We kind of know what we're getting into when we find out we're pregnant. We know we're going to have to pee a lot, we figure our hormones will have us riding a roller coaster of highs (OMG the baby kicked!) and lows (*sobbing* WHY DID YOU THROW OUT THE COOKIE DOUGH????).
We get the fact that we'll be gaining weight and we've heard about some of the trimester-specific unpleasantries (morning sickness, migraines, hemorrhoids, to name a few.) Those three trimesters of pregnancy are transformative, enlightening and eye-opening.
You know what else is eye-opening?
Yes—there is one more sneaky trimester in there. Those first three months of your baby's life are basically a hibernation period. You guys are getting to know each other. You're figuring out how to care for your baby. And there's a lot of learning to do.
We chatted here at Motherly about the strangest and funniest things that happened to us during the 4th trimester. Here are some truths about that #newmomlife.
1. You are now one with the mesh underwear that the hospital gave you, and you want to live in them for the rest of your life.
2. The spray bottle process you have to go through after going to the bathroom is kind of ridiculous and genius at the same time.
3. We all cried. Over a lot of random things. Pampers commercials, the last cookie, and the fact that your baby doesn't need newborn size diapers anymore.
4. You've gotten poop on you. More than once? Yes. Us, too. ?
5. Yoga pants are life—and if we must emerge from our cocoon, it will be in those beautiful black stretchies.
6. There's quite a bit of bleeding that goes on, and a lot of us were totally unprepared for that.
7. Your boobs may feel like they've been injected with cement and all of a sudden it may seem quite reasonable to stuff your bra with cabbage leaves.
8. Waking up with "leak circles" on your nursing tank becomes the norm for a while. (It seems like there is always a wet spot on you somewhere!)
9. You may stress over the umbilical cord. This is normal. It feels strange, but I repeat—this is normal.
10. You quickly realize that your new sleep patterns don't involve a REM cycle so much as a wake-up-a-million-times-a-night-to-make-sure-they're-breathing cycle.
11. Oh, and a waking-up-another-million-times-to-feed-them cycle. ?
12. Conversations about the color of your baby's poop are now totally acceptable.
13. Not wanting to go outside with your baby because it feels scary is totally normal. And finally going out with your baby and feeling FREEEEE is also normal.
14. There will probably be a lot of pressure on that first date night out without the baby. You may have fun, you may cry because you miss the baby—but it's okay. Good for you guys for getting out—and it will get easier. We promise.
15. You will know you 'made it' as a mom after you've changed your first blowout diaper. It's kind of an, "Oh wow, this really does happen! It really can go all the way up their backs!" type moment. Find the humor in it, mama. Because you've officially joined the ranks.
16. There's a real art to dressing your postpartum body. There may be a sort of "I don't fit in my real clothes, but I also don't fit in my maternity clothes" phase. It's a strange but wonderful land where you can wear your pajamas all day or your husband's sweatpants or yoga pants—basically anything you feel comfortable in. You do you.
17. Your baby might want to nurse for 30 minutes on each breast every time she nurses. Sooo, fire up Netflix and binge watch some shows on the couch, guilt-free.
18. It's really an eye-opener to see how your nurses in the hospital handle your baby. You feel like they are these fragile little creatures, at first, but once you watch a nurse teach you how to swaddle your son you realize—wait—this little guy isn't so breakable after all.
19. Babies grunt a lot! And loudly. They make lots of tiny noises. And they are really adorable.
20. You may be confused and/or terrified of cradle cap. (You may also have a strong desire to pick it—but don't. Just...don't.)
21. A lot of us didn't realize that newborns get pimples. It's kind of fascinating.
22. It's incredible to watch people instantly soften when they see a newborn. They just light up. It'll make you feel connected to humanity in a whole new way.
23. You suddenly realize how noisy your neighborhood is when you're desperate for the baby to take a nap in the stroller. Car door slam. Shhhh. Lawnmower. Come onnn. Kids laughing and playing. Can you guys do that inside? ?
24. Same goes for when you're trying to get your baby to nap at home. If you live in a city—the bus going down the street. The sirens. The beeping. If you live in the suburbs—the FedEx guy ringing your bell. The leaf blowers. The creaky floorboards.
25. Newborn life will quickly show you that babywearing is the best thing ever.
26. If living in your robe all day every day is wrong...we don't want to be right. (Robes were basically made for the 4th trimester.)
27. The soft spot on their heads may freak you out, FYI!
28. That first time you do a jumping jack (or cough, or sneeze…) and realize, uh-oh...?
29. If you are breastfeeding, you may feel like you're living your life in three-hour increments. Okay, I fed the baby—now, I have T-1.5 hours to go do what I need to do before I have to come back and feed him again. Annnnd….GO.
30. This 4th trimester will show you just how amazing this newborn bubble is—all the ups and downs included—and even though you'll be ready to introduce yourself to civilization after the bubble pops, you'll miss this hibernation period. So allow yourself to soak it in.
The 4th trimester may technically end, but this safe space you and your baby have created to learn and grow in together never does. Welcome to motherhood.
You might also like:
- What new moms should know about the 'fifth trimester'
- The 4th trimester struggle is real
- What dad can do: 5 ways to support mom + baby in the 4th trimester