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Honouring Your Needs in the Fourth Trimester

Congratulations! You have created, sustained and birthed LIFE! You are miraculous.

The first few months after birth, also known as the fourth trimester, can be a challenging time as you rapidly learn to care for a newborn, on top of the exhaustion of birth itself, healing after birth, the continual hormonal adjustments; your entire being is literally transformed, rewired throughout mind, body and soul.

One important step you can take in honouring yourself after birth is to tell your birth story. Be heard. Telling your story helps to release any stored physical and emotional trauma which is incredibly healing in itself. Tell it over and over, write it down or use whatever medium helps you to process it. Honour your journey and celebrate the birth of new life and your transition from maiden to mother.

Prioritize self-care: it's easy to lose touch with yourself and your needs when you have children and prioritise their needs over your own. You become “mummy” with seemingly next to no time for self care or your own wellbeing. It can feel overwhelming. Give yourself permission to go with flow as you navigate your way through the demands of early parenting and know this too shall pass. Do what makes you happy, listen to podcasts and music that feeds your soul. Take walks in nature. Dance. Watch videos that make you laugh and smile while baby sleeps. Sleep first though if you need it! Eat nutritious nourishing foods to keep your energy up and to stay healthy. I remember the first time I was unwell when I had kids and it was so tough! You have to carry on regardless, so staying on top of your health with good nutrition is a priority. When you invest in yourself you strengthen your ability to look after your family.

Get support: Reach out, join a mothers circle, share your experiences and learn from others. If you're struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, seek professional help. Take breaks. If you're feeling overwhelmed, ask someone you trust to watch your baby for a little while so you can rest or take care of yourself. My firstborn didn't sleep well and I was exhausted. If anyone came over and offered to take her for a walk, or cook a meal, I remember just crying with gratitude.

Practice self-compassion: It's okay if you don't have everything figured out right away. Be gentle with yourself and recognize that it's normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure at times.

Stay out of the comparison trap! Every baby and every parent is different, so try not to compare yourself to others or get caught up in societal expectations, shame or judgment. Trust your instincts and do what works best for YOU and your baby.

Remember, the fourth trimester is a period of adjustment for both you and your baby. Honour and nurture your body, stretchmarks, scars and all for they tell a story of your journey. Trust your intuition, be patient and kind to yourself and celebrate the birth of your baby as you enter this sacred new chapter of your life.

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