The Fourth Trimester

That's right - you have an extra one to go. Sorry to break the news, but it's better than finding out from your screaming baby, emigrated sleep, elapsed memory, disobedient bladder, scalding breasts and hormones in mutiny. Oh, and that beautiful belly that housed your bounty is now just ballooned skin that houses extra fat laced together with stretch marks. As much as the third trimeter may be uncomfortable and tiring, the fourth trimester is really the kicker. Motherhood is baptized through fire. And then things get easier and ease into a new normal...

This week I had my six week postnatal appointment and was instructed to fill out their Global Distress Index survey to assess whether I was clinically depressed. Unfortunately some women suffer from clinical depression due to a rapid change in their hormones after pregnancy. However, some of the questions were ridiculous.
Have you had trouble sleeping?
Have you and your partner been fighting?
Have you had trouble concentrating?
Are you in pain?
Do you feel down sometimes?
Do you have mood swings?
I wanted to circle a bunch and express my sentiment with CAPS and possibly exclamation points, but I stuck to the rules and merely circled their numbers  - I felt low sometimes, I had trouble sleeping all the time etc.

The second time is easier. The body recovers better and quicker. Yet, the first couple of weeks, I would joke with my husband that he was the only resident not in diapers. And what's a marriage without losing bladder control at least a few times in front of your husband or being milked? My greatest distress is that I am still in continuous pain as my son's mouth is simply not big enough to suck without clamping down on me. With my first, I had to wait 3 months and I cannot wait to get to that mark. Oh to be without pain. Lack of sleep is one thing, combine it with constant pain and you have an altogether different type of stress. However, it is at least much easier than the initial round. For one thing, my husband didn't have to prick my milk ducts with a needle to unplug them. That's been a huge plus. I'm also not locked up in the bathroom after feedings, watching sitcoms under instruction from my lactation consultant pumping away in an effort to increase milk production but rather eating my husband's deliciously baked cookies. Bonanza!

Maybe nature makes it easier physically easier because you have another child to tend to and it would be almost near impossible to do it if it took you nearly three walks to walk. This time, I walked home from the hospital. Then again, I only had a minor tear this time and didn't have to spend a whole month following a strict dousing ritual and gritting my teeth from the pain of burning pee. Ah, the beauty of motherhood.

This time, I'm all about the corset (really a band). I laughed at this before, but my cousin insisted that it worked and considering that I failed to lose the mummy tummy last time and that I am vain (yes, I am vain, vain, vain and I love my clothes and want to be repatriated with my pre-pregnancy items) and want my pre-pregnancy flat stomach back (oh, the good old days before any tenants arrived! I don't know how they managed to get their expansion plans through the heritage department), I asked around and bought one from a local SF provider designed by a physiotherapist. It's definitely helping, albeit I would advise to not wear it 24 hours a day as I did in the beginning until I had excruciating pain in my back. Correction - vain and stupid.

Oh vanity saith the preacher, vanity...

I'm a bit more accepting of the added baggage this time. For one thing, it's been a long time since I've had that flat pre-pregnancy stomach thanks to number 1. Second, I know it goes down incrementally and didn't expect to walk out of the hospital room in my pre-pregnancy jeans, as I had the first time. I now understand that my mother's memory post-labour of walking out of the hospital in her pre-pregnancy jeans was either medically or hormonally induced or the result of fashion sense fitting a circus clown. I also know that maternity clothes, although they feel great are the absolute least flattering thing you can wear postpartum. After all, they are meant to show off your bump not hide it. Loose fitting non-maternity or a short term change of religion is probably the wisest fashion choice. In the meantime my pre-first--pregnancy clothes are in the intermittent camp of the back of my closet, awaiting asylum, ever fearing that they will be denied and end up in goodwill.


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