When I was pregnant, I thought the hardest part was the 3rd trimester and the labor and delivery part. Now I understand that the 4th trimester is really the hardest. I haven’t heard the first 12 weeks of your baby’s life being referred to as the 4th trimester until the last month of my pregnancy. I thought it was an interesting tongue-in-cheek type comment, but it really is hard. I don’t remember my pregnancy being this hard. In the first month I even joked about sticking baby back inside.
Reasons why the 4th trimester is the hardest:
- Labor and Delivery is a full body workout – you are so sore. Everything hurts, things you didn’t know existed hurt, and you know what isn’t all that much fun when you’re already hurting? Weight lifting. Bending over and picking up baby is definitely a workout.
- Going to the bathroom is painful and scary. Not only are your pushing muscles completely spent, but for some reason your body decides to hold it in for a few days. So when you do go #2, ouch! Also, if you got stitches down there, going #1 isn’t fun either. And wiping isn’t a thing that happens for a while so hurray for spray bottles and iodine. And let’s not mention the month-long period from Hell!
- If you thought 3rd-trimester insomnia was bad, try having to feed the baby every 2-3 hours (and that clock starts from the beginning of the feeding – which can take over an hour). What is sleep?
- Your own recovery is slow. So when you’re sick you’re told to get lots of rest, right? Well, with a new baby there is no such thing, so (if you’re like me) you tend to take a long time to recover.
- Ow my boobs! Breastfeeding is super painful at first – not just with latching issues but with general sensitivity, engorgement, blocked ducts, etc pain – OMG don’t lie on your tummy or have the shower spray your font.
- Learning curve. Being a new mom is hard work. You have to learn so much in a short amount of time about feeding, changing, playing, nurturing, etc. The more you read, the more confusing it gets since there are so many theories on this baby stuff. So it takes time while to figure out your own rhythm. But at least you can stock up on freebies, right?
Just when you think you’ve got this baby thing figured out and get the hang of things – it is time to return to work!
How did you handle the fourth trimester? Let’s commiserate mamas!