The Fourth Trimester (And My Experience As A Mom)

by Ann deBruyn

My experience as a mom during the “fourth trimester” has been nothing short of magical (in both really good AND hard ways).

(The fourth trimester is the newborn phase, typically lasting for the first three months of the baby’s life.)

For me personally, it’s been that every day gets a little bit better.

The beginning is just so “disorienting” as my father-in-law so accurately put it.

And yet as I’ve used thought work and my experience coaching moms along with the books and courses I prepared myself with, every day truly has gotten a little bit better.

I don’t really love the newborn phase. And that’s OKAY. I have no shame about that.

I want you to know that you don’t have to love every phase of being a mom.

It’s 100% okay to prefer certain phases of being a mom more than others.

I love the baby phase. The phase where they come into their own and start responding and engaging with you. The part where they love you back and want to cuddle and play. I love babies and always have. Motherhood has just reaffirmed that.

So, today, I want to share with you what’s been most helpful for me during the fourth trimester (the first three months after RJ was born). Here are my best fourth trimester tips and resources…

Fourth Trimester Tips And Resources

Here are four tips and resources I’m sharing with you for navigating the Fourth Trimester as someone who just went through it.

1. Read books and take courses to get prepared.

While you can’t plan motherhood, you can prepare for it.

The books and courses I read and went through helped me with my mindset and with practical ways to get prepared at home.

Here are my favorite books and courses for the fourth trimester:

  • The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson (book)
  • Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin (book)
  • Moms On Call by Laura Hunter (book)
  • Will I Ever Sleep Again by Taking Cara Babies (course)

2. Clean out your Instagram and start following better accounts.

Instagram is full of accounts solely dedicated to motherhood education. This is an incredible resource to use that’s completely free.

I went through and unfollowed accounts that were no longer aligned with where I was headed (or at a minimum what I just didn’t want to put my energy into during this season). Then I followed a bunch of mom accounts that provided information about becoming a mom and navigating motherhood.

Here are my favorite IG accounts to follow for Motherhood:

  • @TheEverymom
  • @RaisingGoodHumansPodcast
  • @HERselfPodcast
  • @Mommy.LaborNurse
  • @BigLIttleFeelings
  • @Happiest_Baby
  • @ExpectingAndEmpowered
  • @ModernMommyDoc
  • @KateBorsato
  • @HappyAsAMother
  • @TakingCareOfBabies
  • @RaiseGoodKids
  • @PedsDocTalk
  • @Milestones.and.Motherhood
  • @WhatToExpect
  • @Parents

Also, if you’re not following me on IG, be sure to! I share mindfulness tips for moms there — @NatalieRBacon.

3. Get outside and talk to an adult every day.

This advice comes from my OB! She said that it can be so very helpful to get outside every day as well as talk to an adult who is not your spouse. Of course, this isn’t medical advice, but I want to share it here as a way to encourage you to do it, too because I’ve loved it so much.

Getting outside and going for walks (whether it’s by myself or with little man) has been a game changer. Experiencing the fresh air and seeing life all around me really helped me to have an instant mood boost.

Talking to a friend on the phone every day has also been really impactful. I feel more connected because I’m thinking about all the people in my life who I love outside my home.

Resources:

  • Podcast Directory (free download)
  • Hard Seasons In Motherhood (podcast)

4. Manage your mind (by doing thought work).

While most people will tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” I want to offer you something even better.

The key to moving through the fourth trimester is managing your mind around what you’re thinking. This means doing thought work.

So very practically speaking this means choosing what to think instead of thinking what your default brain thinks. I talk more about default mindsets in this podcast, Three Default Mindsets.

For example, instead of thinking “I’m tired and this is horrible” did you know you can think “I’m tired and being tired isn’t that big of a deal”?

This shift in my mindset around sleep helped me tremendously. It removed the self pity I had initially (thinking I was entitled to more sleep and that lack of sleep was this huge problem).

You can do this too. You can decide right now that being tired isn’t that big of a deal.

That’s what doing thought work is all about.

You look at your default thoughts and question them. You decide what thoughts you want to keep and what thoughts you want to replace with better feelings and thoughts. More on this in my podcast, Thoughts Vs. Facts which you can find here.

This is a practice (like doing yoga every day) that you can get good at.

To get started, I recommend coming to an Ask Natalie Anything workshop where I teach you how to do this work in depth.

A Final Note!

The Fourth Trimester is full of ups and downs due to internal (hormonal) and external (circumstances) shifts happening.

Allow yourself to be in it without wishing it away. Allow yourself to “live in the and” as I call it.

Let it be good AND hard. Let it be magical AND trying. Let it be rewarding AND challenging.

When you allow space for both, you’ll find it easier to accept your new life without going to an extreme.

I’m so very grateful for my own journey through the fourth trimester and these tips have helped me tremendously. My hope is that they do the same for you, too.