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Adoption Blog: Improv Mom

Discovering the Fourth Trimester



I honestly don't remember much about life with a newborn, in those months after adopting our daughter, Beth, domestically. I can't tell you when Beth gave up the bottle, how old she was when she started sleeping through the night, or when she first said dada. (I do recall that "dada" came months before "mama.") However, I vividly remember discovering the idea of the "fourth trimester," and that it gave me a special sense of contentment.

If you don't know, the fourth trimester is the first three months after a baby is born, according to Dr. Harvey Karp of The Happiest Baby on the Block fame. He says that babies are born three or four months before they're really ready to blossom, so this is the time to care for them as if they were still in the womb. Now, there's a turn of phrase that perked up my ears and comforted my soul. As I watched Dr. Karp's DVD, "still in the womb" said to me, "It's still within reach! I can still have a pregnancy-esque experience!"

OK, here comes my disclaimer: I didn't have to carry and give birth to my baby to feel like she was my baby. After that first sleepless night in the hospital (I vividly remember that, too), you betcha she was my baby. Yet, as I assume most women do, I always thought I would make it past the first trimester. So, being able to consciously recreate this intimate time between mother and child through swaddling, rocking, skin-to-skin contact, and running the vacuum (which definitely comes in handy in its own right), did my heart good.

Of course, many parents adopt their children long, and not so long, after the fourth trimester. Does that mean they missed their chance for a special bonding experience with their children? The answer, of course, is a resounding no. I'm still finding bondable moments at every turn with my now-three-year-old daughter.

Did you know about the fourth trimester? If you brought your child home as a toddler or older, what were some of your bonding experiences? Please share your bonding wisdom!


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2 Comments

I can tell you’re not a poop head!

Great story. Totally get it. I love cuddling my 6 month old but she’s getting more independent and cuddles on her own terms more and more. Boo! I believe my 4th semester is offically over, except with our morning bottle, our night time rituals or the ever popular boo-boo kissing time. I was actually just thinking about this earlier today how much time I have left for her to sit on my lap and snuggle in. It’s not as much as I would like.

By yesimln on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm.

Ha! Thanks Yesimin!

By Barbara Herel on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 at 4:38 pm.

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Barbara Herel

Barbara Herel

New York

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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