What No One Tells You About the “Fourth Trimester”

04.26.2021 — Ashley

The joy of being pregnant has your loved ones so excited and happy for you that they completely (and probably unintentionally) don’t think much about what your body goes through. I remember being in the middle of my pregnancy and calling my best friend, who’s also a mom, and asking “Have you heard about this thing where you have to wear DIAPERS after you have a baby?!” She subtly said, “Oh yea you bleed a lot after”. It’s like your friends hide the details and when you get pregnant they forget to mention the worst parts.

The thing is that’s all she said. It wasn’t until another friend of mine who had a baby three weeks before I did, called me and said, “Just so you know, the two weeks after are worse than the pregnancy AND labor.” I was shocked and said “Why? What happens?” Well, she was right.

Two weeks after I had Jupiter my body went through so much trying to recover. Night sweats, (drenched FYI), blood (gross), and I had some real fun symptoms that aren’t normal postpartum including nausea and extreme back pain. Like level 10 pain to be absolutely clear. The back pain was definitely the hardest part for me, especially because I didn’t know where it was coming from. Talking to all my doctors about this and trying to figure it out was hard as well. I felt like no one could tell me what was going on with my body and why I had extreme nausea to the point where sometimes I missed a feeding with the baby, and my husband had to supplement formula.

“I think it’s really important to talk about our real experiences and not hide the parts that aren’t so pleasant or cute enough to show on Instagram.”

There were nights I was crawling onto the floor because my back hurt so bad. After three weeks of this pain, it finally made sense. I remembered my doctor asking me what they had me on, which was Motrin. He mentioned that Motrin builds acid in your stomach after a while. I had horrible acid reflux when pregnant, and I wondered if this had something to do with that. I Googled back pain and acid reflux, and there was a link! Thankfully, after taking the medicine my doctor gave me for it and it was completely gone. I couldn’t believe it! That was a big turning point for me and I finally felt a little bit more like myself again. The thing is during this “fourth trimester” you’re physically going through it, but you’re also mentally going through it. I was lucky I didn’t have postpartum depression, but I think I was just trying to find who I am in this new role. Doing normal things like hiking and activities I love to make me feel like the “old Ashley” aren’t too far away. I think it’s really important to talk about our real experiences and not hide the parts that aren’t so pleasant or cute enough to show on Instagram.