What No One Tells You About the Fourth Trimester

What is the Fourth Trimester?

“Whenever you feel like you are failing, look in the eyes of your child, and know your value.” 

-Unknown

The fourth trimester is formally known as the transition period after your child is born, where you and your newborn adjust to a new life together. Your newborn is learning how to adapt to life outside the womb while you, the mother, are learning to live your life while being responsible for another one! This includes your postpartum recovery. And yes, it can be very exciting, but I don’t think enough mothers talk about how absolutely overwhelming it can feel.

My Experience

The first three weeks after my daughter was born were extremely rough for me, physically and mentally. I had a very bad case of the baby blues which caused me to cry constantly, interchanging between feelings of sadness and happiness. There were complications during my labor and delivery which made this a difficult experience for me. Any time I would think or even attempt to speak about that experience, I was instantly in tears. With the change in hormones, the lack of sleep, and adjusting to a new identity as a mother, I felt completely out of control and unlike myself. It felt as if I was crumbling and there was nothing I could do about it. I thank my lucky stars for the support system I had during that time and continue to have. But I do wish I had a heads up of what to expect during postpartum.

Allow me to Elaborate…

Here are 10 things you should know about becoming a new mother (based on my personal experience):

  1. You will be extremely sore and bleed for weeks, if delivering the baby vaginally. I cannot speak on C-sections but I can imagine that takes a toll on the body as well. This is not to scare anyone, just setting the expectation. Delivering a child is hard work and possibly the most painful experience you will ever encounter in your life. Naturally, the healing process will be a bit slow. Make rest a priority, keep a balanced diet, and know that adult diapers, TUCKS pads, and sitz baths are your friends.
  2. You may not immediately bond with your child. Every mother is different. Some automatically establish a bond with their child and feel as if they are on cloud nine. It takes time for others. If I am being honest, I did not immediately bond with my daughter. I loved her, no question about it. But in all transparency, she terrified me. That strong bond came later after spending day in and day out with her, learning and getting to know her. I felt extremely guilty those first few weeks and questioned if I was even mother material. Don’t be me and give yourself some grace- this does not make you a terrible mother.
  3. If breastfeeding is affecting your mental health, then it is not worth it! I cannot stress this enough. Breastfeeding is extremely hard, tiring, and demanding. I tried breastfeeding but my daughter wouldn’t latch. Then I tried exclusively pumping until my milk supply started to dwindle. Then I tried supplementing with formula while keeping up with pumping. My experience with this made me feel less than a woman and a mother. I wanted to breastfeed my daughter so badly, but my circumstances didn’t allow for it, and I felt really guilty about this. I finally gave up after 4 weeks. A baby that is fed is what’s best. More importantly, a happy mother is what’s best to love and care for your child. Don’t beat yourself up over this.
  4. You will cry, A LOT. Oh, those baby blues are fierce. You will cry when you are happy. You will cry when you are sad. You will cry because you are exhausted. You will cry WITH your baby. Invest in tissues and ride the wave but also make it a priority to share those feelings with your loved ones. More importantly, know that the baby blues and postpartum depression are different. If you are feeling hopeless and depressed after those first initial weeks, please discuss this with your doctor.
  5. You will lose yourself. That person that existed before your little one came into your world is gone. That version of yourself needed to die for a new and improved version to be reborn. The 2.0 version of yourself that allows you to be a kick ass momma! The first few weeks, I grieved my former self. I cried for her, longed to be back with her, but ultimately, I had to let her go. To my new mommas and mommas to be, let her go and get to know this new version. Embrace and celebrate her and know that it is okay to feel whole and broken, simultaneously.
  6. Sleeping when your baby sleeps is much easier said than done. Seriously. I have yet to master this. You will have an intense desire to do other things such as shower, eat, clean up, etc. But if you can master this, then that is amazing. Get all the rest you can get!
  7. Self-care is more important now than ever. It can be as simple as going out for a drive and getting fresh air. Do something for yourself, by yourself. You are a mother but that is not all that you are. You’re still a person in need of nurturing. When you are in a good space mentally, your baby will thrive. On those days that I felt like I was reaching a mental breakdown, my husband would force me to leave the house. I would take a drive or run errands and believe me, those 1 or 2 hours away were a life saver.
  8. Unsolicited advice will be thrown your way constantly. Everyone will have an opinion on what they think you should, or should not do with your baby. I really don’t have much to say about this besides take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. What works for one does not work for all. Follow your gut, momma! The instincts are there.
  9. Mom guilt will rear its ugly head on almost a daily basis. You will constantly question if you are doing enough for your baby. And on the bad days when it seems your baby is inconsolable, you will blame yourself and wonder what you could have done differently. I am still learning that there is no handbook to motherhood, or even parenting. No one really knows what they are doing! It will always be trial and error and then sticking to what works.
  10. You are not alone in how you feel. No matter how shameful or embarrassing. What I have learned after being transparent with my experience so far is that there are many mothers who feel the same way I feel. The expectations of a new mother are extremely high and unrealistic. Some mothers can live up to those expectations but for most of us, it is a challenge and often, we are riding the Hot Mess Express.

In Conclusion…

Motherhood has been terrifying, exciting, chaotic, and blissful so far. I am learning and growing and laughing and crying through it all. My daughter is breaking me down and building me back up in ways I never knew I needed. And there is something so powerful and necessary about that. She is making me into a better version of myself, not only for others but for myself too.

To all my new and expecting mothers, know that this transition will challenge you in ways you never thought were possible. Know that there is beauty and strength in this transition. But above all, know that you can do this, and you have a whole community behind you, cheering you on!

To all new mommies, what are some challenges did you encounter as you entered motherhood? Did your postpartum experience go as expected? And to those who are not mothers, did any of these experiences mentioned come as a surprise to you? Let’s all have an open conversation (with respect and no judgement, of course)!

Posted by

Like a lotus flower, I emerge from dark, murky waters to reveal my beauty. Feeling and healing on this journey of life; glowing and flowing. I have always loved writing, but it has taken me 29 trips around the sun before I had to confidence to share publicly. I hope my writing, which is near and dear to my heart, sparks light and love in all of you. Make yourself at home and enjoy the ride!

36 thoughts on “What No One Tells You About the Fourth Trimester

  1. I actually wrote an article about how mental health can be affected by pregnancy, after it was suggested as a topic by one of my readers, but even though I researched that I didn’t come across most the stuff you mentioned in your post. I guess that’s where the experience of being a mother or a woman can give you insight men might not have

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! Unfortunately, motherhood overall has been glamorized. Being a mother is a blessing but not enough mothers are honest on how overwhelming and incredibly difficult it can be, especially in the beginning. Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here I am 6 weeks PP and experienced all of those things. Expecting none!!! I watched so many you tube videos on how to prepare for post partum and most of it was buy icepacks and drink water. None about how it will completely mess your mind up! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand. I had no idea what I was in for and man, I wish there was more of a guidebook for this! But we got this 🙏🏼 it does get easier over time and I’m not sure if it actually gets easier or if you just learn and adapt more with it. Thank you for reading and commenting! ❤️

      Like

    1. Thank you! ❤️ it was really hard being vulnerable about this. I think back and it brings tears to my eyes because I truly struggled 😩. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  3. Another beautiful read. And I never knew of this trimester tbh, I thought stepping into mommyhood was like leaving one hood and driving into the next, but this beautifully explains that it’s still a journey just with a new passenger and I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what it is, a journey with a passenger ✨ I love that! And man, it quite a ride filled with many ups and downs. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I’m a better person because of it 🙏🏼 thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  4. This was so good to read, when it comes to having a baby all you really see is how it’s the best thing ever, not many people talk about the fact that there’s actually a lot of struggles that come right after pregnancy. I’m glad you have such an amazing support system around you and I wish you and the wee one all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, motherhood tends to be glamorized. It’s a blessing but definitely a rollercoaster of emotions at all times! I am so grateful to have the support system I have; it truly takes a village. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You summed it up so well! Thank you for sharing your experiences it helps others but also helps you clear your mind as well. Some women are so afraid of the bad and think it’s just them. But all moms go through at least one thing you shared. So thank you for sharing!
    Keep posting I love to read your blogs💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❤️ yes, it’s crazy how much we go through as mothers that no one speaks on! It’s nice to know you’re not alone sometimes. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  6. Such an amazing read. I’m not a mother but I do hope to be one day and this post is such a great I sight on what to expect, the reality. Thank you boo for sharing this with us. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! ❤️ a lot of people like to discuss only the good things. Motherhood is a beautiful journey but it’s not always going to feel good or run smoothly. Ultimately, that’s the real beauty of it. It’s perfectly flawed.

      Like

  7. This is a great post. Something to think about when thinking about having children. Not saying I didn’t want children after reading. It is my dream to be a mum. Thank you for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s refreshing to read authentic and realistic takes besides all the glamourizing we see in the media. I’m not a mom, but I’ve heard many similar takes on #4. It’s completely normal to experience different emotions especially with such a big and beautiful transition. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is inspiring that you shared your experience on having a baby and hoe it transformed your life. I haven’t been pregnant and I don’t know if I ever will be but I can understand it is a life changing experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was really interesting. I have never been pregnant but I am wanting to have a baby in the near future so this was such an interesting blog post to read. Thank you for sharing such an open and honest experience.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Angie,

    I completely understand you and little by little you’ll get through all of this.. I have two sons (one is almost 8 and one 11 years old) and let me tell you sometimes I still feel like shit. Mom guilt, I still cry but I take each day one step at a time! Don’t forget to take care of yourself and don’t lose yourself. Much love to you💕 we need more post like this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! It does get easier with each passing day. I accept the bad days when they come and cherish the good ones. Its all worth it! My baby girl brings so much joy into my life but I’m also adamant about maintaining a balance and remembering to nurture myself from time to time. Thank you for reading and commenting! ❤

      Like

  12. Love this post! I can relate to so much. I also really struggled to think about my birth for a while, it made me feel like I was having a breakdown. Thankfully I feel like I’ve processed and come to terms with the trauma more now.

    Corinne x

    Like

  13. First and foremost, CONGRATS! I felt this post in my soul. It is so hard going through something that others seem to handle effortlessly. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing what’s on your mind and in your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I feel so many mothers feel the same way I felt but are too ashamed to admit it out of the fear of judgment. I am happy to be that voice! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      Like

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