We all know that pregnancy is a time to care for yourself and your growing baby. Just as important however, is the time right after birth. The first 12 weeks of physical, mental, and emotional change, not only for the baby adjusting to a new world outside of the womb, but also for the mother adjusting to a baby and new body. The fourth trimester.
My 1st fourth trimester with my son was a blur. It was a time filled with all the anxiety of a new mom. I did not feel confident in motherhood or with my own body. I did not give myself grace for any shortcomings. I did not know the importance of healing during this time. Now, the second time around I took the time I needed for myself, my body, and my baby.
When I look back at pictures from these last 3 months I see so many different versions of me. I see a scared me, and a happy me, I see anxiety and I see strength. I see a mom who didn’t know if she could do it and a mom who got it done.
I remember not being able to imagine how it would feel once I became a mom of two, yet these boys effortlessly consumed my heart and mind.
This fourth trimester was also the most challenging time of my life. I never imagined my birth would be the most beautiful yet scariest thing of my life. I would have never imagined returning to the hospital a month after the birth and be separated from my baby. I never thought I would have trouble breastfeeding when I had such a powerful experience the first time. I did not think I would need help, but I did.
Support services are a vital part of a mother navigating the fourth trimester. If I did not have the help of two lactation consultants I would have given up on breastfeeding. The struggles I had breastfeeding my second child took a mental and emotional toll. I spent the last month and a half of my fourth trimester forgiving myself for that pressure and trusting in my body. Support like this needs to be accessible for every mother, for every pregnancy, and for every birth.
With this birth I found my strength. I felt redeemed. Even if I lost myself a little along the way. But doesn’t that happen to every woman as she becomes a mother. My physical body may still be adjusting to its new shape, its new size; but mentally I know I am poderosa, powerful. I got to know myself again, and I like who I am becoming.
I spent this time watching my oldest become a brother. Admiring the love that this little boy had for this new baby with no hesitation. Watching Cami look up and Santi and smile, Santi giving Cami kisses when hearing the baby cry. Any hesitation I had would disappear watching them together.
I spent a time hating my body. Hating it for failing me in the hospital and taking me away from my children. It was scary being away from my boys. It was hard seeing them through a screen and not holding them close. All I wanted was to smell my baby, weird I know, but it’s one of those things that you understand when you’re a mom. My heart was mourning the loss of time, which is why I held onto every moment once I got it back.
I took the time to get to know my baby. I took time to appreciate the mornings in bed where Camilo would look into my eyes with pure love. I am thankful for the sleepy nights where I feed him close to me. I am grateful my body has been able to be enough for my son. I am blessed to have him be mine.
Overall, during this fourth trimester I learned that my heart has so much love to give. I gave thanks to my body for being so strong and bringing life into this world. I thanked God for the miracle that is everyday with my children, even the hard ones. I pray they always be happy in life, that’s the most important thing.
As this fourth trimester ends, my last fourth trimester I will experience, I am hopeful for the moments that await me in motherhood. I wear the badge of boy mom times two with honor. Completely content with our family now complete.