your little baby, so it gets tough to remember to meet them yourself.
I have put together a simple guide that shows you some key things to think about when planning out your 4th trimester. This should be a happy time where you are getting to know each other and adjusting to your new normal. Please go here to check it out!