As I write this, my darling boy is 10 weeks and 1 day old. He is an absolute delight and I’m creeping towards feeling like a human being again so I feel ready to tackle the all important Fourth Trimester on here. I have to say, this has got to be the MOST important, humbling, exhausting, all consuming, terrifying, amazing, beautiful, lovely trimester of them all. Fair warning, there will be TMI and TMMP (Too Much Mum Pride) because I’m pretty much still a bag of hormones in a broken body that once looked like someone called Tiff.
The Post Partum Days
So you’ve done birth, made it home and all your wonderful home cooked freezer meals are literally saving your life while you adjust to life with a newborn but how are Mummy & Daddy doing? Firstly, they are completely smitten. These newborn days, this bubble, doesn’t allow for ‘I’m so tired’ because its all so wonderful and new and special and lovely but then your body starts to scream at you. Imagine the DOMs after a good work out and then imagine the DOMs after 3 days hiking a mountain, on no sleep with a 10lb rucksack and the emotional maturity of a toddler in the supermarket on a Saturday. Regardless of the type of delivery you had. Yep, you’re a bit broken. But don’t panic, it doesn’t last (that) long. REST! Tell the visitors to wait, get on the sofa with your brand new family and snuggle until you absolutely have to get up for more biscuits then get back there. I can’t tell you this enough, those newborn days go in a flash and your body needs to HEAL. You. Have. Birthed. A. Human. Please respect what your amazing body has done. Be firm about what you NEED not what everyone else WANTS. I promise you will thank yourself later (and anyone offended will get over it). Plus you’re still navigating this new role you’ve taken on called parenthood and neither you or your partner have a clue WTF is going on so please be kind to yourself and just work it out together without any added pressure. AND take pics, lots and lots of pics!
The Post Partum Weeks
As quick as a flash you’ve popped down to the local town hall to register the birth of your little angel, possibly your first outing as a family, or at all since you came home. It literally doesn’t matter when you made it out so please don’t compare your progress to others. You’re now officially a new kind of tired that you didn’t know existed, your eyes sting when you look at the sun, you have milk on everything and you’re still puffy from all that postpartum swelling but you are OUTSIDE and you feel like a QUEEN. Then you’re home again, quick Facebook announcement to confirm the baby has an official name and now what? The visitors have lost interest, you’re confident you can still feel a stitch digging into what used to be your perineum, the freezer meals have run out, your nips might be bleeding or your hands dry from bloody steriliser water and if you had any help at home, they’ve probably gone back to work while you’re stuck under a sleeping babe watching Homes Under The Hammer (5/10 as I work in property) or Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares (Giving this a 9/10 for the DRAMA & shouting) because you can’t reach the remote or your phone. First things first the old, ”sleep when the baby sleeps” is nigh on impossible so try and just relax when the baby sleeps, because they’ll probably sleep on your chest and you’ll be trapped without a cuppa and needing a wee too terrified to move in case you wake them but some blissful quiet time goes a long way so try and pop your phone on Do Not Disturb and just enjoy some brain down time. Your house is also a mess, it will look like you have been burgled but they didn’t like any of your stuff so they just trashed the place and left. It’s tempting, when you feel a teeny bit more human, to start frantically getting things in order. A bit like that post Christmas/New Year vibe when you’ve been lounging around in your PJ’s for a month eating Quality Street and suddenly on January 2nd you simply MUST deep clean the carpets and Marie Kondo every cupboard in the house. DON’T. I mean it just don’t do it. By all means run the hoover around the sofa to grab some of the biscuit crumbs before your Grandma comes to visit if it makes you feel better (babies love a bit of white noise and hoovers are perfect white noise) but honestly nobody is looking at your house when they visit, they are looking at your baby! They couldn’t give a shit if the floor was covered in cockroaches and you were the colour of Shrek because … BABY!!! So leave it. Atleast leave it until you have another human being handy (that you love and trust not to judge you for looking like a scarecrow or more importantly won’t drop the baby) to hold said baby while you whizz round putting things in order again. But only when your body feels ready (and you will know) because its not worth busting a stitch for and ending up delaying your progress physically or mentally. If you desperately need order, tell a family member it’s the most important thing they can do for you or, if you can afford it, pay a cleaner.
The Post Partum Months
You won’t believe how fast that first month flies by. Suddenly you’re desperately clinging onto the newborn bubble while trying to adult, deal with life admin, conversations that don’t revolve around your bambino ‘being good’ or ‘sleeping through yet’ and the bloody washing! All the while baby is cluster feeding every 90 minutes, your Mother In Law/Mother/Sister/Annoying neighbour with 5 kids (Delete as appropriate) likes to send ‘helpful’ what’s apps with advice no one asked for or suddenly turns up with a bag of clothes that someone they knew was chucking out ans thought you might need (read: more bloody jobs to do) when you’re attempting a 14 second shower or heaven forbid, a fucking poo undisturbed! You’ve had more arguments with your significant other about how to ‘get the baby to sleep’ than you want to admit, resented every single human being that did not carry your child for 9 months for even daring to suggest ways to soothe your screaming bundle of love and Googled ‘Should my baby be…….(insert literally anything here)’ at 3am every night since they were born. Your body is feeling marginally better but when you look in the mirror you can’t quite recognise this person. Your clothes do not fit and maternity leggings are life, your boobs are enormous, your tummy feels like a marshmallow, your thighs have stretch marks in places you didn’t know you could get them and you are definitely pushing the limits of dry shampoo science (Day 5 post wash is acceptable for a christening right?). BUT your baby is finding it’s voice, some sort of a rhythm, maybe even starting to suggest a smile might be on the cards? And then they do. They smile intentionally for the very first time because you made a funny face or did a silly voice or just called them a good boy/girl but THEY DEFINATELY SMILED and you weep like the proud mama bear that you are and thank all the gods that you are the luckiest person alive to be given the job of being Mum to this tiny little human.
Queue more tears and googling how long you should wait until getting pregnant again?