Fourth Trimester, part deux


Picking right up from yesterday and moving on to the fourth trimester via the mother's perspective - or at least, this mother's perspective - let me reveal, if I may, the evolution I've experienced from preggo to mama. Physically, of course, there were a lot of changes to deal with. Some of them I looked forward to to and celebrated, others have woefully caught me by surprise. Examples you ask? Ok... Be advised, however, that I aim to be open here and while I view all these things as natural, not everyone may comfortably agree. I do have discretion, though, and a decent level of modesty so don't be too quick to navigate away.

So, the changes... Well, obviously the belly is gone. But I wasn't so anxious to get rid of that. I quite liked it actually; knowing my baby was safe inside, growing big and strong. It made me feel super feminine and, like, one with Mother Nature, or something. What I was relived for though, was having the extra room inside. You know, for all my other organs. The last three or so months of my pregnancy could be encapsulated in one word: indigestion. When your stomach is squished flat into a pancake and all your other insides are constantly pressed up against your esophagus, it's no wonder. But still... 

Then there's the elephant in the room. Ok, TWO elephants in the room: Las Lolas. I always knew I wanted to nurse, but after my baby was born and the milk came in, Holy Cow (literally)! I naturally have what is described in fashion magazines as a "boyish figure" - I bought bras more as a novelty and less as a necessity - so the new endowment has been a mixed blessing. Breastfeeding deserves in an entire post in itself so I won't go into specifics now, but suffice it to say that it has, at once, been inspiriting and disheartening.

Next along the lines of the physical is general wellness. When you're pregnant, there's a whole list of dos and don'ts. DO get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, take vitamins. DON'T smoke, drink alcohol, eat unpasteurized cheeses. When you think about it, these are guidelines everyone should follow for good health. Guidelines, mind you. I don't like extremes and I abhor deprivation. So I believe that almost anything, in moderation is fine... except for maybe the smoking. Not judging. Just saying. 

Anyway, to drive yesterday's point home: just as you would with your infant, you should emulate a  lifestyle similar to the one you maintained while pregnant. Especially if your going to breastfeed. Baby gets a portion of what you take in, so make sure it's good and healthy. You'll feel better and so will your little one. Pregnancy breeds a such a good way of life, I wonder why women don't always keep it. In fact, my sister and I joke about writing a book called "The Pregnancy Diet: Nutrition for the non-pregnant". It's kinda crazy how much better we treat our bodies when we know we're sustaining another life other than our own. And I always thought we were such a selfish people...

Now apply the same theory to sleep, exercise, and psychology. By taking the best care of yourself, you bring the happiest and best version of you into the lives of the people around you. So many new mama's hold themselves and this nurturing responsibility to an impossibly high standard; accepting a position waaayyyyyy too low on the totem pole. Yes, your baby relies on you. Yes, you need to address its needs before your own. BUT you need to take care of your basic needs too. Otherwise, you're just a shell of a woman giving hollow nourishment. 

That's why I don't feel bad about getting out for 30-45 minutes for a run around the neighborhood. It's my time to get away. Be alone. Decompress. For that short period, I'm my old self. And when I come back home, I'm always excited to see my boy and realize that I even missed him while I was gone, only now I have no superficial reason to resent him or my new life. I made sure he was fed, in a fresh diaper, and at peace before stepping out the door so that I could relax and enjoy my brief solitude. I don't think it's selfish of me to want to hold on to parts of my past, as long as I am able to integrate them with my present. Why not "have my cake and eat it too"(that one guy called it out years ago, and. as you can tell, I'm embracing it now).

So where does that put me six weeks post-partum? Well, after riding the adrenaline high from birth and the excitement of having a new baby, I'm exhausted. I try to treat myself right. I really do. But like I mentioned yesterday, you need to be one your "A game". Always. Or like the Superbowl winners who are interviewed after the game say, "give it 110%". All. The. Time. If you slip up in the slightest bit, you're pretty screwed. It takes days to make up because most days keep going without consideration of whether or not you got enough sleep or you ate the right food. It chips away at your energy, leaving you with less and less. And let's be honest, NO ONE is that perfect. I try to front buuut I'm pretty sure everyone's on to me. They can see the fatigue under my peppy disposition. Before you start rolling your eyes, thinking "Boo-hoo. What'd you think motherhood was like?" Let me assert that I love being mother to my son. I'll take it any day over this new zombie, half-life. Because the days are filled with amazement. And even the worst ones are better and more whole than anything I've ever known. But I won't pretend it's perfect or easy. Just keeping it real, that's all.



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