Real moms reveal what those first few weeks with a new baby really feel like.
We've partnered with Baby K'tan to share the untold stories of the 4th Trimester.
For a lot of mamas, the 4th Trimester is the hardest part of pregnancy. Sure, you've weathered the aches and pains of a growing belly, the anxiety of adding a little one to your life, and even the intensity of birth, but those first three months after baby arrives fully encompass you in a way you just can't prepare for.
Postpartum life is physical, emotional, mental and existential. Your baby's adjusting to the big, new world while you're adjusting to life as a mother -- all while recovering from one of the most traumatic experiences it's ever gone through: birth.
Below, meet 3 new mamas who tell it like it is. Hear about their challenges, their triumphs and the things that empower them to get through the day. In fact, the entire 4th Trimester. Then tell us about your own 4th Trimester experience, and scroll down to our to win a Baby K'tan to give you a little love and support while you carry baby over that hump.
Esther Werdiger and Baby Nathan
One day you're a regular gal, galavanting around Brooklyn, and the next day you're a brand new mum entrusted with a tiny slip of a thing who needs you more than anything has ever needed you. The sheer bigness of it all is so hard to be prepared for.
I had really wonderful support from my husband and family, but it didn't stop me from going on an emotional roller coaster that took me anywhere from crying on the couch for three hours straight to staring at my baby's tiny face in the dark, wondering where on earth he came from, all in the space of mere hours. I'm six weeks in and have only just started feeling like I can begin to come up for air.
From day one, I truly felt I'd been thrown into the deep end--there's so much to learn, and you've got to do it quickly, and on very little sleep. But I've observed myself grow more connected and protective--instincts kick in and you find yourself very invested in making sure your tiny human is off to the best start possible.
It's a beautiful experience, but is also, at times, so overwhelming. The relentlessness of the routine was really hard. I was used to being able to do whatever I wanted, and now basic things like a good shower or coffee felt totally out of reach.
When I'd purchased my baby carrier, I envisioned myself out and about, going out to eat and going on nice long walks with my new family. The truth is, just wearing him at home has been a lifesaver. Your baby is close to you, settles in moments, gets great sleep, AND you also get to have both of your hands, and you can do whatever you want with them! You can make a nice, big salad. You can finally cut your nails. You can water your plants, or read an article from the growing stack of New Yorkers on your coffee table.
In those first few weeks, when so much is in flux, it's important to remember to do the things that make you feel a little like your old self. It makes for an easier transition, and any way you can feel a little more cared for is going to make you a better caregiver, and a stronger mum.
Niurka Maldonado and Baby Paulina
I think the biggest unspoken question in the mind of any mother that is pregnant with her second child is, "How will I love this baby as much as my first?" I knew, logically, that I would, but I couldn't quite picture it - my life with, not one little girl, but two.
The biggest surprise I had since the birth of my Paulina was how much she felt a part of me and of our family instantly. The best way I could describe it is, it wasn't a love that grew overtime; it wasn't a period of getting "accustomed" to the new addition, as I had anticipated. It was a passion and devotion that seemed to have always been with me; she was a limb I never knew I had. It was as if she had always existed.
The most fulfilling part of my 4th Trimester has been experiencing that feeling that our family and my life are whole. The biggest challenge, of course, has been knowing that this darling girl will likely be our last child, so with every passing day and stage, I am reminded that this will never be experienced again.
We are a family. We read together for hours and we talk constantly. Paulina is now a part of those moments, and I love sharing them with her pressed against me. Nora and I have always been very active together, we enjoy the city life by visiting all of the museums and parks that we can reach by train or bus. Babywearing has helped us keep up with all of our interests; it's been quite an adventure.
Chelsa Crowley and Baby Via
Friends of mine who have children filled me in on the hard things that come during those first few weeks, like sleep deprivation, breastfeeding challenges, and how your life will change. But until I was knee-deep in it, I couldn't fully appreciate it -- nor is it the same for every family.
Conquering breastfeeding was one of the most rewarding (and painful!) things I've ever done. After tongue and lip-tie, three lactation consultants, pumping every 2 hours round the clock, nipple guards, clogged ducts, thrush, and literal blood, sweat, and many tears, we finally got a successful latch. She's been nursing like a rockstar ever since. The only good thing about that period -- besides humbling me -- was stockpiling an insane amount of breastmilk for the future.
Getting out and about has been crucial in helping me cope. As tired as I was I made sure to shower every day and even throw on a little makeup during the day, sounds silly, but a little makeup can really make a girl feel like herself again. I love using the Baby K'tan to keep Via close to me. It's comforted her and helped me feel mobile.
I'm surprised at how much I love being a mom...not that I thought I would hate it, I just didn't realize how amazing it would feel and how fun she would be. It's hard to even remember our lives before she was here.
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