Have you heard the term ‘Fourth Trimester’ before?
The fourth trimester focuses on the first 3 months after you have had your baby. This is the time when you are adjusting to your new role as a parent and your baby is adapting to the outside world. It takes time to get to know each other, figure out what your baby needs and learn to communicate with each other.
It’s also a time for healing & recovery of your body and mind. Hormones can be wild and sleep can be hard to find.
During those early days, weeks and months, change happens quickly. There are moments of awe and love that cannot be described. Having a baby is wonderful and you can lose hours just watching this new person.
But it is also hard. And there can be days where it is really hard. And that is ok. This is normal.
What we want you to know is, you are not alone. Raising a child by yourself is hard. There is a reason why the term ‘it takes a village’ is out there! We aren’t supposed to do it all.
But where is this village?
Unfortunately it can be hard to find. With many new parents living away from family, only a small number actually knowing their neighbours, and having babies at different times to your already built friendship circle, it can be difficult to connect with others, know where to turn for support and feel lonely. Add in a global pandemic, and the already tricky fourth trimester period has become even more difficult to navigate.
Many would turn to their GP, midwife, or health visitor for advice, but according to a poll we recently carried out on Instagram Stories, just 25% of our followers said that they were happy with the postnatal care they received from their midwife, health visitor and GP.
This is not taking anything away from these wonderful people and services. This just highlights how overstretched they are and they can’t always be specialist enough when it comes to the needs of a new parent or baby. As an example, Midwives receive just one day of breastfeeding training, compared to 2 years for a lactation consultant (LBCLC).
On the other side, some of our followers said that they didn’t know what services were out there to help them. Or that they were too expensive.
Just 22% of our followers said that they were happy with the postnatal care they received from their midwife, health visitor and GP.
Thank you so much to those who have opened up about their time during the Fourth Trimester period via our Insta stories.
When asked what was hardest thing about the 4th trimester the answers included:
- moving - pain from stitches
- sleep deprivation
- understanding a newborns sleep
- trying to understand what the baby’s cries mean
- reflux and colic
- pressure to get out of the house
- postnatal anxiety
- juggling everything
It was also lovely to see the easy parts too:
- loving your baby
- the ease of breastfeeding (once mastered )
You are not alone during the 4th Trimester. Other new parents are going through almost exactly the same stuff. We just need to share the mother-load, pun intended. A village can be a supportive place.
It’s clear that more support needs to be out there for new parents. Somewhere they can just talk and ask questions in a non-judgemental and supportive environment.
The fourth trimester is a special time. Be kind to yourself, don’t let the anxiety of what ‘might’ happen worry you, be present, enjoy getting to know your baby and seek support for your physical and mental health or for your baby if you need to.
We see you new mums and dads. You are doing a fantastic job! And we are here to support in any way that we can.