The Fourth Trimester of COVIDJul 03, 2020
In the last month or so, many of us have been reintegrating with the world again. After weeks of being held in the womb of our homes, we are now birthing out into what everyone is calling the 'new normal'.
Some have wanted to catapult back into their old lives as fast as possible, whereas others have dipped a toe in and aren’t 100% sure they want to go back to how things were. Whichever camp you fall into there is no wrong or right but being aware of how you want to interact with the world in this next phase is worth consideration.
I have come to see lockdown as a form of gestation, meaning a process or period of developing inside the womb (in this instance the home).
You may feel like you haven’t grown or developed but I guarantee you learned something about yourself during this time. Maybe it is related to how you want to live your life, what makes you thrive, understanding your relationship, insights about your children, the state of the planet, or rethinking what you want to do in this world.
To expect to pop back into the world as nothing has changed is like birthing a baby and thinking your life will remain the same.
One thing I regret about my first baby is doing exactly that, trying to act like nothing had changed after having a baby, trying to carrying on with life like I was still in control of everything without really allowing myself the time and space to stop and surrender to the enormity of this life event. It was only later I heard of this term called the 4th Trimester.
What is the 4th Trimester?
The 4th Trimester is the first 12 weeks immediately after giving birth. It is said to be a time of great physical and emotional change as the baby adjusts to being outside the womb and the mother adjusts to the new normal of being a Mum. This is a huge life transition that needs to be recognized and honoured.
Why is this relevant?
Because whether you acknowledge it or not, we are all going through an adjustment phase right now - a post-COVID trimester. We are all coming out of the womb and are going through a fundamental global change. To dismiss this time and throw ourselves back into old life is to dismiss an incredible opportunity to change, grow, and honour what is and has been.
Don’t let your learnings go unacknowledged. Society thrives on normality, it will try to hurry you along like a wave, pushing you to get on with things.
Be gentle on yourself, don’t put pressure on yourself that you ‘should be’ returning to normal or socializing more. Treat this time as a sacred time, just like a newborn phase.