Women address realities of postpartum recovery

An ad that showed a woman’s body after birth was rejected by ABC and the Academy Awards for being too graphic. Now, women are taking to social media to shift the conversation about postpartum recovery.

The pressure for new moms

A growing movement of women – including celebrities – are taking to social media to address the realities of postpartum recovery. The postpartum period refers to the 6-to-8 week period after the birth of a baby – when new moms must recover from childbirth, adapt to changing hormones, and learn to feed and care for their newborn.

“We call it the fourth trimester. And after this, a woman is stronger and able to go out into the world, but, the deal is, and this isn't talked about either, is that the way a woman takes care of herself postpartum can directly affect the way she moves through menopause.”, Nina Phelan, from The Soulful Birth, explains.

About half of women who give birth are still in pain weeks later

Typical symptoms include heavy bleeding, abdominal cramping, hemorrhoids, and incision pain. “It was not enjoyable for me the baby stage and I did not feel I could say that because what kind of a woman does not enjoy having a baby.”, Sarah Heywood, who suffered from Post Natal depression, revealed. As many as 20% of mothers experience postpartum depression, or PPD — but only about 3% to 5% get adequate treatment.

In 2007, Brooke Shields shared her personal experience, “I'm a mother of two daughters and after the birth of my first daughter I suffered acutely from postpartum depression. The biggest tragedy of all of this was that I did not know that I had postpartum depression. I did know that I wanted to die. I did know that I was incapable of holding or looking at or kissing or smelling or singing to my perfect, tiny little baby. I just couldn't fathom that I would have something called postpartum depression.”

Women who are postpartum need more care and advice

A study finds that the peak in maternal deaths by suicide happens between 9 and 12 months postpartum. While routine postpartum care in the U.S. usually consists of 1 visit with the doctor at around 6 weeks after birth.