The fourth trimester was something I didn’t really know about until recently. Even though Devon is just 15 months it seems to only be now health professionals and the wider world are talking about those first few months as if they are a continuation of your pregnancy. This is a huge change for the better, hopefully it will take the pressure off men and women to spring back into the normal world.
I am sharing with you my journey which I wrote back in the summer of last year after those first few crazy months of the fourth trimester, which now 11 months later seem a life time ago…
One Minute everything is firm, next it’s all saggy, luscious hair falls out in chunks and perfect skin breaks out in spots. One minute you have a new-born the next a little girl. You constantly ask how this happened has time always gone so fast? I look at her sometimes and it hurts inside the fear of how fast she is growing and the longing to make time slow down. How the hell do I have a 4 month old?
In four months my whole world has changed, I have changed mentally and physically and for Devon everyday there is something new. I have found I am more confident when I am with her, walking into a room full of strangers is no longer so daunting, there is always something to talk about where a baby is concerned. She has bought out my inner lioness, once usually terrified of spiders I will sacrifice myself if I see one remotely near my daughter. Although when I’m with her I feel I can take on the world, without her my confidence has certainly taken a knock. Holding a conversation with someone that doesn’t involve talk of poo or sleeping patterns is hard. I swear in the process of labour I lost half of my brain cells as my mind often ceases to work mid-sentence. When I meet my couples for styling consultations I feel I constantly have to explain away my resulting sieve head and failure to use words of more than 2 syllables. Before Devon a lot of my outer confidence would come from feeling good about my physical body. When I was pregnant I felt amazing, my hair was lush, everything was firm and I felt unstoppable. Post Devon I have never felt worse, I am more than happy to let my daughter shine in the lime light whilst I shrink away into the background, my wardrobe consists of 4 go to outfits I wear on repeat. Devon is always immaculately dressed whilst my clothes go un-ironed and often covered in baby vomit and my hair unwashed (not because I don’t have time but it terrifies me how much it falls out every time I do). I was never prepared for the toll having a baby would continue to have on me post labour. I went on a trampoline with my friend’s children last week and if I ever needed a reminder of how things have changed wow that was it! Good bye tight, flexible, bendy body, hello pelvic floor!
My emotions constantly get the better of me, I have become ruled by the heart and not the head. We went to watch my husband’s 8 year old nephew in his school choir, previously I would have found any excuse not to go but now I actively encourage our participation in these events and sat crying as they sang Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Driving past roadkill has become an emotional roller coaster, I think to myself that’s someone else child, all be it an animals child. I haven’t watched or read the news in weeks, I think its better that way else my poor daughter would never leave the house. When did this all change?
Looking back to the beginning the all-consuming love for Devon wasn’t instant. I have loved and protected her since she was born but I first left Devon to style a wedding when she was a month old and not to sound cold I walked out the door without a second thought. I knew she was safe and she wouldn’t miss me. At that age to her I felt I could have been anyone, I wasn’t breast feeding so she didn’t need me to survive, we didn’t have that instant bond. I loved her but I felt like I got nothing in return. I am not alone in feeling like this, it is common for a lot of new mums, for me I wouldn’t call it post-natal depression, I would call it adjustment time, because now words cannot explain how I feel about my girl. It is so much more than love and not to gush but I finally understand what unconditional love is. She looks at me with those big blue eyes like I’m the only person in the world who matters to her. She has a smile that will light up a room (they should try and bottle the hormones and emotions that result from seeing that smile). Leaving to work a wedding is the hardest part of the week and I now rush home to be with her. I miss her more than I ever knew I would.
I often think to myself wow I have changed, and wonder what a younger care free, career driven me would think looking at me singing loudly out of tune in our sensory class which we both love or shelling out for expensive amber anklets to help her teething as any gimmick is worth a go if it potentially saves her pain. Leaving the house without hardly any make up and having to restrain myself from sharing my entire camera roll on Social Media because I am so proud of my daughter and I want the world to see her. Would I recognise myself?