What is the 4th trimester, is there even such a thing? Yes there is! I read about it during my second pregnancy and went through it without even knowing that it is referred to as the fourth trimester. A lot of women think that there are only 3 stages to a pregnancy, but what happens after you give birth?
In the first trimester you have that radiant glow, accompanied by morning sickness, tiredness and sore breast. If you luckily enough you might only have that glow and skip everything else. Are there some things you just can’t stomach that you usually enjoy? Well, this is when you will find out. The first three months left me feeling a little unsure about whether or not I should let people know that I’m pregnant. I missed the most obvious signs with both my pregnancies. Suddenly my morning herbal tea didn’t agree with me, and I no longer wanted that freshly popped popcorn. I wanted to make each pregnancy special by documenting my feelings, changes to my appearance through photos, little notes about my doctor’s appointments and by the time the first trimester was over I had enough of it. It just seemed like too much work, I figured the memories are there to last forever.
Finally that glow!
Onto the second trimester the morning sickness may be a thing of the past and you start getting your appetite back. You excited as your baby bump begins to show. You consider finding out the gender of your bundle of joy. If not by now everyone is already asking if you know what you expecting. All the preparations begin as you get some items every time you pass by a clothing store, or see something adorable for the nursery. I pretty much enjoyed this stage, as I begin to feel good and almost my energy is back again. Did i mention the cravings?? Well indulge, you eating for two I say. Go on a vacation during this time, it’s good to be out before your little one arrives. It’s fun shopping for some new clothes for myself as well. Everyone is concerned about my wellbeing and that of the baby, you instantly feel loved. In SA I enjoyed every doctor’s appointment as a sonar was always done and I got to see my little one grow and float around. In Canada this wasn’t the case and it took sometime getting used to, as you only get I think two scans your entire pregnancy unless otherwise deemed necessary by your doctor.
Well hello third trimester! Finally the last stretch, I began to feel a bit lazy, and self care wasn’t usually at the top of my list at this stage. You start gaining more weight and so does baby at a rapid pace. Feet start to swell and everything begins to ache. The countless trips to the bathroom continue throughout the night, this was my least favorite. I would trade waking up to breastfeed instead of going to the bathroom 5 times during the night. Well that’s what I told myself then. I have read so much about nesting, and i done quite a bit of it. I guess that made me feel like I was getting closer to my due date. Seeing that I was trying for a vaginal birth with my second pregnancy, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would feel like when my water breaks and where would I be. I couldn’t tell the difference between brixton hicks and contractions either the first time around so this made me really nervous. Prepare and freeze meals for after you give birth this really comes in handy, wish I took my own advice then. The mood swings were noticeable from the start but were more obvious now than ever. I began to get impatient as I just wanted the baby out. Thankfully the moods don’t last forever.
And finally I arrive home with my bundle of joy. Tired after the birth but so relieved to be back in my own space, my bed,my own bathroom and a taste of my own food. With both my pregnancies I had no hands on help at home, besides my husband. It was overwhelming to come home and I had to figure everything out on my own. That is when all the emotions kicked in. Some days and nights were better than others. I got sucked into a dark hole and at times and I had no idea how I even got there. I would cry for no reason, or the tiniest little thing would upset me. It was even harder with a toddler and a newborn baby. I thought the 3 year age gap would be great and my toddler would “understand” that the baby needs a little bit more attention. But you know what, so does he. His life changed as well. He became a big brother and has to adapt to another kid being in the same house. I was in and out of depression, I took it out on those around me. I realized it after a month, that’s when I knew I had to ask for help – and I did! Communication helps A LOT. Especially with your partner, because he has to adjust to the new addition as well. Sure you getting up for the feeds at night but asking for help the first month is absolutely ok. We had a perfect system going where he made sure I had enough snacks for bedtime and stayed hydrated. He would burp and change the baby when I was done feeding so that I could get a little extra sleep before the next feed. Sometimes depression and anxiety lasts a few weeks or even months but don’t be afraid to seek help. It won’t last forever, you find your comfort and happiness again and that is where I am at now. I am finally out of the fourth trimester 😊.