You know the score by now (if you’re pregnant or post-partum), they’re long, tiresome and seem like they’ll never end… Trimesters? Done ’em all mate.
That final one (in pregnancy) drags as your body gets less and less comfortable and the need to pee every hour (if you’re lucky, right?) basically becomes the day job. You can’t wait to meet your little human and see exactly who it is that’s been enjoying your uterus for the best part of a year.
The day comes, baby arrives, your rib cage is released back to a semi-normal breathing pattern and vast emotions dance throughout your mind, body, and soul, but you’ve done it! You’ve plodded over all three (three-monthly) stepping stones across the good river pregnancy: signed, sealed…delivered. Sleep-deprivation is your new best friend, never leaving your side but the need to pee constantly has gone – winner!
Oh but wait! You can’t actually go and pee willy-nilly, in fact, you may not pee for six hours straight because the cluster feeding just won’t quit and that annoying neighbour, Mrs Fourth-Trimester (wait, there’s a fourth?) will not let you shut the door in her face and get back to any semblance of life (whatever that may look like now – definitely nothing like it did before).
Everything you read tells you to keep your energy up whilst breastfeeding, eat “well” (ha!), and drink plenty of water. Having heard a few tips during pregnancy I felt more that prepared for this (God bless the pre-motherhood arrogance – the universe’s way of mocking us mere mortals right royally when we are at our weakest), dotting bottles of water around the house so I could always reach some if I got stuck beneath my new-born, breastfeeding… but I couldn’t always reach some. In fact I could barely ever reach some.
My lips were permanently dry, a constant thirst harangued me and venturing downstairs became a bi-weekly luxury (I shit thee not).
Taking a baby-moon (Google it, so worth it if this is an option/ your first-born) was literally the best thing I did for me and my baby boy in the hideous heat of Summer 2018. Basically you hole up with your babe and stay in bed for like 24-48 hours. I loved it so much I did a couple of 48 hour stints, without touching the closed curtains, it was kind of fun trying to guess if the light outside was 3am or dusk.
The reality was a constant sense of pain, lack of sleep, feeling sick from lack of sleep and thirst. Also, sweating, profusely, no one tells you about the mum-sweats but man, they are real! Some days so real that I’d choose a shower over a meal just to cool down and compose myself.
Finding my local sling-library was also a huge step in the right direction for having some hands-free time from baby limpit. There are often groups for these on Facebook and the idea is to try-before-you-buy the various slings on the market (as they can be pretty pricey brand new but, if you’re a fan of pre-loved stuff then there’s plenty on auction sites and the Facebook marketplace often have them).
Although baby-wearing returned to me the use of my hands it could still be super claustrophobic at times, being permanently attached to this new, mini-human stranger.
And yet, looking back to those first three months with a baby in my arms, I replay it like a film, with rose-tinted camera lenses for sure.
Because all I see now is the love that we found between us, the connections we made: the first smiles, the endless gazing into each other’s eyes, the inability for my baby boy to be placed onto any surface other than my chest. For three months.
The fourth trimester?
The greatest love story ever told.