I’m in the home stretch of the fourth trimester and these weekly updates will be coming to a close shortly. I will likely transition to a monthly postpartum update until Finn’s first birthday.
I’m so glad that I decided to write about the immediate postpartum period because I’ve connected with so many women who have found them to be helpful and relatable. I’ve also had so many of you tell me that you enjoyed “reliving” the early days through what I’ve shared.
Giving a voice to the fourth trimester is important to me because I think that it’s a very unique, hard and vulnerable time in a mother and infant’s life that doesn’t receive enough attention.
From a technical standpoint, the fourth trimester is the first 12 weeks of a baby’s life outside of the womb. It’s a time of huge change for both baby and mom. Baby is going through massive shifts in adapting to brand new world and mom is going through massive hormonal changes in addition to adjusting to all that come with bringing home a baby (whether it’s your first or fourth!).
All that to say…it’s a pretty wild time of life that nothing can truly prepare you for until you walk through it. It’s been the craziest but most beautiful time of my life and one thing I keep coming back to over and over again is how freaking amazing the mom tribe is.
When I first announced my pregnancy, I was struck by people who replied, “you’re going to be a great mom.” I was like, “wow…that is the nicest compliment ever because I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.” It was a confidence builder that I didn’t even know I needed. Those comments touched my heart deeply.
Through my pregnancy I was blown away by how open and honest other moms were in sharing their experience and their knowledge. I truly don’t believe that I’ve ever had that kind of open and honest dialogue with so many women in my life! So THANK YOU to all of you who took the time to email, comment and message me throughout my pregnancy when I asked so many questions. I deeply value the insight you offered and it has been an amazing resource to me and so many others.
And now as a new mother, I continue to be amazed by the outpouring of love and support that I’ve been offered by other mothers. When I shared my birth story, so many other women called me a warrior. I can’t tell you how much healing that one word brought me. When Finn was days old and I was walking around the house holding him and in tears, I had friends quietly drop gifts and groceries at the front door. A friend of mine from college whose mom lives here in Charlotte brought me a meal, a diaper bag and gifted me a massage with her favorite therapist and offered to watch Finn while I got it. One woman gifted me an American Airlines gift certificate so that I could visit my family. Another Charlotte mom of a six month old who reads my blog dropped off a delicious meal on my front porch. A mom of five filled up my freezer with freezer meals that she batch cooks once a month in order to feed her family home-cooked meals. I’ve had other moms reach out and invite me to come to their homes if I ever need to get out of mine. I’ve had friends just come and sit with me in my own home. I could keep going for hundreds more words. The kindness has been awe-inspiring.
From the outside looking in, you hear a lot about moms being a tough group and that a lot of judging and shaming happens. While I know that exists, what I have experienced gives me hope that there is another way and that we as women can be champions for each other and help fellow women feel like warriors in their own lives.
I have never felt so loved, supported or seen as I have through pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood, and to get that from other women has been the most incredible blessing. To say that it has inspired me would be a massive understatement. I pray that I can give back to others in an equally selfless, beautiful and loving way. It’s my hope that I’m starting here by sharing my experience of motherhood in an unfiltered and honest way. We do each other a wonderful service by sharing vulnerably and as a new mom, it helps so much with not feeling alone in finding your way in a totally new role and lifestyle.
So that’s where I’m at for my nine week postpartum recap. It took me hours to write this post between feedings, cat naps, rocking and shushing and diaper changes but I’m full of gratitude. Stretched to my emotional limits. And so ready to give back.
I’ve had so many women who I know in my “real life” and also those from the online world whom I’ve never met reach out and say that they are here for me should I need support, advice or just an ear. Please know that goes both ways and I am here holding space for all of you too.