My Post Partum Journey: the Fourth Trimester
Before having my sweet Lili I told myself I would take recovery in bite sized chucks. I promised myself that I would pick a couple key words to focus on at a time and then after each phase add on more. Today I am sharing with you my “Focus Words” for each phase whether it was mental, physical or emotional.
I didn’t push myself to look a certain way physically. I just wanted to be able to do the things I enjoy again. I wanted to honor my body after it had worked so hard to create and sustain life for the last year. I don’t care to ever look how I did before pregnancy, I care to meet and accept my new body as a mother! There SHOULD be changes! My body has done amazing things and has the scars, marks, and new characteristics to show for it. I wanted to feel that my body was mine, not put the pressure to reverse time and wipe away all the amazing things my body has gone through.
I have learned so much about myself through these first few months of motherhood and I hope that even an ounce of this might be helpful to someone else! I included unedited, raw, day to day photos since that is exactly how this process has been. I wanted to share this to hopefully show the time, energy, awareness and patience it has taken to get through this Fourth Trimester. Every day I made conscious choices to better my body and mind. I did not just “bounce back” I worked hard, made smart choices, and stayed committed. No, it did not come easy to me, It came with a lot of self love, hard work, and self discipline.
The first 2 weeks:
The first two weeks I chose to focus on 3 things: Bonding, Breastfeeding, and Rest.
Bonding: I focused on LOTS of skin to skin contact, and we spoke to her as often as possible since she was familiar with our voices already. We started new family traditions right away like night time prayers and daily family snuggles. This helped all three of us bond and feel secure.
Breastfeeding: Liliana has a lip tie which made her latch not ideal. It was extremely painful in the beginning but I just kept telling myself to push through! She still does not have the “perfect latch” but we worked through it together and bonded so much because of it. I kept encouraging her and she kept trying! She was a very hungry newborn so she was on the boob every hour to two hours which gave us lots of practice opportunities.
Rest: C Section recovery is no joke. I refused all pain meds after the day of the surgery and had to rely on ice and natural anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric for relief. Rest was a HUGE focus, I wanted to heal quickly, and the best thing I could do for myself was to allow my body to heal without pushing it too hard. I also focused on an anti-inflammatory diet.
During this time I continued to focus on Bonding and Rest. Breastfeeding had become much more natural and wasn’t a point of focus anymore. A new point of focus was Pelvic Floor, and Mental Health.
Pelvic Floor: I did ZERO exercise during this time. I still needed help in and out of bed etc. However, I DID start to find my pelvic floor. I researched ways to find your pelvic floor after pregnancy and did small rehabilitation techniques to start strengthening that area again.
Mental Health: I had about 2 weeks of Baby Blues but after that time I felt better and better by the day. I had my placenta encapsulated and would do it again in a heart beat! I truly think it helped my mental state by weaning me off all the pregnancy hormones little by little instead of dropping off a cliff all at once. I also practiced a lot of patience with myself which I really hadnt practiced before. I gave myself grace and also talked about what I was feeling with Drew so he had the opportunity to support and encourage me.
At week 6 I was cleared for excercise! I still felt far from being fully recovered but wasn’t experiencing pain with movement any longer. My new words of focus were Nutrition and Physical Health.
I focused on eating high calorie to keep breast milk production but cut out all foods that weren’t fuel for my body. I chose options that were only organic, whole, healthy foods but never allowed myself to feel hungry. I also chose lots of high fat items like coconut oil, nuts and avacado to support my mind. My Goal was to take care of my body from the inside out.
Physical Health: I started with 15-20 min body weight workouts 4 times a week and later added 30 min of walking 4 times a week. I just did as much as I could at the time and ALWAYS wore a support girdle to assist my core. I also added new and more challenging pelvic floor exercise.
Nutrition and Physical Health we’re still my focus words during these weeks. As I got stronger I added more. I started the BBG program and modified anything that I didn’t feel stable doing. I also did ZERO ab work during this time to give myself a few more weeks of targeted rest. I did full body workouts but avoided anything purely ab related.
I continue with Nutrition, Relaxation, Bonding, Breastfeeding, Mental and Physical Health. For 14 weeks I have been gluten free, low sugar, and 70% Pescaterean. Healthy food is not a restriction, it’s being aware that what I put into my body goes directly to Liliana. To me it’s a responsibility I am happy to step up to. Nutrition is the biggest thing you can do for recovery and physical support. I now incorporate ab work VERY SLOWLY and only in ways that I feel 100% normal.
In the next coming months I will continue to nurture my body, be patient with myself as a new mother, and bond with my new family. It’s such an exciting journey and I can’t wait to see where we go in the next three months.
Thanks for reading!!