BabyMap Spring, Summer 2007

Published on: September 15, 2007

BabyMap Cover 2007

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


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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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