A sloth’s guide to the fourth trimester

Find time for your interests, take the time to dress up, to exercise and eat healthy. Enjoy a date with your husband. Nap when the baby naps. Read inspirational books. Everywhere I looked I was confronted with this exhausting advice for already exhausted new moms. It’s not that I didn’t try out these things. I did. Each one. And they only made me feel worse during the baby’s first three months – the dreaded ‘fourth trimester’. That is when I accepted I’d have to do things differently and leave worthier goals for later. My only principle for lazy moms like me: be twice as lazy. Here is how extreme slothfulness helped me survive the first few months:

  1. Give fashion the finger: I spend most of my days in a nightgown. It was a decision I took when my pre-pregnancy jeans refused to go up my thighs and my maternity ones added an extra pooch to my belly. The nightgowns are comfy and airy, make me feel smaller and are ideal for nursing. I did not want to think about the shape of my body – only its function. I don’t bother with maternity bras at home – the lacy ones are the worst – and leave my teats hanging free for my little calf. Funbags are now feeding bags and that’s all they need to do. Does anyone tie pink ribbons around Daisy’s udders? Answer: no.
  2. Live while the baby sleeps: Are there really mothers out there who hit the sack the minute baby does through the day?  For one I don’t fancy being wrenched in and out of consciousness all day and two, I want there to be a little more fun to life than sleeping and babycare. I like to take my time to have a nice bath, watch a TV show and stuff my face in peace. My baby goes to bed at 11pm and I go to bed at 3am and it’s my favourite time of day.
  3. Make your husband PAY: I’ve decided to stay home for at least a year for the baby, but I do demand a monthly salary from my husband. My uterus was the soil for his seed, and my breasts her food and water. I have also gained a significant amount of weight and have lost a significant amount of brain function.  His weight is the same, he can work uninterrupted and his body is not fair game for a milk leech. His money, therefore, must feed my need for chocolates and trashy novels. The upside is that these keep me tranquilized enough to deal with being a full-time mother –  a hunger for achievement and enough energy and confidence for outdoor/social activities could ruin this gig.
  4. Stop hoping: I stuffed my size 10 jeans into the back of my closet and tucked away my half-written manuscript. The sight of them just depressed me more. For the first three months at least, my only real purpose in life was to feed and be fed.
  5. Watch TV: I watch back to back episodes of a fourth-rate true crime how while nursing. It’s dramatic, it’s predictable and I don’t have to use my atrophied brain. Am I turning my baby’s brain to mush by exposing her to this tawdry show? Probably not because she is too young to actually ‘consume’ this junk. I will mend my ways when she is older but this is how I cope with the numbing boredom of sitting on a chair all day. There’s only so much one can gaze lovingly into baby’s eyes. In any case, she is like the pervs who line Delhi’s streets and has eyes only for my chest.
  6. Get part-time help: I’d say full-time, but I personally can’t bear to have another human being hovering around me all day and being judgy about my dirty nightgown. Instead, I have a nice carer come in for a few hours every afternoon and baby gets her fill of energetic games and singing. I still have to spend at least eight waking hours with baby but there’s not so much pressure to be creative and lively. Plus it’s good for the kid to have a break from her boring mother too.
  7. Go easy on the cleaning: For scientific reasons, of course. See point 2 of this post.
  8. Screw dieting: I tried going low-carb but baby didn’t like it and I didn’t like it. Cookies make me happy and I am nursing. Enough explanation. 
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