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The Fourth Trimester

I had been avoiding posting here until yesterday. I haven't known how to share what I've been experiencing because I'm still in it - still in the figuring out phase. I'm finally starting to find my groove as a new mom but it's been an absolute roller coaster and I've been through the motions; I'm still going through the motions.

I haven't known how to show up in this space because I find that I am different from before and yet I cannot seem to integrate the me I was before becoming a mom and the me I am now. I don't think I'm supposed to, nor will I ever be able to. In a way, I feel that I am grieving the old me while still learning the new me. They call it matrescence; I call it confusing AF. But I am acknowledging that this is my first time navigating this. Brene Brown would call this a major FFT (fucking first time) and I would have to agree. I'm a rookie and that makes me feel super vulnerable and out of my depth.

It seems like people expect me to know what I'm doing here because of my occupation but as it turns out, nothing can prepare you for pushing a beautiful newborn baby out of your vagina and then having to see to their needs and your own, simultaneously, for every moment of every day, from then on wards. I mean it took me a nearly a decade to learn how to take good care of myself - now I'm suddenly supposed to know how to continue doing that, while taking care of a precious little miracle? The pressure was on as I expected myself 'keep up' with well, as much I possibly could.

It is the most crazy feeling ever when they discharge you from hospital and send you home with your sweet newborn and you're like 'but where's the manual for this whole parenting business?'. It's just a figure-it-out-as-you-go situation. Which is all well and good, I mean humans have been raising other humans for a couple centuries and we still exist but man, for someone who likes to know precisely how to do things, this is about as tough as it gets. The thing is, every baby is different and every parent is different so the only way to navigate this journey is to listen to your instinct and ride the waves each new day (and night) presents.

My thing was that we had a rough start, me and my babe. She decided she was ready to arrive earth side a few weeks earlier than expected and we had an intense birthing experience (a story for another day). This, coupled with extreme hormonal changes and having to stay in the hospital for a few days, without my husband (thanks COVID), as well as make loads of big decisions on my own for the well-being of my new baby who was having some minor health difficulties, (which felt MAJOR at the time). This totally threw my instinct off and doubt began to creep in.

The staff in the hospital were supportive but each new midwife on rotation offered me a new piece of advice which I grasped at with both hands and a heavy heart which kept telling me; this does not feel right for me. I had a million pieces of advice flooding my mind but I was struggling to get in touch with my own inner knowing. This is where I was for the first few weeks, gravitating between advice from others and my own intuition. It was only when I started to look inwards for the answers that my body could release the tension it was holding and I could be free of the shackles that kept me looking outside of myself for answers.

Even once I started tuning inwards, it was and still continues to be the hardest new thing I've ever had to navigate so far. But where I'm at now is the self-compassion station. I'm filling myself up with all of the moments of quiet I get and I'm making sure to come back to my inner knowing at each and every new twist and turn in the road. So now I check in with myself by asking my body 'what feels right, good and true?' and then we take it from there, one step at a time and it feels pretty magnificent.

One last thing, for new and pregnant mammas reading this - it does get easier! I'm now in a stage where it seems to be getting easier every week and I'm LOVING it (even though it's still damn hard). Don't be disheartened, just know that whatever you experience is okay and you are allowed to feel however you feel. Thank you for hearing me out, I hope you can gain something from what I'm learning.

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