Hey there, amazing moms-to-be and new mamas!
Welcome to the wild, wonderful, and often bat-shit crazy world of the 4th trimester. Buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy, beautiful ride. I'm here to share some real talk on how to survive those initial months after giving birth – a period that's often more challenging and transformative than we ever expected.
Embrace the Chaos
Let's start with the truth bomb: it's chaotic. Your world is now filled with sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and a love so overwhelming it makes your heart ache. Give yourself permission to embrace the chaos. It's okay not to have it all figured out. No one does!
Repeat after me: self-care isn't selfish. In fact, it's your secret weapon for survival during the 4th trimester. Take those precious moments when your little one is napping to indulge in a warm shower, sip on a hot cup of coffee (haha sike no mom ever gets to enjoy that!) or simply close your eyes for a few minutes. Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup.
You're not a superhero (although, you're pretty damn close), and accepting help is not a sign of weakness. I had to learn that the hard way and honestly it didn't truly resonate until my second, but I want you to be better than me. Whether it's a neighbor dropping off a homemade meal, a friend babysitting for an hour, or your partner taking the night shift, embrace the village around you. You'll be amazed at the support waiting to lift you up.
Nourish Your Body
Eating may take a backseat amidst the chaos, but your body needs nourishment more than ever. Stock up on unfussy, nutritious snacks. Think granola bars, pre-cut fruits, and frozen Trader Joe's meals (Costco works too!). And yes, treat yourself to that occasional guilty pleasure – Lord knows you've earned it! During my postpartum period I sipped on a lot of bone broths and smoothies. They were easy to prepare and I could throw them in a thermos or sippy cup and cart it around.
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps... SIKE
Contrary to popular advice, sleeping when the baby sleeps is rarely realistic. I don't know about you, but whenever some well-meaning (often older) lady would say that to me I wanted to scream. I think the real problem is that we're often trying to use the time when baby is sleeping to actually eat, shit and/or take care of any other children. I want to tell you to just let the laundry or the dishes pile up and sure, yea sometimes. But if you're anything like me, a messy house stresses you out.
What worked for me was outsourcing as much as I could (someone to come clean, Doordashing food) and co-sleeping whenever feasible and safe.
Outsource, Outsource, Outsource
To that end, during this period if you can put someone else in charge of chores you're not able to get around it, do it. Personally, a messy home a piles of laundry are a recipe for a mental health disaster for me. When I gave birth to both Nola and Stevie, I made sure I had someone (my mama) there to help me with the laundry, grocery shopping, and dishes. My saint of a mother-in-law also paid to have a maid service come once a week for 3 months. If you're able to do that or someone is willing to pay for it... it's a wise use of funds.
Give Yourself Grace
Let's repeat it for the people in the back – give yourself grace. You're navigating uncharted waters, and perfection is a myth. Some days you will feel like a hot mess, and that's perfectly okay. Celebrate the victories, no matter how small, and let go of the rest.
Celebrate Milestones (Yours Too!)
While you're marveling at your baby's first smiles and tiny triumphs, don't forget to celebrate your milestones too. Whether it's getting through a day without a breakdown or conquering a breastfeeding challenge, acknowledge and honor your journey.
In The End Remember: You're Doing Amazing, Mama!
To all the new mamas out there, you're doing incredible work. The 4th trimester is a rollercoaster, but you're the fearless trailblazer. So, take a deep breath, soak in those newborn snuggles, and know that you're not alone on this crazy, beautiful ride.
Sending you all the love and strength.