It’s an evil conspiracy. There are hundreds of books, a multitude of classes, and plenty of people to offer advice on how to improve the daily woes of pregnancy and how to endure labor and delivery. But after the baby is born, you are sent home with literally no plans on how to survive. The first few months after a baby is born can certainly be called “the 4th trimester.” Why doesn’t anyone prepare you for this? I guess no one would ever actually have kids if they fully understood what they were getting themselves into – still, it seems unfair to allow a new mom to enter the realm of the 4th trimester without being prepped.
I realize that other moms fall into a deep, full blown postpartum depression and that my situation is laughable compared to those experiences. But after the birth of my first daughter, I was fraught with anxiety and sadness. I would lie in bed, fully awake even though I desperately needed the sleep, worrying about the errands I was planning on doing the next day. What if she started crying in the store? What if I couldn’t find a place to nurse her? What if I had a complete anxiety attack in the middle of the diaper aisle?
I felt better prepared to deal with the 4th trimester again due to the simple fact that I had gone through it before. What I was in denial about, however, was that my second baby was a completely different person than Lily. Vivienne felt that it was necessary to cry and scream the first eight weeks of her life unless being held. I had many moments where I thought about putting her in the crib and just leaving the house. Cries were so common in our household that when she would really start screaming I didn’t even care anymore.
I was also in total denial about being submitted to the tortures of sleep deprivation again. (It wasn’t that bad when Lily was a baby, right? And she sleeps now…)
I would not have survived these weeks if it hadn’t been for the solace, support and company of my mom. Jake also played a key role, even though he was in the midst of the 4th trimester as well. Getting up with Vivienne in the middle of the night, taking the girls out of the house so I can have “alone time” and hugging me until I stop crying have been essential pieces of getting through each day.
Vivienne is 4 months old now. Slowly but surely, we are surviving the seemingly endless days of the 4th trimester. I am beginning to see the light once again.
*another version of this entry can be viewed at mamalode.com