The stage that isn't always talked about: the fourth trimester a.k.a postpartum stage. This is the first three months after giving birth. It's a rollercoaster of emotions — and even comparing it to a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. The elation that comes from holding your baby for the first time paired with the constant physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, sleeplessness, and even anxiety. It can be a lot especially for new moms adjusting to motherhood.
The first thing that you should know is this: You are doing a great job. From carrying and nurturing your baby to taking care of them now, you are doing your best and you are a great mom. Sometimes, you need to hear that and you need to tell that to yourself especially during this stage when you seem to doubt every single choice you're making.
The second thing you need to know: You are going to survive this. There may be nights when you're feeling so down but trust us, you are going to come out of this sooner or later. Surviving the postpartum stage is a fact and now we're listing down tips that you can apply to help you get through it.
Fourth Trimester Self-Care
1. Learn how to indulge.
Yes, you read that right. Indulge. As moms, we get into this mentality of questioning every choice and guilting ourselves, thinking that if we take that one bite of a scrumpy chocolate cake or look at new clothes online then we're not doing our job as moms and that we're not putting our families first. That is not true at all, mama. You have to learn how to enjoy small moments that is just for yourself - whether or not it's getting a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or an extra scoop of ice cream - our only advice: DO IT.
An Let's be clear: this isn't about "bouncing back" to your pre-pregnancy body. The focus of postpartum exercise is to get you moving (always consult your doctor for approval first) and to boost your endorphins, which can help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. An essential point to remember is not to pressure yourself. We understand the physical demands and fatigue that come with being a first-time mom. So, there's no need to stress about lifting weights or running on the treadmill right away. Starting with simple activities like walking or even doing household chores can make a difference. Engage in postpartum exercise when you can, and do it for the right reasons.
3. Choose rest.
Rest when you can. Rest your mind when you can. In fact, make a rule about visitors. If they're only visiting for anything other than help you put the baby to sleep or bring you mom care packages, then they should probably reschedule until you've had enough sleep. The last thing you'd want to add on your list of chores is to prepare the house for visitors with a long list of questions and unsolicited comments of how you should take care of your family. #SorryNotSorry
4. Put the phone down.
Yes, mindlessly browsing through Facebook and Instagram will help you pass the time but sometimes, too much social media cannot be helpful especially for your mental health. Especially when you can't stop asking Google about every single thing your baby does: sleeping too little or too much, the color of their poop, the smell of their poop… etc. Trust your instincts and learn between having to consult your doctor and doing a mild Google search (without going through the dark hole that is WebMD) or asking opinions and experiences from fellow mamas (Follow momma community pages like ours, Made With Love Tribe)
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
The best and most important tip there is: ASK FOR HELP. Whether it's your partner, your own mom, your BFF, or a professional help - there's no shame in asking. This is one of the biggest transitions in your life and sometimes what you really need is a good emotional and mental support that will constantly remind you that you are doing a good job, especially when you don't believe it yourself.