Planning for the Fourth Trimester aka Postpartum.

“The first forty days is a period of time unlike any other. It is a short season of life that follows the delivery of your child – an almost six week long period that arrives after many weeks of pregnancy and who knows how many hours of labor – in which you recover from birth, your baby unfurls slowly into the world of bright lights and sounds, and together you devote yourselves to forging your relationship outside the womb.

Though brief, it is s time of amazing intensity and massive adjustments. Your body transforms – again – and your heart throbs with more feelings than you ever knew possible. Your internal rhythms ping-pong as days and nights merge. Your stamina and serenity get tested like never before. Your connection to the world you knew before loosen, or even comes undone, and your sense of who you are begins to change and morph.

In other times, and in other places around the world, a postpartum period of healing and adjustment was expected and allowed. After the rigorous and demanding act of birth, it was considered critically necessary for the whole family – and society at large- that a woman be given the first forty days to heal and rest. Other people in her community would feed her, nurture her, and take all responsibilities off her plate, so that she could focus on one thing only, transitioning healthily and happily from expectant woman to mother.

For the first forty days – a new mother stayed secluded from the busy stream of life, tucked indoors with her infant by her side. She received special meals to rebuild energy, replenish lost nutrients, and help her body produce breast milk. She followed traditional practices of keeping rested and warm to prevent exhaustion and depletion.

The understanding was the new mother was as vulnerable as her newborn, requiring her own steady stream of attention and care. A dedicated time of postpartum recovery could help to keep future illness – and equally important, depression – at bay.

Today in the West, we are waking up to the importance of cocooning baby in the weeks following birth. The understanding that baby is not quite ready to meet the world at large when she/he emerges and is still in the early stage of development that’s come to be known as the “fourth trimester” has awakened us to the value of holding baby close and sheltered for some weeks, so she/he can shift slowly and gradually into life outside the womb.

But somehow, we have forgotten the time honored wisdom that this special cocoon of care should extend to the mother as well…”

~ Introduction from the book, the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.

Life has been so busy, that I haven’t had much time to write during this pregnancy. I have been running the majority of this pregnancy so logging stroller pregnancy miles have taken up much of my free time. (I have a blog post written about my fit pregnancy journey that I will be sharing with you next week or follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.) But now at 36 weeks pregnant, I am starting to use my free time to relax and rest which translates to read, knit, and write.


When I was pregnant with Zoe, I read all the baby books – I was very concerned with knowing what to do with Zoe once she was home and in my care. But this time around, because I’ve already read all the baby books, I am really focusing on my postpartum journey aka the Fourth Trimester. This phase is crucial for my physical, mental, and emotional healing, and will forever leave an imprint on both my newborn and my toddler.

The books I am currently reading are…

  • the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.
  • The Fourth Trimester by a Kimberly Ann Johnson.

My desire to learn about the postpartum phase came about partially because of social media. On Instagram, especially, so many women are posting their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Some seem to unrealistically, “bounce right back,” while others are very honest.

As an American woman, we are always expected to “Bounce right back,” and do more faster.” These expectations are doable, but are they the healthiest? These high demands need to be replaced with more support.

When I was in the postpartum stage with Zoe, I focused on her, and our new family of three adjusted successfully. Also because I had a c-section it was very important to give myself time to heal physically.

Although, last time was a success, it wasn’t necessarily easy. This time around I want to be more prepared. This time around, it is even more important for me to SLOW down. I will be juggling both a newborn and a toddler, so I’m expecting it to be chaotic. However, by slowing down and focusing on this postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase, Zoe will have a smoother time transitioning to her new role as big sister.

“Self Care,” the big trend for 2018 – I see it on every healthy lifestyle blog. Although, it is not necessarily used when describing motherhood, it should be. The postpartum/Fourth Trimester period is not just about caring for new baby, but it is also about caring for mama too. Happy mama, happy baby. When mama is happy and feeling good, so is baby and the rest of the family.

With all that being said, it’s crunch time to really prepare for this special postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase. In the next few weeks I will be…

  • Preparing nourishing meals, that will help aid in the healing process, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having these meals on hand, will eliminate the urge to order unhealthy take out/delivery. Not having to cook will also allow me to have all the time, relaxing with my newborn and toddler.
  • Schedule house cleaning, so I don’t have to fuss with it, and can fully relax and rest with my babies. Plus a clean house will create a comfortable, refreshing space to really enjoy while staying home.
  • When reading about the traditional fourth trimester, practiced by other cultures – it is common for mommy and baby to stay curled up in bed together, breast feeding and practicing skin on skin for the full 6 weeks. Because of my personality, this idea already makes me feel cooped up. When Zoe was born, we walked every day, and I healed up from my c-section pretty fast. I needed the fresh air and vitamin D. So although, I want to slow down, I definitely think being outside and taking leisurely walks will be more beneficial for me and my family. With that being said, remember when reading books, that these are just ideas, and it’s best to customize this phase for what works best for you and your family.

Ultimately, my goal is to help Zoe have a smooth transition to big sister and for all of us to adjust comfortably to a family of four.

Did you prepare for the fourth trimester?

super natural every day

Does anyone else get super overwhelmed with Christmas shopping? It should be fun, right? Because my family is childless, the idea of adults buying presents for adults seems kind of silly. However, I am a knitter, so I almost always hand make most of my gifts. But this year, I found myself on a desperate hunt for that special something, which holds the qualities of unique and creative, but also thoughtful and useful. The problem was I kept finding that special something that would be unique and useful for me…

For example, I was in Anthropologie and I found Super Natural Every Day, a cookbook written by Heidi Swanson. She opens this book telling us about her home San Francisco. Her descriptions are so lovely, it made me want to move there asap. She also gives us a peek inside her cupboard and pantry. She tells us where she shops for food, as she teaches us the ultimate definition of Natural.


As I said before, I was in search for something unique and useful. This book meets those qualities because in this country every day is a challenge to eat organic and vegetarian.

Changing the subject now…

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to eat one unique exotic food I had never tried before, every week. This made me on a constant quest to seek knowledge on these new foods I discovered. It forced me to go to local farmers markets, my favorite one being the Crystal City Farmer’s Market. I would rush over there on Tuesday, during my break at work. What I loved most about this market is that it was on a weekday so most of the time the farmers were there themselves working the stand.



farmsorganicI also started to explore some of the organic grocery stores, becoming a regular shopper at Whole Foods, MOM’s Organic Market, and rarely, but sometimes Trader Joe’s. Although, they are expensive, my health is worth the money, (and so is yours!)

10392_10100905332643176_561693244_nWhen it comes to Whole Foods verse MOM’s, Whole Foods is much bigger and has more options. However, MOM’s has less imported things, most of their products are more locally grown. It is smaller, but their selection is more exclusive. When it comes to Trader Joe’s, I like it, but I feel like the store has a lot of packaged items, which is not really my thing. I don’t snack much, and although packaged products can be organic or vegan, I much rather get the whole food.

back to the book…

So lets get back to the fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. The title of this book says it all. This is the way I want to eat, cook, live. Every attempt, I have made at being vegetarian has failed in the past because I simply didn’t feel full with out animal protein. This September when I decided to give it a try again, I decided I am not going to label myself as anything. I simply decided to ease into it by having meatless and dairy-free days. Now I am buying fabulous cookbooks like this one, and learning how to cook more vegetarian/vegan meals.

The meal I decided to try was her stuffed tomatoes, but instead of using six tomatoes, I used three tomatoes, two green peppers, and two portobello mushrooms. I actually ended up liking the portobello mushroom best.

foodSimply wash them, and clean out the insides only saving the tomato insides. Put those a side in a large mixing bowl.

food2Add shallots, garlic, basil, harissa, olive oil, salt, yogurt, couscous. Stuff the vegetables to the top and cook them for 50-60 mins in a 350 degree hot oven.


Now this is what I am talking about! This is a must try delicious recipe, and the best part is that it is a filling satisfied vegetarian dish.

For more info on Heidi Swanson you can check out her personal site here. You can also purchase her book, Super Natural Every Day, at Anthropologie.

© 2012 sweatdaily