fourth trimester

We are now at a critical point where we can also acknowledge the emotional effects of conceiving and bearing children.  From conception through the fourth trimester, mothers endure an unthinkable amount of pressure, stress, hope, and joy.  Mothers are so immersed in building and shaping our family that self-care and personal health is often not a priority.  Routines become rote and mothers ignore feelings or are too tired to experience them fully.

Let’s get serious for a second here on TLW.  Birth trauma is a critical experience to live through.  The wider trajectory of reproductive trauma is critical to define and publicize.  Infertility, secondary infertility, miscarriages, and loss plague many pregnancies as part of the reproductive process.  The emotional damage can be indescribable, and healing is required.  Every mom knows someone who has lived through these tragedies.  Hospital experiences, clinical birth emergencies, provider-patient relationships, access to care, and financial burden should even enter the trauma equation.  Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country.

Reproductive trauma can even lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Symptoms include emotional numbness, distressing memories and reactions to reminders, and avoidance of reminders of the trauma, to a name a few.  A licensed clinical provider can best understand the full emotions and determine whether or not this serious diagnosis is present. The strength of a woman to birth a lost baby, give herself IVF shots, and ride the rollercoaster of a potentially strained marriage cannot be taken lightly.

Postpartum depression is another issue affecting families.  It is a significant condition to be aware of.  PPD is a step beyond the baby blues and can be dangerous for the mother and baby.  Postpartum anxiety is also gaining more traction in terms of awareness as well.

Any mother who does not feel quite like herself should seek counseling immediately.  Doing so does not signify weakness, it signifies strength.  The journey through every pregnancy isn’t roses, and we need to acknowledge, honor, and support families who had a hill to climb.

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