By QUOIDA LAUZON
I was talking to an expecting mom and asked her if she was ready for the fourth trimester. Many people look at me very confused when I say the words “fourth trimester.” However, this is the 12-week period after having your baby that not many people give a high level of attention to. It’s a time where a lot of physical and emotional changes are happening. Your baby is adjusting to this new world outside of the womb, and you’re adjusting to life as a new mom.
This year has brought a lot of challenges, and it is important for new parents to feel a little more hopeful being home with their baby during a global pandemic. This trimester is a learning curve, but you got this.
First, know that asking for help is a strength. Team work makes the dream work, and it is important to know who that dream team is, who will be allowed to visit, and who will be there to answer the phone when you call. Because we are all navigating a pandemic, you need to know what is going to make you and your partner feel comfortable and not comfortable.
Having visitors do a chore or drop off food and care packages is going to take something off of your plate, and that’s going to make a difference. Make sure to communicate to your partner/support people your wishes of who, when and where people will be seeing you and baby, as well as how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Make a game plan, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about what you have decided to do.
Stay connected with loved ones, even if it is a group text so everyone can get updates and you can ask for advice or vent.
Trust me when I say this: Let yourself nap when the baby does and go to bed early. You’ll be glad you did. Consider delegating tasks that you can to your partner/support people. I highly suggest new mothers invest in a baby carrier to wear their babies. You will be able to snuggle your baby and also be hands free. During the day, do some things you love to do that uplift you. Listen to your favorite upbeat song, sing and sway with your baby. Take some time for self-care too. The little things add up. If you love to read, work out, paint or craft, do those a few times a week when your partner is snuggling your baby. Just know you can’t pour from an empty cup, and even though these early months are a huge adjustment, know that you are important.
The author is a registered nurse in the Capital District who works to support new mothers postpartum. Learn more about her at www.nurseq.com.