What Life Looks Like in the 7th Trimester Postpartum: Month 12
Can you believe it? Your sweet little infant is a whole year old! These 12 months probably felt like they simultaneously raced by and dragged on forever, right? This is just the first of many, many years you’ll spend with your child, but it sure was packed with eye-opening, heart-warming, challenging, gorgeous, life-altering experiences. I hope you can take a moment to feel proud of yourself for coming this far and learning this much. You are a superstar. You are amazing. You are a mother.
Month 12 of your 7th trimester: A.K.A. We made it!
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
Happy birthday, baby! And happy birthday, mama!
You did it.
You made it through the first year.
Here’s everything you did this year (on top of all the other normal human things you do day in and day out):
You put forth a heroic effort to bring this little human earthside. Countless hours of preparation and hours or days of labor, before finally meeting your baby.
You survived the cramping, contracting, pushing; the surprise turn of events that forced you to do whatever was safest and best for you and baby. You rode the physical and emotional roller-coaster of birth all the way to the finish line like a goddamn Olympian.
You soaked in the sweetness of that first kiss, of counting fingers and toes, and inhaling that indescribably beautiful newborn scent.
You figured out how to clean that sticky meconium off your baby’s tush. You’re now well acquainted with the surprise poop explosion (and know how to handle it like a pro).
You figured out (very quickly) that rock-hard boobs = engorgement, and learned how to take care of it ASAP. You learned how to hold your baby, understand her communication style, and connect with her. You found your rhythm with breastfeeding or pumping or formula feeding. You made the hard-but right choices for your family, because that’s what you do.
You hobbled around with sore joints, no abs, wearing diapers, and bleeding for weeks on end, all while serving as a meal source for another human.
You wondered what the heck you just did to your life. You wept for no reason at all, then for every reason in the world, and sometimes for both simultaneously. You drenched your sheets and peed on yourself when you were two steps away from the toilet. You leaked breast milk and stained your shirts. You felt like a total mess, and carried on anyway.
You did more on less sleep than you’ve ever had to before. You became a master of the middle-of-the-night diaper change and feeding session while half awake. You turned your biological rhythms inside-out for this tiny little human.
You figured out how to hold a baby and make a meal.
You found the strength to return to work, leaving your baby before you were emotionally ready. You stomached the cost of childcare knowing you’re paying an astronomical fee in every sense. But somewhere inside you, you heard a little voice telling you it’s worth the effort because your work is important and meaningful.
You adjusted to your new reality of staying at home. The joy of being with your child paired with the loss of identity, space, and time. You figured out how to ask for help when it was the last thing you wanted to do. You coped with those luscious locks falling out and a body that sometimes felt like it belonged to someone else.
You lived like a goddamn Dr. Seuss book…Oh, the places your *pump* will go (to the car, office, airplane, bathroom, gym).
You took your first family trip (not a vacation) and realized that nothing will ever be the same. Your life from now on will be both sweeter and harder than you could have imagined.
And, at some point, you felt like yourself again. Ready for pleasure, rested enough to connect with your partner out of desire and not pressure. You survived the first several uncomfortable sexual encounters, not giving into disappointment or fear.
You attended what felt like a million appointments and classes to heal your body from pregnancy and birth. The beautiful child you brought into the world sure did a number on your sweet body.
And you took classes to bond with your baby and support her development. You learned and absorbed everything you could to understand her.
You might’ve ridden the wave of wondering whether or not to have another child. It probably felt overwhelmingly impossible but also not out of the picture.
You spent time and energy finding and understanding your new identity, both at home and work. It was a painful process (why don’t we talk about this more?!), but absolutely worth it. You came out on the other side stronger and more self-assured than ever.
You and your partner fought about dividing roles, parenting styles, who does more, and spent countless hours (#workinprogress) learning how to love and respect one another when everything and everyone feels out of whack.
You survived teething, illness, working on less than 4 hours of sleep. You lived through sleep regressions on top of sleep regressions and wondered if you lose your mind. But you didn’t (most of the time).
You snuggled your baby until your heart doubled in size, you wept from boredom while simultaneously feeling like there was far too much to do.
You grumbled about how frustrating it was to do simple tasks; you bounced your baby until your feet turned to dust.
You ended your days saying you wished you could turn back time, remembering just how perfect your tiny human was. And then realizing she’s just as perfect now.
You felt relief knowing that someday your clingy baby would be more independent, and then cried knowing the time would pass too quickly.
This first year you changed just as quickly and as deeply as your baby. You had good days, bad days, hard days, and days you’ll never forget. You did it, mama.
As you end this year, celebrate all you’ve accomplished. You deserve it.