The Fourth Trimester: PostPartum Care.
I have been going through newborn photos of Lillian recently as I reflect on our experience and mentally prepare for childbirth and life with a new newborn. Lillian is a week old in this picture and I cannot even handle how beautiful she is. She is so itty bitty and I can't believe that now she is three years. Life is good!
I've mentioned it multiple times on here, but this second pregnancy has been a lot different than my first and the biggest difference is how I am going to prepare for the postpartum experience. I was so extremely fortunate to have a smooth delivery with Lillian, wonderful breastfeeding experience, and endless support from our families and friends, and discover the life-changing community of DayOne Baby.
My postpartum transition was very smooth and I honestly took it really easy. I lived and breathed being a mother and was able to take eight months off. I didn't go back to my life pre-Lillian. I didn't want to. I still don't want to. I didn't exercise for months, didn't go on date nights, I just threw myself into the experience and I am certain, as a result, was the best mom I could be and was able to truly savor the time.
As I mentally prepare for baby #2, I know that this transition will be much harder. We have a toddler to love and pay attention to and (!!!) drop off and pick up at school! Also, I have a business to run and Jesse is busy as his company continues to grow. These are all good things, but require us to plan, be strategic, flexible and patient.
I read The Fourth Trimester Book and its something I wish I had read before my first pregnancy! I can't recommend it enough if you're expecting your first or second or third!! The book is so easy to flip through and it offers insight, exercises, and mental visualizations for life after baby. To be honest though, I got more value out of reading it for my second pregnancy than I would have gotten when reading it with Lillian. I have the perspective of having gone through it once before.
Luckily, I had a great emotional postpartum experience and really felt on cloud 9. I was so happy with my new role and new perspective. Here are some things I am planning on doing for great postpartum health this second time. It's funny how the needs change with the second one!
In pretty much every place except for the United States, women take at least a month off after labor to recover, regardless of the type of delivery. In Asia, most women go live with their own mothers so they can have time off from their own housework and caring for their family. The book talks about in the US how we want to all bounce back and be out and about as if its a sign of strength.
I am telling you now that I am definitely going to take a month off. I am not going to be out and about. I am going to be breastfeeding, sleeping, and eating. I have seen so many moms out and about days after their delivery. I get it, they have a toddler they need to get out of the house. But, I actually think it's a sign of strength to care for yourself during this period. It shows you can fight (messed up) cultural expectations.
I am actually practicing this now as I force myself to rest on days. It can be a lot to feel like I need to be working, going, and rushing to get things done. But I take about an hour a day and just rest. I close my eyes, sit outside, walk or read.
I definitely ate more while breastfeeding and loved it!! This time I am going to prep more meals, accept more meals from friends and family. The book was saying how important it is to eat foods that warm you up- both with their temperature and with the spices. I am definitely going to eat lots of soup and yummy food.
The book talks about how belly wraps are part of the traditional post-partum experience around the world. Most women have ceremonies where they drink herbs, flush toxins, and then wrap themselves. The benefit is to support your pelvis and help organs move back into their proper place and help shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size. The additional benefit is that it can help with your appearance.
Get out into Nature
This has definitely been my goal this pregnancy and will definitely be postpartum!
You can purchase the book here. It also offers information on how to talk and reconnect with your partner. Physical exercises you can do each week to recover and more. It's a great resource and I can't recommend it enough!