Ah, the fourth trimester. You’ve gone thru forty weeks of pregnancy, labored that babe out of you, have enjoyed snuggling him and everything is perfect. That is, until you take a good look in the mirror and notice that your boobs, stomach, and butt seem to be having a race to see who can touch the floor first. I thought I’d bouce back into my old clothes relatively fast. I know, I know, I had a baby! A nine pound baby. But I was in shape when I got pregnant and I was healthy during my pregnancy and thought things would just snap back. Oh man. I. Was. Wrong.
I think it’s obvious by the title of this post that I am not a fan of the fourth trimester (the months following labor and delivery). Pregnancy was relatively easy for me. Hardly any morning sickness, no complications. I’d say I actually enjoyed most of it! But the fourth trimester… oh did it make up for the ease I had experienced prior. I must tell you a story to explain why part of it was so difficult (the other part had to do with delivering a nine pounder! But we’re not going there). This is my token pregnancy story. Please enjoy.
When I found out I was expecting, I decided I’d track my weight gain to make sure I was in a healthy range. But as my belly expanded and the scale number went up, that growing number played with my mind. I decided to bail my weight tracking and leave it to the doctors. It was a great decision! Every time I’d go for a check-up, I’d hop on the scale, look away, tell the nurse I didn’t want to know the number, and the nurse would always laugh and obey. Then I’d meet with the doctor, who’d tell me I’d gained about a pound since the last time I was in and the I was right on track. It was fabulous watching my belly grow and being completely oblivious to how much I weighed. At what I hoped would be my last doctor’s visit (it wasn’t, I was overdue), I had my nurse write down how much I weighed on a piece of paper. I folded it up and tucked it in my purse without looking at it. My plan was to have my baby, take the time I needed to recover, and when I was ready to start getting back in shape, I’d pull out that paper, take inventory of that number, hop on the scale, and be wonderfully surprised with how much I had already lost and it would motivate me to continue to get back in shape. Flawless plan.
Then I went into labor. Thirty six hours of labor. When we got to the hospital, the nurse made me hop on the scale. The scale looked like something that they’d weigh semi trucks on. It was mean. But as I’d always done, I looked away. But something was different this time. My husband, who was in on my plan, was standing right next to me. A different nurse took me into a little room to make sure I was really in labor. And then she started asking me all sorts of questions. As contractions hit, I’d quit talking to the nurse and go into my own world to focus. Then she asked me what I weighed. I told her I didn’t know. She looked at me like I was an idiot. No, I don’t know! Would you like me to explain my flawless plan during this next contraction that is coming on right NOW?!?! She looked at my husband and asked him if he knew what I weighed. He said the number. That number bounced off the walls, hit my ears, sunk into my brain and I quickly did the math. I sat up, looked straight at my husband and yelled, “I GAINED OVER 55 POUNDS???!!!!” The worst part? I still hand’t progressed far enough and was sent home. I didn’t like that nurse. As we drove home, I convinced myself that labor made you gain weight. When we got there, I waddled inside, grabbed that folded up piece of paper and it was confirmed. I had gained over 55 pounds.
So here I am, writing this post six months later. Most of my pants still don’t fit. So I’m bringing to you my tips that have brought me thru the good for nothing, downright rotten fourth trimester .
1. A Skirt is Your Best Friend
For your sanity, do not, I repeat, DO NOT try on your pre-pregnancy pants for the first three months after having a baby! I speak from experience. You will regret it. Instead, opt for skirts. They are comfy, look like you are put together (which we all know parents of newborns are no where close to being), and they hide your new momma hips wonderfully!!! Soon after having Max, I hit the thrift store and bought a few skirts in a larger size, and I also purchased a couple from Modcloth that were on sale (my skirt above was one of them). Best clothing decision I made for this time period. I typically wore my skirts with a button up top so I could easily nurse. Skirts are your best fourth trimester friends.
2. Invest in Some Not-So-Maternity Maternity Pants
See these fun red pants I’m wearing? Maternity. And I don’t care! After having Max, I wore my maternity pants that go over your belly a couple times. And let me tell you, nothing shoots your confidence more than pulling up a pair of pants up over your deflated, hanging stomach. Too graphic? Sorry. You know it’s true. Luckily, while pregnant I had also bought these red pants from Old Navy. They fit more like jeggings and have an elastic band that fits below your belly button. And no one can tell that you are wearing maternity pants! I like to wear mine with a loose blouse or tee to hide the extra curvy midriff I have going on.
3. Head to Toe Knit Fabrics
Once upon a time, I swore I’d never wear jeggings. Now they are my go to! They are so comfortable! I now see why they stuck around. I can throw a top over them and I feel like I’m wearing pyjamas but it looks like I actually am dressed. Win-win. I bought mine from Target. I also purchased the largest size they had and I’ve loved that extra comfort factor. Any kind of leggings have been great for the fourth trimester! Throw on a loose jersey top, grab a sweater (weather permitting), top it off with a scarf or chunky necklace, and you have yourself a great go-to outfit! Love the knit fabrics my friends. They will love you back.
4. Put on a Happy Face
Some days it does get hard. I have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit. During the first few months it really would get me down. One day, after trying on a pair of pants that didn’t fit, I told myself that I could have my old body back immediately, but I’d have to give away my baby as a trade. I instantly realized how crazy I was being, and how wonderfully blessed I am to even be struggling with my body because I had a baby! I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy and any time I get discouraged, I remind myself why I am having to work out harder than normal. It’s completely worth the trade. And I’d do it all over again if I had to. Make sure to be easy on yourself! Currently I’m fifteen pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Instead of getting down about it, I celebrate my accomplishments. I had a giant, healthy baby, gained 55 pounds and am only 15 away from my ultimate goal six months after welcoming Max to the world. Life is good.
What are your tips for getting thru the fourth trimester? We’d all love to hear them!