postpartum recovery resources

The fourth trimester. (Adjusting to a new baby.)

November 6, 2019

postpartum recovery resources

It squeezes my heart to write that Chiara is already 7 weeks old! I am so acutely more aware with each baby how fast this cherub phase flies by. This time around I did more reading on the first 40 days after having a baby, and made sure to prepare for the “fourth trimester.” Today I wanted to share some thoughts and resources on recovering from birth in a fast paced culture, and navigating being a self employed working mother of 6. It’s a lot to unpack, so this will most likely be a series we share in the next few months.

new baby - postpartum resources
(Baby pjs – Solly Baby, Girls pjs – Roolee Kids)

Adjusting to a new baby

With my first baby, I was pretty young and a little naive. I listened to others over my gut instincts. I tried to get my son on a schedule early on, as the echoes of advice repeated in my head not to hold him too much or he would be “spoiled.” Those precious first months with him are gone forever now, and what I wouldn’t give to go back and hold baby Gabriel as much as I could. I slowly learned that each baby has their own pace and differences, and that we have a gift as their mother to use our intuition to know what is best for them. This is why I am not guilt tripping myself this time around over feeding Chiara whenever she wants to eat, or holding her as much as my time and energy allows. There is no spoiling a baby when a mother is their home base. Scientifically we can regulate their heartbeat, sense of security, and even build their immunity through feeding them. Not to mention the oxytocin release for us as mothers when we feed and hold our baby! Chiara is the first baby I am holding after going through miscarriage, and the gratitude perspective for this time is so different. For these reasons I have embraced this time with so much peace….even amidst the sleep deprivation and chaos.

postpartum resources

Recovery

That being said, it is SO critical to also be caring for ourselves or to accept care as mothers during those first months postpartum. I experienced both severe burn-out and baby blues after Azelie because I tried to snap back to normal routine too quickly, and I was determined to do a better job this time around of caring for my mind, body, and soul.

I did experience postpartum anxiety and blues this time, but a good deal of this was contingent on sleep deprivation and noise. My toddlers had the roughest time adjusting since they are still very attached to me. They LOVE and smother the baby, but really struggled with my attention being diverted. We had several weeks of tantrums and acting out, and lord have mercy that was hard. It was the most difficult part of recovery to be honest! I knew they were just missing mom, and I felt incapable of being there for them in the ways I wanted. However, from experience I knew it would be a phase, and things have turned a corner since. Chiara’s sleep patterns have improved as well which immediately resolved the noise anxiety.

  I wanted to share some resources that were so beneficial this time around in hopes it can also help many of you approaching this season of your life.

 

RESOURCES FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY

The First 40 Days – I got this book after several people recommended it to me, and I can honestly say it provided me with such a wealth of information on recovering from nutrition, to cultural studies, to understanding what our bodies are actually going through. There are some really helpful recipes in the second half of the book as well. It would make an incredible gift to any new mother!

Another Tri Audio Guide – I downloaded this audio guide by my friend Jenna Rammel knowing her postpartum experience was recent and very relatable. She has an incredible gift to verbalize so much of what I needed to hear in the weeks following the birth of my baby. Reflections, affirmations, and how to create habits of mindfulness. It helped me adjust expectations, and quiet worries. Worth every penny to fight the negativity in the vulnerable days and weeks that often catch us completely off guard. So grateful to Jenna for speaking truth and wisdom into my life when I really needed it.

Together We Mother JournalI am terrible at journaling. Especially when I am tired. I know that is such a therapeutic exercise though as it forces you to set aside time to reflect and record. What I love about this journal is that it helps to think through many topics you often would overlook. I love how it has helped me remember this part of my life in simple and concrete ways.

Supplements – We are easily depleted when breastfeeding and giving all of our good nutrients to our baby, so I made sure to stock up on my pre-natals, beef liver capsules, omega oil capsules, and CBD oil! I know it made a big difference in my emotions, anxiety levels, and physical recovery this time around as I felt significantly better than my previous post natal experiences.

I also made essential oil roller bottles relating to emotions, anxiety, and even uterus recovery. (8-10 drops each diluted with fractioned coconut oil.) My go-to roller bottles: 
Stress Relief /Focus – 10 drops valor, 10 drops peace and calming, 10 drops Stress Away
Belly blend – 10 drops Clary Sage to every 10 drops fractioned coconut oil. (Rub on uterus area through contractions. It helps regulate contractions and also what I will use postpartum to help uterus go back into place.)
Happy blend – 10 drops Joy, 10 drops Lavender, 10 drops Peace and Calming (The scents that help mood boost or relax – it really is your preference. It can be as simple as smelling this roller bottle that can be incredibly calming and boosting!)
Hormone balance/ Postpartum anxiety – Equal parts Ylang Ylang to equal parts fractioned coconut oil.
*I use YoungLiving wholesale membership, but DoTerra is another great source for pure oils. 

Friendships – As women we are naturally drawn to community and friendship. I was so grateful when a few of my friends came over after I had Chiara not just to bring food, but also to just sit with me. We often lean towards the assumption that “she probably doesn’t want to be bothered,” and some days that may be the case! But in the most vulnerable times in our life, solidarity from another mother can lift you from the lows and leave you with a renewed spirit. 

Fresh air– Vitamin D. Essential for combatting baby blues. Fresh air each day did wonders for me. It may seem like an obvious one, but Gabe often needed to remind me to get some fresh air in between sleeping and feeding a baby and managing toddlers!

The importance of community

I saw this posted from a friend, and it hit me to my core. (If you know the source please let me know!) This is how women come together in many countries to care for the woman after they have given birth. It is a community that lifts them up.

I heard from many of you readers that in your countries outside of the U.S. you receive 6 months to a year of maternity leave. I know the U.S. is making some progress, but in other ways I see how as a whole we can do so much better. We are doing life alone instead of plugging into communities. We are trying to go back to work before our bodies have fully healed, or our minds are back to a place of rest and restoration. 

siblings - adjusting to a new baby

Finding a new rhythm

I planned to take a month maternity leave, but also left the following month open to slowly assess how our family was doing, and navigate back into minimal hours. That took the pressure off of trying to be productive while I was still getting to know our baby’s needs. (Sometimes breastfeeding and diapers feel like it’s own part-time job!) It’s been so challenging on the days when everyone seems to need me at one time, but there have been so many moments I feel so deeply grateful to experience it all one more time. The love my children have for their newest sister moves me to tears at times.

I hope in the years to come I can give back to my community by helping new mothers in some way. I myself couldn’t have recovered well without the help of family and friends. Please let me know if there are any questions you have. I would be happy to answer in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

  • Hello ! And congratulations 🍾 for your beautiful family. 8 months ago I had my service baby a boy and I also have a 3 year old .. they are 2 years and 8 months apart I think. My daughter and i are very close but now naturally the new baby had taken a lot of her time. Before baby we would Cook, do art ,play a lot, go out etc but now my time is sooo limited I’m trying to get into a rhythm and find a balance between her, him, housework, husband and I’m having a hard time. My father had become extremely resentful of the baby she didn’t want him near her or to touch her anything to do with him. She screams at him, grabs him hard and is just not very nice. It’s heartbreaking because I don’t like seeing her like that and also because my son looks at her with such love and so deeply wanted to follow her everywhere she connect with her. So my question is how to deal and hello correct these behaviors so they become extremely cloudy and are best friends and love and respect each other?? Thank you!

  • I can also recommend this book – parental-lovecom/baby-sleep-training – quite useful use of the forth trimester theory in the future slepe training 🙂

  • Justine Mckenzie

    I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old who are currently home with daddy during the day while I work a full-time out of the home. I’m 7 months pregnant and stressed to be swapping places with him next month as I stay home and he heads off to work. We get 18 months maternity leave here in Canada (wohoo!) so we’ve been able to swap on and off taking leaves from work to have someone home with the kids. I remember the toddler tantrums from diverted attention and I’m bracing myself already.

    • !8 months is amazing! It’s hard to find beyond 6 months here. I am so glad you have that time! I hope you can find the right means of support:)

  • Hi. I don’t know if anyone looks back at these comments, but I am looking for a specific quote about parenting that I saw on here somewhere in the last little while. I thought the quote was at the end of this post, but apparently not. It is by someone else, and it is about mothering / parenting – the many, many diapers and all the repetitive work, night and day, but the value of it is great. Someday the memory of it will warm the child in sad times or happy. Something like this, but expressed so beautifully. Can anyone tell me where this is? Thanks.If you know where I could find it, please add to these comments, I will check.

  • PS to the previous post – I just found it, on the Nov. 11 post. Thank you!

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