“Loving a baby is a circular business, a kind of feedback loop. The more you give the more you get and the more you get the more you feel like giving” -Penelope Leach
Finding out you are expecting a child is one of the most exciting yet scary moments someone can experience. I find that as birthing parents the moment we know a child is entering our world the focus shifts to the child and we become a second thought. However, as the quote states "what we give is what is returned (obvious paraphrasing)" and I believe this starts with how we treat ourselves throughout the four trimesters (first-third trimester and postpartum).
The first trimester can be filled with nausea, fatigue, and lack of appetite. Although all trimesters, in my opinion, are important, I do feel like the first and fourth are particularly important- a start and end if you will. There are a few things you can do during the first trimester to ease your mind as well as showing yourself love during this time including scheduling your doctor appointments, taking your vitamins, taking photos of yourself with your baby bump, finding lotion/ moisturizer you enjoy using and drinking plenty of water/fluids.
As we are entering the second trimester, months four-six, we truly begin to see the growth of the baby and hopefully gain back some of the energy we might have lost during the first trimester. Some self-love expressions we can show ourselves during the second trimester include, but are not limited to the following: buying yourself something new to wear, deciding on maternity leave, planning a babymoon (taking a trip somewhere prior to the baby arriving), taking some walks in nature, and beginning pelvic floor exercises.
“Months have an average of 30 days, except the 9th month of pregnancy which has about 1,000 days” -anonymous
The third trimester can be difficult because the body is preparing for birth and at this point, mentally, you are just plain over it being pregnant and over what you would consider being heavy. Try one or all of these self-love tips during the third trimester: get as much rest as you can, take confidence-building maternity photos, read something from your favorite author that is not about babies, spend quality time with your birthing partner, and try some yoga or stretching -you will thank me later!
“My goal is to appreciate my body for what it has done” -Sia Cooper
And now we have made it to the fourth trimester (postpartum). The baby is now home, and adjusting is beginning to take place. This is the time when healing and comfort need to become a priority. During the fourth trimester, self-love is at an all-time critical high because during the fourth-trimester baby blues and postpartum depression can take place. During the first three months that you and baby are home healing and bonding, take the time to do the following for some self-love time: find the time to take a long, warm bath or shower, try to eat something warm and comforting, rest when available (ignore the dishes for a little while- it will be okay!), get out of the house, grab a cup of tea, and make sure you have honest conversations with your doctor about how you are feeling and healing.
In the end, all that matters is a healthy birthing parent and baby! The rest will come together as it should.