BabyMap Spring, Summer 2007

BabyMap Cover 2007

The fourth trimester: Helping your baby make a peaceful transition from womb to world


HOT babystuff: Goods and gear for new parents

Get off to a good start: Essential resources

Dear reader:

Yesterday a child came out to wonder...
We can't return we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

--Joni Mitchell

One of my ParentMap co-workers and dear friend, Suzanne Goren, and I both recently witnessed, along with our families, our very ill and beloved mothers move peacefully from life to death. Suzanne shared that those last few days, spent completely immersed in this heartbreaking but strangely comfortable stage in the circle of life, reminded her of the birth of her own babies. You enter this completely new, quiet sanctuary that defies time and space as you have never known it before to enter a new realm. You find yourself caring for your loved one's every need -- whether they are infant or aged -- without condition (or any training). The outside world marginally exists as you search for ways your life will become normal once again.

For new mothers and newborns, the fourth trimester is all about continually finding their new "normal." Our American culture is particularly strange and unique, with babies most commonly sleeping apart from their mothers, even though all babies come from the identical place of warmth and comfort "with a built-in rhythmic sound and a shock-absorbent rocking motion" in their mother's womb.

Helping your baby make a peaceful transition from mom's protective womb to this wild world may present fewer challenges than the postpartum structural changes to your body ("Getting your body back after birth "). I had finally lost what I thought was eight inconsequential pounds left over from pregnancy about a year after my son was born. I was confused as to why so many friends were commenting on how good I looked. My insightful and wise twin sister noted, "Just take an eight-pound salmon and slap it on your tush. It's not insignificant at all!" Sure enough, my next trip to the grocery had me in shock as I lifted and analyzed an eight-pound salmon.

--Alayne Sulkin, Publisher

Cover photo courtesy of

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