Lazy Saturdays

how to dress for the downright rotten, good for nothing, fourth trimester

IMG_8510Ah, 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

IMG_8527For 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

IMG_8543See 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

IMG_8567Once 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

IMG_8614Some 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!

Also check out my tips for the first and second trimesters and the third trimester! 

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Jannapy says:

Oh you had such a great plan…stupid nurse! Did you weigh yourself when you got home from delivering that big boy? I found that I lost a lot of water weight during my first week home. Oh yeah, I don’t weigh at home…I go by how my clothes fit, ’cause yeah, those numbers can mess with you! You are looking great! One more thing…don’t be too shocked if your pants fit tighter even once you reach pre-pregnancy weight…all that hip spreading takes time (maybe 2 years, if ever) to go back. But Hey, curvy hips are a good thing. :o)

lazysaturdays says:

I didn’t start weighing myself again until I was close to the six week mark. I had a friend once tell me that she weighed herself once she got home and had only lost a couple pounds. I have no clue if that’s even possible seeing as you automatically loose the weight of the child, but I decided to wait a bit before dealing with the nasty scale again :) And I’m definitely not counting on all my clothes fitting perfectly again! Mostly I’m just trying to get to a healthy weight and then I’ll figure out the clothing situation from there :) And hey, if nothing fits well, it will be a great excuse to go shopping!

Melanie says:

I love this post! I gained over 50 pounds when I was pregnant and it was more than 6 months before I lost that weight. It was hard losing it, but it was even harder dealing with feeling like I had nothing to wear. These are fantastic tips for new moms to feel better about their appearance during that awful “4th trimester” or 5th!

lazysaturdays says:

Haha! The fifth trimester… I believe that’s where I am today! 😉 And yeah, that nothing to wear feeling is no fun!

Tamara says:

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve gained 50+ each time. And I’ve done it four times. Gaining and (mostly) losing that four times in the last ten years really does a number on your body image. Like you, it came to the point of deciding to like myself the way I am and that it’s worth the sacrifice to have kids. Love it!

lazysaturdays says:

Four times! That’s amazing! You’re a rock star!

Misty says:

Please don’t stress too much over the remaining baby weight! You have the right attitude about just enjoying this time with your gorgeous baby. :) you look beautiful, but I know that it’s such a downer to have so many clothes in your closet that taunt you daily! I gained about 40 pounds with my daughter and it took me over a year to lose it all. But you can always lose weight. These newborn moments are so fleeting!

lazysaturdays says:

Great advice! And so true! I still feel like I have a newborn… even though he started crawling this week! The time is zooming by much too fast!

Melissa says:

Love this advice!! Best advice I heard was it takes 9 months for your body to make a baby and 9 months to fully recover. It took exactly 9 months for me to get back to my pre-pregs weight after Penelope, but 20 months for Felix. I was 5 lbs shy for about 12 of those 20 months, but was too lazy to really focus and do anything about it. My biggest piece of advice: embrace the body you have now. And purge those clothes if they get you down. There’s no reason why some sewn up fabric should make you feel down about yourself.

lazysaturdays says:

Love your advice! I plan on purging my clothes once I stop loosing weight for sure! Plus, it’ll make room for new clothes for my new hot-mom body 😉

If you’ve already lost 40 lbs., 15 is nothing! You got this! 😀 Btw, you have one adorable baby and we have matching hats.

lazysaturdays says:

Thanks!!! And I love this hat! Five bucks at Winco! Haha!

Johanna says:

Thank you so much for this post! I had my baby girl ten weeks ago and although I gained only 20 pounds I still have to loose 12 pounds to reach my pre-pregnancy weight and I am so frustrated because it takes so much time to loose this baby weight! Yesterday, I pulled all of my clothes out of my wardrobe and I got so angry because there are just these few clothes that fit and are compatibly with nursing and this huge amount of clothes that just don’t fit at all or are just impracticable. But it is really good to see that I’m not the only mum with these problems and you are so right, a healthy and happy child is so much more important and worth it!

lazysaturdays says:

You are most definitely not alone! Welcome to the club :) And it really does seem that the clothes the do fit are not nursing friendly. Sigh.

Marissa says:

Thanks for the tips. This is my fourth baby and I knew going in that my favorite clothes wouldn’t fit me again for a long time if ever again. That made me pretty sad. I’m back down to my pre-preggo weight but everything still doesn’t fit, even some of my shoes! All that “spreading” takes time to tighten back up. I’ve been wearing my “work out” clothes for the last 3 months just because they are about the only thing that fits. It has been motivation for me to be more active though. :) Just before reading this I was looking at my closet thinking that it’s time to purge and hit the thrift store. Now, I’m motivated to actually do it. If I feel good about where I’m at now, it will be more motivation to do better, than feeling crappy and just eating more ice cream. So here’s to loving our babies and our bodies and being okay with the right now! Thanks!

lazysaturdays says:

I love the last line! Thanks for your comment :)

Sally says:

haha….that’s probably the funniest labor story I’ve heard!
As always, your ideas are perfect for Future Me. :)

Anja says:

such great advice! I haven’t had a baby, but my best friend has been struggling with the post baby body after delivering my goddaughter. I definitely will recommend your tips to her and will keep them in mind when I will get pregnant one day. Thx for sharing and being so super honest!!

Marie says:

I have a newborn and can so relate to wearing maternity right now- though I will be excited to (one day) get back in my old clothes. This is my second, and I know it will be hard, but reasonable eating, some exercise (mostly walking kids in a stroller since I am too busy for the gym), and breastfeeding will help get me where I’d like to be one day. Skirts and maxi dresses are totally handy until then!

lazysaturdays says:

I love maxi dresses! So comfy! I don’t own a single one that is breastfeeding friendly… I guess I could just hike that thing up over my head every time, but something tells me I’d get in trouble in public :)

Mira says:

Great post! Love your blog and follow your every move! I had two kids – 3yrs and 1yr – and let me tell you there is nothing more efectively weight loosing than bringing them up all alone. All those sleepless nights, no time to wash your hair (what’s left for the teeth), striving to get them fed with home-made meals……. And suddenly you stop, take a look in the mirror and see yourself changed! Pregnancy does deform a woman’s body, but only child care can take it back in the fit stage it use to be (sometimes you look even better).
I gained 9kg with my first and 8kg with the second and each time I got out of hospital having left that burden together with the labour hours in the facility.
So enjoy Max and donot thing of insignificant things as weght!

lazysaturdays says:

That you so much for the sincere comment Mira! Your kids are lucky to have such a caring mom! Motherhood certainly changes us in more ways than just physically :) What a crazy journey it is!

Tess says:

Don’t worry, the weight will come off. Eventually. I gained 12 kg during pregnancy and after delivery, I lost barely 2 kg. How the hell did that happened? Did they leave the saw they butchered my tummy with in me? Did they forget the placenta? And it doesn’t help that Asians have some heavy duty confinement food. I only started losing weight after 1 year. After that it came off pretty fast. Breast feeding helps. Doing all the chores and looking after the baby helps. I lost all the pregnancy weight only 1.5 yrs later and went on to lose a little more. Mind you, that’s without much dieting or exercising. So chill and enjoy the time with the baby. Just a tip. Chinese confinement food often has plenty of ginger in them. It helps to get rid of bloated-ness in the tummy and keeps the body warm.

Tess says:

If you sew, make yourself some nice dresses. I did my own nursing dress. Basically I inserted zips down both side of the dress to Facilitate breast feeding.

lazysaturdays says:

Fabulous! idea! Thanks for the comments Tess!

Valerie says:

My baby is coming up on 3 months and while my pre-pregnancy jeans fit very few of my shirts fit over my gigantic nursing chest! I am up 2 cup sizes from my pre-pregnant state and I hate even sitting up straight because it accentuates my already noticeable chest, haha. But breast is best, and all those cute tops in my closet are going to have to wait another 9 months, but everything I go through makes me love and admire my mom so much more for having 10 kids!

lazysaturdays says:

Ten kids! That’s amazing! She must be Wonder Woman. Having a baby definitely makes me appreciate my mom more! And my tops just barely started to fit now after six months. Some still don’t fit. Thank you breastfeeding. But you’re right, breast is best and my clothes can wait. Someday it’ll feel like I have a whole new wardrobe again! Haha! Thanks for the comment Valerie!

Portia says:

You are so fab for being so honest, I love it! I had a pretty similar 4th trimester! Yes it’s amazing and wonderful to have a baby. But it’s almost an unspoken secret that we’re not supposed to admit that, alongside that, there are lots of little things that add up to feeling pretty miserable at times too. (Weight, the dreaded hormones, exhaustion, confidence in your own abilities, isolation, sense of self…) Because if we admit that we feel that way it sounds selfish and we should be grateful for the blessing of a child (which of course we are!) when others would give anything to be in our position.
I think us Mums need to cut ourselves some slack. It’s OK to feel that way sometimes. In fact it’s totally normal. It doesn’t make us selfish or spoilt. It just makes us human. And what kind of Mum’s would we be if we weren’t at least a little bit human!

Anna T says:

This is a great post! Lots of great ideas for dressing post baby. I am pregnant with my second and definitely appreciate the reminder. One thing that I’ve learned from having one baby is that your body may never go back to how it was before. I was able to lose my baby weight really quickly with my son but the shape of my body was different and never went back. But like you said it’s so worth it for your precious little one that it doesn’t even matter! One tip that I have for getting through any phase of pregnancy or postpartum is to put away the clothes that don’t fit you. As in box them up and put them out of sight. This was SO helpful for me! I just felt bad every time I got dressed and looked longingly at the clothes that I used to love and feel great in that I knew wouldn’t fit me at that point. So only keep clothes in your closet that fit :) P.S. I think you look great!

lazysaturdays says:

Thanks for sharing! Clothes are supposed to make you feel great and not bad about yourself, right? I love the idea of getting clothes that don’t fit at the moment out of sight! I hope everything goes well with your pregnancy!

Amanda says:

I just ran across your blog, and it is so cute! Amen about the 4th trimester! 😉 Just started following. :)

lazysaturdays says:

Thanks Amanda! And welcome! :)

Godschild1st says:

Great article. Helped sooo much!!

Jennifer Thomas says:

I found your blog post while googling “4th trimester fashion” and this is so what I needed to hear right now. Thank you! I just had my 3rd baby – he is 7 weeks old right now. Your pregnancy story sounded just like my 1st and 3rd pregnancies! I refused to be told what the number on the scale was – would hop on at the doctor’s office backwards and tell them to not tell me what it was. Under ANY circumstances. I knew the number would crush me. (During my 2nd, I watched my weight # the entire time thinking it would make a difference, and it didn’t). All 3 pregnancies, despite what I did differently, I still ended up at the same high number in the end; a total weightgain of about 60 pounds each time. And I even worked out with cardio and weights with #3 all the way up until week 37 (I delivered at week 39).

I have “officially” been watching what I eat and exercising for 2 weeks now and yet my weight has not budged a single digit for about a month. What your friend said about hardly losing any weight after the hospital – that is me! Part of it is having 3 Csections – they pump you full of fluids from the IV’s and such, but each time I came home from giving birth actually weighing MORE than what I weighed going into the hospital. And that was after having two 8 lb babies, and 1 7 lb baby! Crazy right?

Now at 7 weeks postpartum I have lost a total of 20 pounds. I have 40 left to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy. And NONE of my clothes fit me right now. Even my clothes that I pre-calculate in my head to wear because I’m pretty sure those ones HAVE to fit me…they don’t even fit. I swear the 4th trimester is this weird twilight zone where your body is not even recognizable. Your boobs are so huge that shirts you think will fit might fit around your stomach but you can’t get them over your boobs. Or vice versa. Don’t even get me started on the hips and butt.

Anyway, great blog post. Thanks SO much. It was what I needed to hear today – to know I’m not alone!

Madi says:

Thank you so much for this post! My weight has gone much higher than I expected, and your post was so encouraging to me! Now I feel like I will be able to handle the 4th trimester better with your tips!

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