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My fourth trimester story

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It’s mental health awareness week, so I wanted to share my story on the fourth trimester. I had my second daughter a few months ago and I had time to reflect on how different my fourth trimester was second time around and what I would share with a friend on what to expect.

Nothing prepares you for the moment you take that tiny human home and it dawns on you that you are in charge of taking care of them! In the first week, my daughter had breast milk jaundice and we were in the hospital for 5 days. We couldn’t get a hang of feeding and I felt I

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failed when I gave her formula. A doctor sat me down and harshly told me “your daughter doesn’t care where the milk came from, she just wants to be fed”. He was right of course, but you build up motherhood so much in your head that real life doesn’t match and you are thrown. The scare of jaundice made me an anxious mum, we had her on a two hour feed schedule for the first month and we were obsessed with her weight gain. Between feeds, I expressed and I was exhausted with no sleep so I never just cuddled my daughter- it was feed, express and maybe
SelfishMother.com
3
a bit of rest. I was alarmed to not feel the magical bond of mum and child which I read about. My husband was immensely supportive and my parents were around to help but that only made me more anxious because I saw my friends get the hang of things early on. I was exhausted but I forced myself to go out and mingle because that’s what everyone was doing. Each time I questioned myself on why my baby didn’t sleep through the night or why I couldn’t do it all like everyone else could.

I honestly don’t know what helped or when the change happened,

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but little things helped. I spoke to my husband and he made sure I got some me time: hair appointment, fitness classes. I always assumed the mums I met had figured it all out but when I expressed my frustrations, I found others had concerns of their own. It felt like as soon as one person opened up, others felt safe to do so. I spoke to the health visitor at my children centre who offers tips and moral support. Slowly but surely the fog lifted and I found my stride.

The second experience was a world away from the first mainly because I was aware of

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just how challenging the fourth trimester will be. And here are my main takeaways for staying sane that I would tell any mum to be who asked:

– Take your time to emerge: I didn’t push myself to head out until I was ready so there were a lot of sofa days.

– Give yourself a break: I pushed myself to express the first time, knowing it didn’t work for me. So this time, I listened to my body and introduced formula when I couldn’t feed.

– Lean on your village: It takes a village to raise a child. I am grateful that I have my village  but I am

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not going to beat myself about not doing it all alone. It’s hard with a newborn and if you have people in your corner, take the help!

– Mingle with other parents: It feels daunting to meet mums especially when you are struggling but go meet other mums and share your concerns. I have had the most personal chats with other mums who I randomly ran into at Sainsbury’s.

– Bond grows over time: I realised that first time around, the schedule and exhaustion kept me from just hanging out with my daughter. So this time I made sure to have some cuddle

SelfishMother.com
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time every day, no feeds or phone or anything.

And most of all, speak to someone if you need help (Spouse, GP, health visitor).

We prepare for pregnancy and birth but no one prepares you to be a mother! Your child doesn’t need a perfect mum, just a happy one!

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- 13 May 19

It’s mental health awareness week, so I wanted to share my story on the fourth trimester. I had my second daughter a few months ago and I had time to reflect on how different my fourth trimester was second time around and what I would share with a friend on what to expect.

Nothing prepares you for the moment you take that tiny human home and it dawns on you that you are in charge of taking care of them! In the first week, my daughter had breast milk jaundice and we were in the hospital for 5 days. We couldn’t get a hang of feeding and I felt I failed when I gave her formula. A doctor sat me down and harshly told me “your daughter doesn’t care where the milk came from, she just wants to be fed”. He was right of course, but you build up motherhood so much in your head that real life doesn’t match and you are thrown. The scare of jaundice made me an anxious mum, we had her on a two hour feed schedule for the first month and we were obsessed with her weight gain. Between feeds, I expressed and I was exhausted with no sleep so I never just cuddled my daughter- it was feed, express and maybe a bit of rest. I was alarmed to not feel the magical bond of mum and child which I read about. My husband was immensely supportive and my parents were around to help but that only made me more anxious because I saw my friends get the hang of things early on. I was exhausted but I forced myself to go out and mingle because that’s what everyone was doing. Each time I questioned myself on why my baby didn’t sleep through the night or why I couldn’t do it all like everyone else could.

I honestly don’t know what helped or when the change happened, but little things helped. I spoke to my husband and he made sure I got some me time: hair appointment, fitness classes. I always assumed the mums I met had figured it all out but when I expressed my frustrations, I found others had concerns of their own. It felt like as soon as one person opened up, others felt safe to do so. I spoke to the health visitor at my children centre who offers tips and moral support. Slowly but surely the fog lifted and I found my stride.

The second experience was a world away from the first mainly because I was aware of just how challenging the fourth trimester will be. And here are my main takeaways for staying sane that I would tell any mum to be who asked:

– Take your time to emerge: I didn’t push myself to head out until I was ready so there were a lot of sofa days.

– Give yourself a break: I pushed myself to express the first time, knowing it didn’t work for me. So this time, I listened to my body and introduced formula when I couldn’t feed.

– Lean on your village: It takes a village to raise a child. I am grateful that I have my village  but I am not going to beat myself about not doing it all alone. It’s hard with a newborn and if you have people in your corner, take the help!

– Mingle with other parents: It feels daunting to meet mums especially when you are struggling but go meet other mums and share your concerns. I have had the most personal chats with other mums who I randomly ran into at Sainsbury’s.

– Bond grows over time: I realised that first time around, the schedule and exhaustion kept me from just hanging out with my daughter. So this time I made sure to have some cuddle time every day, no feeds or phone or anything.

And most of all, speak to someone if you need help (Spouse, GP, health visitor).

We prepare for pregnancy and birth but no one prepares you to be a mother! Your child doesn’t need a perfect mum, just a happy one!

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Mom to two amazing girls, amateur photographer... love travel, flowers, and all things pretty or funny!

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