Hello friends, it’s been a hot minute hasn’t it! The last time we spoke I was large, pregnant, and proud! And as I am writing this, I am bouncing my 16 weeks old baby girl on my baby Björn bouncer with my feet. Classy I know. Multi-tasking, it’s something I had to learn hard and fast.
She was born 1st of March 2022, my little midnight Pisces. Now say hi to Freya James Yanlin Guenther! I will explain her name for another day. But in this post, I want to talk about the 4th trimester after birth. Let’s throw it back, shall we?
The First 3 months of being your mommy
Life with a newborn. 👶🏼
Man! Where do I begin. I have been soo fortunate to have family with me the first 6 weeks. My mom and dad came 2 weeks early to keep me company, to feed me and most of all to spend time together. We haven’t seen each other for over 2 years due to Covid. So it was extremely nice an timely.
I cannot imagine the first few weeks with a newborn without them now. It sure does take a village to raise a baby. My husband also took time off work to spend time with the baby and be my extra pair of hands for the first 2 weeks too. It sounds trivial. But having the birthing person to change a diaper or sterilize bottles and pumps are extremely helpful when you have a million and 1 things to worry about + feed a whole human being and why is her poop green!! And I’m sure all moms during this period has lean on google a little too much.
Some days are rocky. I think breastfeeding terrorized me the first month. There are days where I am on a high where everything seems to work and breastfeeding is easy. Then there are days where I will cry at a drop of a hat, like my husband says; ‘I got to go back to work’ and my mind goes into this negative headspace. Literally. I take every word he says to space with me, overanalyze it and then crucify him for it. For literally no reason. Poor husbands.
I can’t comprehend how or what I’m feeling. It feels so isolating. Breastfeeding literally triggers all sorts of emotions. Some days I don’t want to try anymore. I want to give up breastfeeding and just give her the bottle. It’s up and it’s down and I have not spoken to anyone about it because I honestly don’t know how.
(The future me is happy that she stuck with it and push through breastfeeding because 3 months later… it is soo worth it. Breastfeeding still triggers an emotion in me, but I recognize it now that it is hormonal and it will past)
I need to learn harder to be gentle with myself.
It’s hard. So hard.
I need to give myself some grace.
Sometimes I even feel soo guilty just taking an hour a day to myself.
Fitness is a huge part of my life, but I feel like I’m barely holding on.
I want help but I also feel guilty asking for help.
But with all that said; she has made me soo happy.
I never laughed harder.
She’s soo cool.
I never felt more protective of another human being.
She’s so vulnerable and sweet.
I never been more calculative with my time and what I put in my body.
She’s all I want to hold & kiss all day.
I don’t want her to grow soo fast but also can’t wait to bring her everywhere with me.
The 1st month was a struggle. It was all about getting to know this human from scratch. What she likes to eat, when she likes to eat, how she likes to be held and why is she crying. It is all soo new! The leaps are hard too. But as the days and weeks went by as much as it is hard. It is also rewarding, and those hard days get paid of with calmer, sweeter giggles because I now understand her better, I know her now, she knows me. She is finding her way into this world. It all gets sweeter and a little bit easier.
(Hindsight, the 1st month was the easiest.)
The 2nd month, we hit her leap 2, her 2nd month vaccine aka triple dose and it was a living hell. To be honest, the 2nd month was a blur to me and I think I secretly don’t want to remember because those days were hard. The witching hour was hard where she would cry non-stop from 5-7pm and nothing worked except a homemade rattle of a plastic bottle and a bell in it. It was the only thing that calmed her down. However, the 2nd month was also when her little personality and look started to come in, her expression would kill me and made me laugh. Truth is I never been happier, and more sleep deprived all at the same time.
Majority of the 3rd month was spent in Singapore; we finally had the chance to travel outside of Thailand and visit family! It was amazing but also very exhausting. I wish someone told me earlier that travelling with a newborn is doing bedtime routine in a different city and it is just as full on as it is back home. I do not know why I thought I would have more time to myself. Also, baby girl and I got C+ and I have never felt more worried and scared for her little life! I don’t want to get into it, but we are good now. It has been more than a month ago and I am glad I got vaccinated when I had the chance during pregnancy and after birth.
I had a vaginal birth, no epidural, and minimal tearing. She came out blazing hot and I mean hot because the whole experience from the water breaking to her coming earth side was under 3 hours. Even though I went back to the gym at 3 weeks postpartum, there were a lot of movements I still could not do. I could not use and feel my core for the longest time. I could not get out of bed without using my legs. Engaging my pelvic floor was rocket science. My lower abdominal walls were hurting if I lift anything too heavy and I was not ready for. It was rough. My ego had to be left at the door. However, one thing I did the second I got home from the hospital and wouldn’t change it any other way is to do your kegels. Everyday if possible. It is as simple like lying on the bed and doing your kegels for 3 sets 30 seocnds. Sound simple? I was sweating by the end of it. We got to remember that we just birth a whole human and those muscles have been working hard and stretched. It needs more attention! Also, I understand now that there is a reason why doctors and professionals always suggest a minimum of 3 months postpartum before really feeling like yourself again. Real talk, I would not change anything about my postpartum journey now but hindsight I could have chilled a little bit.
The physical body: How to feel good about your body after baby
Lets put aside the way we look postpartum for a second and focus on feeling physically good. It is hard to feel good all the time and I will be honest there have been a variation of days. Some days are up, some days are down. I did not want to focus on my weight for the first 3 months. It was too stressful. I focused on eating whole foods, feeling full, drinking loads of fluids, and eating loads of lactation cookies for breastfeeding. I know the weight will eventually come off and I did not want that to my main focus. If anything, I wanted to bounce back on the bar more than the scale.
Many women struggle with not losing the ‘baby weight’ and adjusting to their new bodies, and pressure from social media or your family or friends often doesn’t help. I am no different, but I try not to measure myself against others, and treat myself like I would treat my sister or my best friend and especially now my daughter. I would never want my daughter to repeat the negative things I say to myself.
Have grace with your body. Try to focus on gratitude and all the amazing things your body can do. The most important thing you can do for yourself postpartum – in addition to caring for a newborn and other children – is set aside time for yourself.
My self-esteem, My self-worth
I did not experience any postpartum depression. But I am experiencing some form of postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum anxiety is something where you start to feel this irrational fear for the future or something that has not happened yet. Like if the baby is ok sleeping in his crib or is my baby breathing when you just checked 5 seconds ago. Should I leave the house? Or can I leave the house? What happens when I leave the house? It all sounds so silly, but those thoughts taunted me.
Recently, my future felt bleak. I don’t know what is coming next. I do not want to think of it, and I go down this rabbit hole of excuses and can’t seem to pull myself out of it. This mindset has affected my self-esteem, my work, the way I see myself, my self-worth.
And I realize that this this anxiety is putting me in a box. I am in my own mental prison, a vicious cycle of I cannot do this to I can do this. No, I cannot’ is very exhausting. Apart of me wants to give up and just succumb and hide away from society forever. But I can’t… that is not real life.
I recognize it and I am taking conscious steps form here to be better and get out of this negative headspace.
I am strong. I am independent. If things do not work out. It is not the end.; the mantra I preach in my head whenever I have to do something uncomfortable.
As new moms we got to recognize that we cannot just bounce back to our old selves anymore. The day our baby is born, our whole new self is born too. I cannot go back to the girl I once was. I can take her lessons and perseverance with me but the lifestyle is no longer the same and it is ok. I am better now. Forward and upward.
Having a new baby brings changes in your relationships with everyone – including your friends. Sometimes old friends who have no children are as delighted by your baby as you are, and aside from a few accommodations to your schedule, things continue as they once did. But others may not be as excited about your new phase of life. Some may be envious, while others may have no interest in children. You can’t blame your friends entirely; you’re changing, too. Interests you once shared with certain people (especially ones that kept you out late) may no longer mesh with your lifestyle.
Although you can’t expect everything to stay exactly the same, it helps to strive for a balance between your old way of being together with a friend and your new life. Your friend can’t expect you to abandon all thoughts of your baby, and you can’t expect them to want to talk only about motherhood. Look for common ground in your activities and time together. It’s great if you can sometimes go out together, just the two of you and other times have them come over to visit your baby.
You may drift apart from some of them, but at the same time, your baby will bring you into the orbit of new friends. Through playgroups, support groups, and chance encounters, you’ll meet other new parents with whom you have a lot in common.
if you have read up till this point. You are a trooper. And I am sure you are expecting more from me such as the postpartum body and my postpartum fitness. If you have been following me on IG for awhile @bernsthefitnerd. You should be pretty up to date there. If not, I will save it for my next post in the months! I promise I will come back sooner than 3 months!
Thank you for everything. Stay safe! xx