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Fourth Trimester

raquel turned three months today. three months of growth for her and three months of healing and learning for me. post partum has always been challenging for me. i mean, it’s challenging for every mom of course, but particularly for me. to be honest, i don’t like it. it’s hard and i’m thrown out of loop with my own body. i wish i could enjoy it more and even when i try to or when i let myself enjoy the fourth trimester, i can’t. the happiness and enjoyment doesn’t stick. if you don’t know what the fourth trimester is: the term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she/he adjusts to their new world outside of the womb. they’re the most sensitive and delicate three months. this time with raquel, i knew what to expect, but the “great change” is still there. i know it doesn’t go away after i have more than one child, but it is something i can’t grasp and understand why some mothers love it and others don’t. like me. there’s been times where i even admit to hating it. that’s raw honesty. for some reason, when that time period is up, it’s almost like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. it could be the hormones subsiding or the routine that i finally figured out with two kids, but i’m glad i just get to the point where i feel “normal” again.

when mateo was born, breastfeeding was HARD. why did i not research on breastfeeding before i had him? it’s funny because it’s expected of moms to have it figured out when the baby comes out, right? like the baby should latch to my boob. my milk should come in at the right time. i should feel this blissful, ethereal feeling of that “instant” connection with him. i didn’t feel that connection with him until he was six months old. yes, six whole months went by of me pumping breastmilk every three hours, waking up to feed him, trying to figure out if my emotions were healthy or not, if my thoughts that felt dark and lonely were normal. and it’s funny because i tried to figure all of that out by myself. i didn’t approach my OB. i barely talked to kai about it. i held this standard on myself that if i’m a mom, i should have it ALL figured out. i didn’t want to accept that i wasn’t happy for six months. the only thing i was proud of was that i was able to pump, which felt like a full time job, but i was able to provide what my body wanted to give to mateo.

as a mom, i want to give myself more credit and i want to be honest about what i feel and what i go through. no mom shaming. no mom guilt. just me working through my emotions and thoughts with the help of God. the Only One who helped me be the best mom that i could be.

when raquel was born, like i mentioned, i had an idea of what post partum was like, but even with that knowledge, it didn’t make it any easier. breastfeeding was STILL difficult. it wasn’t as painful as teo (teo bit me at four days old), but she wasn’t properly latching and she would get so mad at the boob. it was relieving for awhile because i knew if breastfeeding didn’t work out, i was perfectly fine with that. i didn’t want to put insane pressure on myself to breastfeed. those moms out there who go hard in the paint with breastfeeding, go you! you really did that and that’s success. with me on the other hand, let’s just say it’s something that i’m mentally working on. yes, she’s fed and yes, she’s happy. those post partum emotions that i had with teo, i instantly had them with raquel. in my mind, i was like, “ok, i’m gonna talk to my OB. i’m gonna talk to my friends and family. i’m gonna voice what i feel.” i did all of that and i think that’s what made this fourth trimester way “easier” than before.

post partum is raw and it’s special. my body went through a lot for nine months! i grew a human being inside me! a baby with eyeballs and limbs and fuzzy hair. all of that. the gift of life, you know? it’s so beautiful. as hard as post partum can be, it’s amazing what i’m capable of. i can make these motherly decisions for me and my children and i’m able to be proud of it! i claim the choices that i make. i never want to second guess myself. i want mateo and raquel to grow up and say that their mom had strength and perseverance and i want them to know it’s God’s work through me that made motherhood possible.

each day has it’s challenge. mateo is going through terrible twos and raquel is finally realizing that she has a voice of her own. they both need me for different things and they both need love. there’s times where i’m like, “there’s no way they can share me. this seems impossible. how can i let mateo know that his attention for me matters as much as raquel’s?” yeah, mom thoughts. mom emotions. it’s funny because i go through these phases where i’m like, YES i can do it all! and other times, i’m like Jesus take me now. a couple of days ago, kai told me “the only reason you worry about them so much is because you’re invested in them.” why did that not click in my head before? my time and effort is fully invested in my children. that explains it. duh. i knew that, but i let my emotions cloud the nonnegotiable joy that God placed in front of me. i want everyone in my life to see that. i want to be able to go through the ups and downs of motherhood and say, one. day. at. a. time.

A Letter to my Firstborn