Fostering a baby into the world is one of life’s most magical experiences. But for new mothers struggling with postpartum physical and emotional changes, the “fourth trimester” can be a major adjustment period. Experts say that during these first months, a new mother needs to take care not only of her newborn, but also her own body and her emotions.
Chay Shavrick, RN, women’s health navigator and pre- and postpartum RN navigator at Lynn Women’s Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital
“Women dream of this very special moment in their lives,” says Chay Shavrick, RN, female health navigator and pre- and postpartum RN navigator of Barbara C. Gutin’s Pre- and Postpartum Program at Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Boca Regional Hospital Hospital Welfare Institute. “They’ve had an amazing time: getting pregnant, getting pregnant, giving birth and now they’re home with their baby.”
At the same time, Ms. Shavrick says, a new mother’s hormones recede from pregnancy, she feels anxious and exhausted, and may be experiencing “baby blues” or postpartum depression.
“For a new mother, it can be a difficult time, both physically and emotionally,” Ms. Shavrick. “But your fourth trimester is an opportunity to celebrate yourself, to recognize what you’ve accomplished right now, and to move from your birth plan to your wellness plan.”
Ms. Shavrick says she needs to be given permission to mentally move on to her new life as a mother. “It’s perfectly fine to make yourself and your child a priority,” she says. “You just have to know that as you go through this transition period, as you adjust to motherhood, everything will be fine,” she says.
Mrs. Shavrick also offers the following reflections to new mothers to reflect on when they feel overwhelmed:
- You are still the same woman, partner, daughter, amazing friend.
- You still have control (but maybe less control than you’re used to).
- The dishes are not always done.
- They can accumulate in the laundry.
- Leaving home or even pajamas will not be as easy as before.
- Your priorities will probably change, but that’s okay.
- You may still like going out to find friends, but you do it less often now while you’re delving into your new routine.
- You’re still a great friend, but maybe you’re talking on the phone or texting right now because your hands are full.
- People who really care about you will understand that it’s time to put family first.
- Discover the importance of regulating and taking care of yourself.
- It’s important to recognize that if you try to do everything you did before again, and the PERFECT way to do it, you’re likely to be prepared for stress and frustration.
- Know yourself where you are and if the people around you don’t understand it, you know it’s okay.
- You still do!
- Sort your priorities knowing that because they are your priorities, you already know in what order you want them to be.
- Take time with your partner to foster your relationship now that you are in this new role.
Each child requires a different type of mother, Ms. Shavrick says, and the fourth trimester is the time for a new mother to find her “mother’s compass.” She advises new mothers to trust their own maternal instincts.
“Becoming a complete mother is a learning process,” she says. “There are many different types of motherhood styles (there’s no right or wrong approach), so don’t try to reflect other mothers or do what everyone says you should do. No one knows better than you what is best for you. to you and your baby “.
What a baby needs most in the world, says Mrs. Shavrick, is for the mother to be attentive and present, with her feet on the ground. Sometimes, however, a new mother experiences postpartum depression or anxiety, which limits her ability to be there for her baby. “One in five mothers experiences‘ baby blues, ’as it is called, or a more serious condition known as Postpartum Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD),” Ms. Shavrick says.
According to Ms. Shavrick, PMAD occurs in many forms and occurs in women of all cultures, races, ages, and income levels, but the disease is often not recognized or treated. Symptoms can appear at any time during pregnancy and can appear up to 12 months after delivery, she says. “Anything can trigger PMAD, including a return to work after maternity leave, loss of family, or even a pandemic,” she says.
Noting that May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, Ms. Shavrick says it is important to raise awareness about PMAD because every new mother is at risk and could have long-term consequences for both the mother and the child. baby. “I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to with whom a trusted family member or friend said PMAD doesn’t really exist,” she says. “Well, let me tell you that the stress of adjusting to motherhood is real.”
Without treatment and without diagnosis, PMAD can have physical and mental effects on both mother and child, says Ms. Shavrick. Obstetric risks include higher cases of premature birth, higher rates of miscarriage, and postpartum complications. “If a pregnant woman is depressed, they are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and are less likely to take good care of their developing baby.”
Mrs. Shavrick suggests that friends, relatives, and neighbors ask the new mother, “How do you really feel now?” and watch over us common PMAD warning signs:
- Constant sadness
- Crying easily
- Changes in eating patterns, not being hungry or not eating despite knowing that it is good for the developing baby
- Inability to focus and be present in life
Mrs. Shavrick encourages women to seek help and talk to their partners, caring friends, and family about the feelings they experience. The most important thing, he adds, is that no one should ever be reluctant to seek help from their medical provider or consider themselves a therapist. “As a new mom, your mental health is so important,” she says. “If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you’re probably not alone. But help is here when you need it; all you have to do is ask for it ”.
Despite the challenges that may come in the fourth trimester, Ms. Shavrick says she reminds new mothers to accept this new stage of their lives and to be proud of the journey they have made. She urges mothers to take five minutes each day to be still with their baby. “Read, crawl and take a moment to savor this special connection between you and your baby,” she advises. “And end each conversation with ‘I love you.'”