Thursday, April 5, 2012

Letters to a Home Town - The 4th Trimester

This Letter is almost exactly two years old - I am posting it now in honor of my Super Woman Cousin who delivered and 11lb 3oz baby boy last week!

This is What 11 Pounds of Nutella Looks Like

I’m in, what my companion has coined, the 4th trimester of pregnancy, more commonly referred to as postpartum. For those unfamiliar with this stage, hopefully this Letter will give you some insight (thus preparing you for the inevitable experience or encounter with the mother of a newborn). For those who have been there… I’ve heard that it is good to be able to laugh at one’s self, so please feel free to join in.
            It is a widely accepted fact that new parents are sleep deprived zombies. Actually, at least for the new mom, being sleep deprived has been going on for months. Rest has been regularly interrupted by bouts of heart burn, desperate dashes to the bathroom, leg cramps, and so on. The primary difference (and advantage) is that in the 4th trimester the resulting state is rightfully recognized. Once the art of sleep diapering is mastered, 3rd and 4th trimester sleep patterns are amazingly similar.
            There are a million PMS jokes, but brave is the soul who dares joke about the hormone induced rollercoaster a new mother is on. To jest is to risk the wrath of emotions propelled by the highly flammable vapors of estrogen and progesterone. In my experience there is little rhyme or reason for what might trigger which emotions. This makes it equally likely that I might be found on the kitchen floor literally crying over spilled milk or rolling on the floor laughing reading greeting cards at the drug store.
            Along with being a sleep deprived combustion chamber of hormone fumes I, the new mom, am breast feeding. I know that when babe and breast come to some agreement regarding supply and demand it will be easier, but in the mean time… I hereby apologize to every fresh heifer I ever cursed at for kicking the milking machine across the barn. Now I understand.
              As if by the wave of a magical wand, many of the discomforts of pregnancy disappear as soon as the baby arrives. Swollen feet and heartburn seem a distant memory. (Oh, the foods I can eat again. Bliss!) Unfortunately, physical abilities do not reappear with the same swiftness. I can again lie on my back without feeling lightheaded, but... Have you ever seen a turtle turned onto its back struggling to get up?  Stop laughing and give me a hand! Just because I can see my toes again doesn’t mean I can reach them.
            For all of the discomforts and frustrations of the 4th trimester, I have to say that I like this one the best. Gazing into the eyes of a newborn has a way of putting all of the challenges, physical and emotional, into perspective. As funny looking as they are (admit it, newborns ARE funny looking), they are mesmerizingly beautiful. So beautiful that even the most sleep deprived zombie can see it. 
            I hope this letter has found you and yours in good spirits and good health. Until I write again…

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