Taking Care of Yourself in the Fourth Trimester
Diana Zic is the owner of CocoonCareTM Wellness, Chicago's original fitness and wellness center specifically catered to women in their childbearing years. A specialist in prenatal and postpartum care, Diana encourages women to listen to their intuition whether it’s on the yoga mat or in coaching sessions. She shared her top tips for taking care of yourself during the Fourth Trimester.
Birth can be the most amazing, scary, challenging, joyful, and life changing experience in a women’s life. It alters all the layers of the ‘bodies’ or the five Koshas as it’s called in the yoga philosophy: physical, energetic, mental/emotional, wisdom (our intuition/identity), and bliss (connection to the divine).
So it’s perplexing to me why the modern world is under the impression that after the baby is delivered the woman will be back to ‘doing it all’? In most cultures, women are taken care of by family for weeks, if not months after birth! The idea is to adequately nourish and care for the mother so she can heal and completely before heading back to daily life. Now, I understand not everyone has a parent or friend that can help them for weeks or months, but there are other ways to ask for support that may make a huge difference each day for you that I’ve listed below.
As a women’s holistic health advocate, I encourage women to give themselves the permission to take time for self-care and to reconnect to their new bodies in a patient and loving way. It saddens me when I hear women describe themselves as failures because they’re not able to ‘do it all’ and are not healed in ‘X’ number of weeks.
My hopes are these few tips will encourage you to stop and listen to your body TODAY, ask it what it needs and honor it!
Support. Gather up as much support as you can during this period of time so you can rest and recover for yourself and your new baby(ies). If you don’t have family nearby, seeking out a postpartum doula, housekeeper, meal preparation assignments to your partner or a meal train with friends could be invaluable. Please don’t pretend you don’t need it or feel guilty about it taking it! Women are social beings and thrive in groups. Remember you are not alone!
Acceptance. Accepting where you’re is so important for healing. Remember nine months carrying a baby means you should give yourself at least nine months to recover. Maybe more! I find using a daily mantra helps our minds stay positive and strong. What we say to ourselves becomes our reality, so make them kind and caring daily! Try out something like: “My body is healing perfectly” ,“I accept my healing process”, or “All is okay and it’s only going to get better”
Replenish. You may think it’s not important any longer to eat well after the baby is born, but that’s far from the truth, especially if you’ve chosen to breastfeed! Think of it like this: you basically ran two marathons and your body needs support! You may need even more calories than when you were pregnant. Now is not the time for calorie-cutting. Focus on nourishing your body with warm whole foods and tons of water. Your body will lose the baby weight on it’s own natural timing, try to come from a place of kindness not how you can get back ‘X’ weight. Also, health care professionals recommend staying on your prenatal for extra support for at least six months and get your vitamin, thyroid, and iron levels checked to be sure you are getting nourished enough by your diet.
Practice Gratitude. I know there’s not a ton of free time when you’re a new parent, but it’s priceless to take stock of ten things you’re grateful each morning. Who are you grateful for that day? What are you learning from your obstacles? What’s the best part of your day?