Currently I'm in the 2nd trimester of my 2nd pregnancy. Will be getting my 20 week scan in a month and that will be the halfway point to the due date.
The first trimester is often punctuated with issues with morning sickness, bloating, fear of miscarriage. And by the final trimester often women are heavy, feel like whales and are just looking forward to D-Day. This second trimester is meant to be the period of blooming and glowing with radiant hormones of love and progesterone - have a bit of a bump, but still reasonably alright looking.
My favourite trimester is the 4th one. The first 3 months after the baby is born when the most important thing is snuggling up with him/her, breastfeeding almost constantly to help him/her grow and to build milk supply, not worrying about slimming right back down to pre-pregnancy size and not caring about the distant call of work or a social life.
Okay, okay, so strictly there isn't a 4th trimester but for parents who favour an attachment parenting ethos then it is real. It was real to me with Adam and I trust it will be as real again when Baby C is born in August.
|Moi et Matilda le chat, 2009|
I'd secured a year break from my degree to be at home to breastfeed Adam, to be with him and do all the normal 'mummy' things, but when it came down to it I Just Couldn't Go Back. Actually, I did go back after the year for a few months, but didn't like it, kept messing up essays and just felt a hopelessness that I didn't feel at home. So I packed in my degree, went back home and have Never Looked Back!
I've never been much of a student anyway, so the world of Northern Ireland academia hasn't lost one of its bright stars, but I knew that my son needed me and that I equally needed to be around him.
|Adam at almost 2 months old, sleeping after a feed|
When Baby C comes I won't be able to devote myself 100% to him/her like I did when Adam was newborn, but I will be at home with both my children. Not rushing off, not heading away. I've nothing against mums who want or need to work (obviously!) I know that not everyone can afford to be a SAHM either financially or in terms of their sanity, but for my family it is best. I admit to having some wobbles and desires to be around other adults, but overwhelming being a SAHM has been a rich rich blessing for myself, for my child and also for Andrew who is free to work and study safe in the knowledge that my base is at home.
I do believe in the practices of attachment parenting (or my own version of it anyway) and I do want to be lead by what my child needs, what my body needs and not what some 'expert' I've never met tells me in a mass-produced book.
I tried so hard to get Adam to settle in a pram, but as a newborn he hated them, cried all the time and just wanted out. Often I ended up walking the final yards of my journey pushing the pram with one hand (which is NOT easy!!) and carrying him in my free arm. Now I realise that he just wanted to be close to me for security, as that is what he was used to in the womb and also when we were at home and I was breastfeeding him about 17 hours out of every 24.
For Baby C I have bought a sling and will be using that from when he/she is a newborn. It will mean the baby can be close to me, and close to my chest for feeding whenever it is needed, and I will be able to attend to Adam and entertain him without a pram getting in the way.
I did get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes quite quickly after Adam was born, but that wasn't because of dieting, it was because exclusive breastfeeding burns 500 cals a day! Yep! I did have a bit of anxiety about my body after Adam was born, but in hindsight I was being too worldly and will be more relaxed this time round. I promise I will. I promise I will at least try, anyway.
Andrew was a great support to me in all my endeavours with Adam, and has been a great support to me so far in this pregnancy and has helped a lot when I've been sick with hyperemesis. I do think having a lovely husband helps in the wonderful practices of attachment parenting, and he doesn't even roll his eyes when I mention the 4th trimester to him.
If you're pregnant then perhaps you could give the 4th trimester idea a try, and if you're already a firm supporter of the 4th trimester then I hope this gives you a chance to nod and agree.