The Fourth Trimester Truths!

The Fourth Trimester, truths. 
I have circled around this topic for over a week, wondering where to begin. What is the most important? What do moms or care providers really need, or want, to know? It has occurred to me that this is somewhat similar to what a new mom would experience with a newborn baby. 
With a little wine, and conversation with my mom friends, I realized that this will be a forever ongoing informational blog. As all birth experiences are different and the processing of birth is unique to every mom that endures it, so the information here will be ongoing, from various perspectives and experiences. 
I want to start by sharing my experience from last week while attempting to create a postpartum workshop based around the normal postpartum feelings and experiences. Most of you already know that birth can be challenging. Planning for it takes months, and even at that point there is a grey area of how it will evolve, and how our preconceived expectations often lead to disappointment 
I was emotionally/professionally triggered when beginning my research on Google; Which is likely where most moms will turn in an attempt to understand ‘What the hell is happening in my mind?!!’ I was frustrated beyond belief at what the search engine came up with. First of all, Postpartum Depression popped up.. Then the postpartum diet... There was nothing in the first two pages of the search results that was relevant to the Fourth Trimester, and certainly nothing that I consider to be at all helpful to a new mom! If I can give you one piece of advice, stay away from Google during the fourth trimester. It will do nothing but overwhelm you. 
It is human nature to "nest" weeks before the birth of baby. Laundry, organizing, groceries, all of which are great planning techniques. What most new parents and family members don't plan is the postpartum vacation. Yes, I said it. A vacation during postpartum, also known as the fourth trimester. The oversight before birth is in the actual meal preparation, preparing ice packs for sore undercarriages, stocking Epson salts for sitzs baths, and making visitor do to lists. And a deep understanding of what our bodies and minds are going to experience. 
  So the first thing I really want to share with you is a concept that I learned during my Perinatal Practitioners course, and a Birthing convention. The fourth trimester begins immediately after you birth the baby. These moments are IMPORTANT, and are often rushed by medical staff. Honestly, what the hell is the rush? Living in this moment is one of the most important moments of your parenting career. 
Here’s your ‘heads-up’: You, your partner, or your Doula, are going to have to take charge over the moment. The baby will still weigh the same in 20 minutes, and likely won't grow a foot in that time frame, but medical staff is trained to seize the moment as well. So hold onto the moment and the baby! Allow for you and your partner, along with your baby, to hold onto each other. Your world needs to download and process this experience. Request for quiet, take the hat off of the baby, smell the sweetness. In all honesty this wee little baby just worked their butt off, right along with momma! And bewildered dad! Take the reward for all of that hard work and focus on each other. Experience the JOY! 
The reason I suggest this is because there is a process happening in this moment that is very important for new moms and babies. It is a positive feedback loop and I am going to attempt to make this simple, as medical terminology is not for baby brains! 
When you hold baby skin to skin it regulates body temperature, the pulsing of the baby’s head (look for it) is actually excreting hormones which are then triggering moms hormones. These hormones help excrete milk production, and then regulate the emotions. This practice also distracts mom while being stitched if there was any mishaps to her vagina during birth. Don't let that scare you, it will go back together again. 
This moment, when mom is bewildered and exhausted is very important. This is when the fourth trimester begins! Take this step as the first step; Allow for your body to naturally adjust to the transition into Motherhood. 
 With all this being said, there are circumstances that require medical staff to take baby immediately for further assessment. Barring any such circumstances, or immediately after the baby is returned to you, make sure that the first opportunity to hold baby is a slow and long one. As ultimately, holding baby skin to skin with mom or dad is important for baby bonding. 
The overall consensus is this:Take it as it comes. There are so many variations of 'normal experiences' that your baby could lead you through and not one of them is more ideal than the next. Let the baby lead, and (s)he will lead you down the path that's right for them, therefore removing some of the trial and error of parenting.  
Just remember the fourth trimester is about bonding with baby..Balancing out your body chemistry. (that is why we have maternity leave).
Allow the universe the time to download.   

Katrina Brown
Certified Doula and Lactation Support

New service birthed in Chatham-Kent | Chatham Daily News

We were featured in the newspaper! You can read the article here...

New service birthed in Chatham-Kent | Chatham Daily News

Join us at the Breastfeeding Challenge!!!!!

Come and meet the Doulas of the Doula Collective Friday, August 7th at the Downtown Chatham Centre! We will be at the breastfeeding challenge and would love to see you there!
Here are the details!