I really dropped the ball on a fourth trimester update! I’m a little disappointed in myself because this trimester is no less important than the previous 3 of pregnancy. However, now that I am writing this six months postpartum, there is a lot I have learned in hindsight. The three months after Rory was born was,a whirlwind and I now have more headspace to wrap my head around it all! I will add a little info about how I’m feeling now as well, so we can call this a fourth and fifth trimester update :)
After giving birth, my belly went down pretty immediately. Obviously it wasn’t back to normal, but I by no means looked pregnant still. At my two week checkup with the midwife, I was only 10 lbs away from my pre pregnancy weight; and I was still about the same weight until six months postpartum. I attributed this to my huge boobs due to breastfeeding and how I’ve been eating, also due to breastfeeding. I started the Whole30 on January 1 (you can read more about the first 2 weeks here), and while I have yet to weigh myself, I know that I have lost some weight. More importantly, I feel really good and my clothes fit. Prior to this, I was feeling very uncomfortable in my body and was more than ready to give my body a jumpstart back into my old eating habits and exercise routine.
I’ve shared on here before how I generally eat, and for the most part I have continued to eat pretty clean. However, I really struggled with breastfeeding hunger. It is no joke! In all honesty, I felt like I completely lost control around food. I just didn’t have an off switch and was more likely to indulge in things like bread and desserts when they were available. In the past, I wouldn’t have thought twice about declining. I would eat a meal and then immediately feel hungry again an hour or two later. Midnight snacks were a regular occurrence! Doing the Whole30 has help me gain back control around food. My “sugar dragon” has been tamed and for the past month I have cut out all alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy, legumes. When the Whole30 is over, I plan to stick to a paleo diet because I’ve realized I feel best when I eat this way. If I do reintroduce any of the eliminated foods back into my diet, I plan to do it mindfully and slowly so that I can figure out which were not agreeing with me (I was struggling with a lot of digestive issues up to this point and they are currently resolved).
Fitness has been happening a lot less than I expected. I was having a very hard time finding the time and feeling motivated. I went for my first run at around 10 weeks. I ran/walked for two miles. I am going to hold back on details with this one, but it felt really weird. So for a while I kept it to just walking with Rory in the stroller. At around 3-4 months postpartum I took a few yoga classes and tried to do a short kettlebell workout at home 2-3 days a week.
Now at 6 months postpartum, I’ve finally found a good routine. I do all at home workouts that are under 20 minutes. I’ll alternate between doing kettlebell swings, intervals on the rowing machine and TRX exercises. I still have not gotten back into running and am in no rush to do so. I go for weather-dependent walks with Rory in the stroller or carrier.
This was definitely the most difficult part of my postpartum life. For the first month, I had the “baby blues”, but didn’t feel anything crazy or what I thought was out of the ordinary. However, things started to go downhill at around 6 weeks. This is also when I started to enter “real life” again rather than lay around with my baby all day. It had also been 6 weeks since I had last meditated (which had been a daily practice prior to giving birth). At 6 weeks I took a course to teach childbirth education, which was wonderful, but I really had a hard time navigating such a busy week with a baby. I also started to feel a lot of stress about getting back to work and getting new patients in the door (self inflicted stress). And since I was no longer in the early days of postpartum, I wasn’t getting as much help from friends and family as I had been, when I actually felt like I needed it more.
During this time, I was very emotional and impatient with those closest to me. I was anxious most days and there was a short period of time during which I would wake up feeling depressed and would not have motivation to do anything other than lay on the couch. I would also have crazy, morbid thoughts and fears about Rory. For example, everytime we were on the stairs, I would imagine us both falling down. While driving, I’d think, “what would happen if I got into an accident?” It was really hard to deal with at the time, but luckily, I had people close to me who I could talk to. I eventually made meditation a priority, became clear with my husband about what my needs were, and I slowly became better. At this point, I would say I am 90% better mentally.
Postpartum depression and anxiety happens much more frequently than you may think. The best thing you can do is open up and talk about it so that you can get the support you need.
Sleep was exactly as expected with a newborn! From the beginning, Rory was an overall good sleeper. He woke up twice a night and would fall right back asleep after nursing. We co-slept, so I would not spend much time awake either. Shortly before Rory turned 5 months we hit a sleep regression. He suddenly started waking up 3-4 times per night and it was sometimes difficult to get him back to sleep. About a month later, it got even worse. I felt like we were awake all night long. I had a feeling that he was waking so much because he was in our bed. I decided to go with my gut and let him try sleeping in his crib, and it turned out to be a game changer. During his first night in his crib, Rory woke up once, which had never happened before. Actually, it was the first time putting him to bed wasn’t a huge production. Most of the time, he was very difficult to get to sleep at night and would cry hysterically before finally giving in. I’m still getting used to this new sleeping situation, as I wasn’t planning on putting an end to co-sleeping this early, but I know it’s for the better.
Overall, life is so so great with Rory in it! I can’t imagine life without him. He has already made me a better person and I absolutely love being a mom!
I’ve enjoyed sharing my pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey with you all! If there is anything more you would like to know, please leave a comment. I’m an open book :)