What the Fourth Trimester Can Look Like

What the Fourth Trimester Can Look Like

So the baby has been delivered safely and the mother is cleared for discharge from the hospital. What next then? Does she bounce back straightaway (or is expected to)? What do new moms go through and how can we learn more about the fourth trimester and how we, as their friends and/or family, can support them better?

I remember the sense of excitement that came as I got to bring my baby back home which was also followed by a determination to attempt putting into practice all the things I’ve read about caring for my baby. However, I did not anticipate myself moving with difficulty, even sitting with difficulty, given that I had stitches for my 2nd degree tear. I did not anticipate enough how it would hurt to try passing stools for the initial days, or the seemingly unending days and weeks of bleeding lochia.

I also remember the initial days of trying to establish breastfeeding, overcoming the soreness in the nipples from attempts at getting a right latch and subsequently, cluster feeding sessions that happen as well to regulate the breastmilk supply. I remember holding my baby for as long as I can in my arms just so she would sleep better and not wake so easily. I remember feeling emotionally down at times, wretched with mom guilt over not being good enough or holding my weight as a new mom. I also remember lamenting the loss of freedom to do whatever we want as a couple anymore, without having a child and her needs to consider.

This is only a snapshot of what the fourth trimester may look like based on my personal experience. There are a whole host of problems women could face postpartum, some more debilitating than others, some suffer more physical issues while some are more affected in their mental health. Every mother’s fourth trimester experience may differ depending on whether they are a first-time mom, or a mother transiting from having x to y number of children. What I wish for you to learn is that a mother’s fourth trimester is often the most challenging physically, mentally and emotionally, as one deals with all the changes after giving birth. All is not a bed of roses once the cute and sweet little child is born. The hard part is not over.

How you can play a role in helping is to be sensitive to them too, and not just gush over their new little one. Ask after them, ask what they need, be kind and gracious to them. Learn how to spot signs of anxiety or depression and take action if needed. Take care of them, so they can take care of their little one. 

Back to blog