It’s mid-November. You are snuggled up in your bed with your splendidly heated house, under your warm blanket. Perhaps you even got to enjoy a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate before slipping into a slumber. You are perfectly relaxed, aware of your surroundings and comfortable.
And just like that, your alarm clock goes off. You rush up, engage in your morning routine and head out the door into the brisk temperatures. You feel tired and cranky. It’s so cold! Why is it so cold? And it’s so early. Why oh why oh why?
This abrupt and strange feeling of a different environment is exactly what our babies feel when they exit the womb. Suddenly, it is cold, there is not a cord connected to them anymore to deliver the nutrients they need, there is no constant rocking and swishing, the noises that once calmed them are now replaced by a whole world of different noises and the darkness of the womb has been replaced by fluorescent lights.
Given your feelings about swapping environments as you leave your warm toasty house in the winter, you can empathize a little bit with the even bigger transition your baby makes from womb life to life on the outside. Baby’s first three months of life are generally dedicated to this transition in what is lovingly called “The fourth trimester.”
The fourth trimester can be a frustrating time for everyone. Baby has no idea what is going on with him/her and has to come to grips with the fact that food now has to be worked for and the people who are there to help can only be communicated with by crying. You surely can imagine the frustration parents feel during this period as well, trying to give all they can to their baby but sometimes just not knowing what to do and feeling helpless.
As doulas, the last emotion we want you to feel is helpless. In our next couple blogs, we will discuss how to help both baby and yourself through this transition. While the fourth trimester is only three months long, we want it to be as seamless as possible and encourage you to build your toolbox with the tips we have to offer.