Newborn Baby

The Fourth Trimester

The one no one tells you about

The Fourth Trimester is a way of describing the period after birth when both parents and baby are adjusting to their new lives.

Your baby has been so warm and safe in the Mum's womb, now they've got to get used to a sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells, as well as a frequently colder environment. In the womb they were constantly fed and rocked, which explains the cluster feeding doesn't it?

It's no wonder a babies cries more in their first three months than at any other time of their lives. By describing this period as the Fourth Trimester it can make the overwhelming feeling of responsibility, change in lifestyle and needs of the baby easier to deal with. 

Remember, you can't spoil a baby during the Fourth Trimester, it's a harsh reality check going from that wonderful womb to the real world. 

 

100 days of darkness

While the Fourth Trimester has almost a romantic sense about it, the reality for most new parents is 100 days of darkness.

It doesn't matter how long you have dreamed about this baby, the days are long, and the nights even longer. It's easy for this difficult period to have a post traumatic response, known as Postnatal Depression. If the poem below hits a raw spot send me an email to anna@am-healing.co.uk and we can discuss how therapy can help you. 

You are about to enter 100 dark days

Where you live in a fog and can’t see through the haze,

You just need to get through this first trial

New Mum, I’m with you in spirit, mile by mile

The first 30 days there is so much pain

Your body stitching itself back together,

As your mind tries to keep from going insane

Breastfeeding hurts and no one said

The cluster feeding is a time you dread,

The guilt if you stop but the pain if you carry on

It constantly feels like no one has won

I see that look when you hear another Mum say

“the baby flew out, not a tear that day”,

While you had every midwife under the sun

Come to your house to inspect your bum

You need to clean up the adult nappies

Before everyone turns up for their newborn squeeze,

Your new scar is numb and nothing fits

Your tummy resembles giblets

How many visitors said “how is Mum?

You don’t look well, we shouldn’t have come”,

But no one saw you and the trail of tears

No one could hear your inner screaming fears

“Don’t touch their head there”

“It’s time for their feed”,

“Can they see the breastmilk leak?”

“I don’t think I can cope with everyone seeing me this weak”

I know the struggle this morning has been

A shower with the door open

So you could sing,

To that tiny baby whose having a breakdown

Every time you try and put them down

How do you tell people,

No you haven’t gone out

you no longer know how to leave the house,

you can’t remember how to set up the pram

you can’t breastfeed in a Costa that’s rammed


How do you tell your partner “I miss you”

When they’re right there

“Let’s hug on the sofa without a care”,

But the baby screams, your boobs leak

What’s that smell? Instead, “It’s your turn” you shriek


How many emotions can you feel at one time?

Love, sadness, anger, guilt and pride

“I feel fine” what an enormous lie.


I see that look when another Mum says

“my baby sleeps 7 – 7” or “Breast is best”,

You’re beating yourself up, wondering how you’ve gone wrong

You feel like you’ve failed already and it’s not been that long


But as you near to day 101

You find the unspoken fourth trimester is done,

The baby smiles more and the relationship grows

Maybe you’re even getting 4 hours sleep in a row!


The days are still long

But you are starting to find,

You survived and didn’t quite lose your mind


You aren’t the same person as before

It’s an evolved woman that walks through the door,

One whose patience levels are higher, has survived the worst pain

I think she deserves a glass of Champagne