Author’s note: I wrote most of this about 3 weeks post partum…. I filled in and updated but it’s worth sharing!!
I can’t even believe this gets to be my life. My daughter is absolute perfection. I find myself just staring at her… in shock, disbelief, adoration and pure love.
That being said, the last few weeks have been so much harder than I could have ever imagined. The world, and whatever peanut gallery that follows you delights in (low-key judging as well as) reminding you that whatever woes or feelings you have are just part of motherhood now and that you basically will never sleep again – which in my experience is not untrue… but becoming a mom and riding out this very jerky rollercoaster is a whole thing unto itself.
Our journey here was a long, and painful one and I’m lucky enough that my pregnancy as well as labor and delivery went rather text book! I was able to rock the natural/vaginal delivery I wanted even with induction – only needing a small nudge to get things started and was able to deliver my 8lb 9oz baby girl without an epidural (now, me laboring at 9+cm was definitely rethinking that one, but I do feel like a badass being able to say that I did it now that it’s over!!)
Considering ALLLLLL of that, this next phase the 4th trimester as it’s call it, is just one of those things you can’t prepare for. All the great advice in the world – as well as all of the less great and mostly unsolicited advice can’t account for what your specific baby will need and want during this stage.
That…. and the constant doubt pressing down on my shoulders makes it really tough for this mama to clear the fog and feel like I’m doing a good enough job at this. Being someone who strives for a standard I can’t possibly attain I have a hard time with this phase. The one where I just grab on tight and hope I don’t fuck any of this up!!!!
A few things for anyone looking for some insight to the 4th trimester…
Sleep… yah that whole sleep when the baby sleeps thing is bullshit. My baby only wants to be held—- so sleeping while she does is somewhat of an issue. I’ve managed to prop myself up on the couch and catch a few winks that felt safe but in reality I’m having major stress over trying to get her to accept laying down anywhere so that we are compliant with safe sleeping practice. It’s a work in progress and that has to be ok….
(Note from future me: we are making great progress with the sleeping! I made it back to my own bed at about 4 weeks and we’ve worked up to about 6 hours in the bassinet followed by a quick no-nonsense feed then back for a few hours!! Huzzah!! Truly you just have to be patient and keep trying at whatever the thing is!!!!)
When the things you hope will come naturally … don’t. For me, that thing is breastfeeding. The hospital suggested we supplement with formula early on because she was showing signs of jaundice… and I kind of feel like that one speed bump derailed us on the breastfeeding. Over time I’ve given up ground little by little, and I’ve chosen to exclusively pump to produce milk for her and fill in with formula where my supply falls short. It’s certainly not the journey I thought we’d be on, but it’s reality. In the end my baby is fed, happy and I can’t feel guilty about any of it because it’s HARD and I’m doing my very best for her- and for me. At some point my mental heath is a factor too and whatever choice I make has to take that part to account as well!
And that’s just it…. forever now, my best is what I can do and will always be ok. Motherhood is amazing, exhausting, terrifying and wonderful… I live for every memory I get to make with this girl.