Nine months of physical and emotional upheaval are behind you. Your pregnancy is over, and your baby is here. Sigh with relief, shout with joy, and beam with pride -- but don't expect your body to return to normal overnight.
Your baby may have arrived in a few short hours, but it took months of hard work to get her here. Now there's more work to be done as your body strives to return to its prepregnancy state and reset its normal levels for hormones, weight, strength, and muscle tone. So be patient and remember to go easy on yourself.
In the meantime, learning as much about the postpartum stage (and your postbaby body) as you did about those earlier trimesters will help to reassure you while you face the unique challenges of the "fourth trimester."
Karen Miles is a freelance writer.