How to Manage Your Life in the 6th Trimester Postpartum: Month 9
Your baby is 9 months old! Can you believe it?!? Everyone around you can, and it’s possible that some of them have started ghosting you. Since they’re not you, and they’re not parenting your little one themselves, they don’t know how challenging it continues to be to learn and adjust and keep up.
So don’t be shy about asking for the help you need. At home, at work, from friends, from family … wherever you’re struggling, find those people who can step in and support you. Yes, you’re getting the hang of motherhood in a serious way, but you don’t need to do any of it all by yourself. Especially if it feels exhausting and overwhelming.
Month 9 of your 6th trimester: A.K.A. What just happened?
There’s something about “month 9” that makes it feel like a turning point. And for some moms, it is! Baby is hitting those developmental milestones, your energy is returning, and you’re learning to balance work and parenting. But for others, there may still be tons of challenges and frustrations. As always, be gentle with yourself and remember that your journey is unique. Take that journey at a pace that feels right to YOU.
Your Mind + Body:
9 months in, 9 months out, and your body is back to normal, right? Nope. If you’re holding onto a few extra pounds, you’re not alone. And I mean really, super-duper not alone! Most women plateau about 2-5 lbs above their pre-pregnancy weight a year after giving birth. Around 20% of women hold onto 10 lbs or more a year after giving birth.
Breastfeeding isn’t likely to help you shed those last few pounds. Despite the fact that breastfeeding itself burns calories, you’re releasing the hormone prolactin which stimulates your appetite. (And that’s why you’re eating like a teenage boy).
If this is your second or third child, unfortunately, you’re more likely to hold onto more belly fat.
What’s a mom to do? Start by shedding the belief that “getting your body back” after baby is a goal worth achieving; instead, focus on well-being.
Do you feel like you have at least 10 minutes to yourself each day to breathe, meditate, or move your body? Take it! Don’t latch onto the belief that anything less than 30 minutes of hard cardio is useless. Do whatever you can whenever you can.
It’s stressful putting yourself on the backburner all the time, so take a note from nature. After a stressful experience, it has been documented that animals literally shake it off to discharge the energy. (Think of a dog shaking its whole body after a tussle with another dog.) My go-to move is to turn on music, dance, and shake it off (thanks T-Swift)! Bonus: your baby will find this hilarious!
Do you have time to eat well? If you find that you’re grabbing the Goldfish crackers because you’re starving and it’s an easy snack, try meal prep hacks. Here’s one that I love:
Purchase a food chopper, like the Ultra Chef, to quickly chop and store veggies. Next, make a few cups worth of quinoa or some other high protein grain. Finally, make (or purchase) a tahini dressing (I love Noble Made Sriracha Tahini Dressing). Within 20 minutes you’ll have a handful of buddha bowls to eat as tasty and healthy meals.
Your Home and Work
Are you getting the support you need to reach your breastfeeding goals? 47% of women consider leaving their job for one that’s more supportive of breastfeeding, and 49% of women are worried that breastfeeding or pumping at work could negatively impact their career growth. If you’re feeling pressure to stop pumping at work, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for tips and encouragement! It’s time to break the stigma and challenges of being a working mother in corporate America.
How are you and your partner doing? It’s important to remember that partners can experience anxiety and depression after the baby is born, too. The transition from couple to family can feel like the loss of exclusivity within the relationship. Many couples grapple with feeling this loss through the first 2 years of their child’s life. It’s completely OK to mourn how much has changed, while also feeling grateful for the new family you created.
To nurture your relationship as your family expands,consider these practices:
- It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of balancing and family and work, but setting aside time to connect is both simple and vital. Ask each other, “What’s one thing you did or thought about today that I don’t know about?” Or, “What’s the most interesting/frustrating/funny thing that happened to you today?”
- Block off time to organize your week or month as a couple. When you schedule logistical conversations, you’re less likely to pepper them in throughout the day, forget what the other said, and bicker. (Because who really wants to talk about drop off and pick up when they’re making breakfast and rushing out the door?)
- Remember to touch. Hold hands, hug, rub each others’ backs. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it just has to be loving. Touch is a silent reminder that your partner is there for you, you’re in this together, and you feel love for one another.
Your little baby is a baby no more! Instead, she is vocal, opinionated, cuddly, and active. Your baby is likely crawling, pulling herself to a standing position, interested in putting all things into her mouth, and might not be sleeping very well.
Keep an eye on the stairs and tiny objects on the floor. Your baby will try to scale the stairs and eat whatever’s in reach, and both can lead to minor disasters.
Here are few ways to treat your baby with respect as they assert their independence:
- Provide plenty of floor time to encourage exploration. Do this by creating a safe space for your baby to explore.
- See and think about things from your baby’s perspective. Get on the floor and crawl around with your baby! You’ll both have a blast!
- Show and tell your baby about things going on around her. Talk to her about her emotions, about the dog barking across the street, and about your mood. This helps you two build a connection, and helps baby build an understanding of her world.
- Observe your baby to understand her personality and preferences. Get to know how your baby communicates by practicing mindful responding.
- Example of mindful responding: Your baby makes a shrieking noise! You quickly turn around to grab your baby and find out if she’s OK. But before you react, pause. Take a look at your baby; is her shrieking accompanied by a smile? Does she look afraid? Pausing before you respond gives you a chance to quiet your sympathetic nervous system (your fight-or-flight response) and attune your response to what you observe in your baby.
What to do if:
- Baby proof your life, not just your home.
- Make a list of you and your partner’s favorite activities. Put it on the fridge or in your bathroom as a reminder of things to prioritize postpartum.
- Check out our Gravida Ebook which includes 36 questions to ask your partner to make your relationship stronger than ever!
- Talk to your coworkers who are parents and get tips on how to manage work after maternity leave. Next, speak to your manager about your concerns or needs. You are an asset! Don’t forget it.
- You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times at Gravida…ask for help! If you don’t know where to begin, feel isolated and lonely, or like you’ve emptied the bank, reach out to us at email@example.com. We have got your back!
The biggest hurdle?
Staying tuned into yourself and your family when you feel external pressure to have your sh*t together! If you find that you’re comparing yourself to Martha next door, remember that you’ll be able to thrive when you honor where you are, not where you think you should be. Every family member has their own pace for finding internal balance.