Advice for New Parents

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The first few days and weeks after suffering a 4th degree tear in childbirth can be some of the hardest, loneliest days. You are filled with questions about what happened to you, filled with sadness about how you are currently feeling physically and emotionally, and filled with fear about the future.

So we asked the members of the 4th degree tear support group on Facebook “What would you tell someone who just had a 4DT? If you could go back to those first couple of days after your 4DT and say something to yourself, what would you say? What do you wish someone would have said to you in those early days?”

And here are those responses:

“Listen to your gut and if something doesn’t feel right you’ll have to advocate for yourself because a lot of doctors don’t understand 4th degree tears. Also, pain is NOT normal. Don’t accept it.”

“You are not ruined!”

”I wish I understood what having a 4dt meant. I had no idea. I knew something was wrong when I started passing gas and stool thru my vagina. I stumbled upon a story about it on a message board. Spoke with my ob who didn’t think anything was wrong but referred me to a surgeon anyway. You need to advocate for yourself. Speak up when you think something is wrong.”

”Do not feel bad about not being able to do what you think other moms are doing. You need to be taken care of as well.”

”Lay the fuck down.”

”People may not understand the physical and emotional trauma, and they probably never will. When I was questioning a cs with my next pregnancy so many people said, “why go through that just because you’re scared to tear?”.”

“I would say that it’s possible to have a natural birth again. After my fourth degree tear, the first thing anyone said to me was you’ll never have another vaginal birth again. You’ll HAVE to have a c section. I was devastated. After finding this page I made the decision to have a c section the second time but it was MY choice and I felt heaps better because no one was telling me I HAD to do anything. I hate the way they made me feel like I would have no voice at all. And everyone should have a choice.”

“To take care of yourself, mentally and physically, and to advocate for yourself. I suffered at least a year because I pig headedly thought I’d get through it and refused to listen to friends who gently tried to tell me I had major postpartum depression. Everyone around me suffered for it, most of all myself.”

”Take a lot of stool softeners!!”

”Be patient. Trust what your body is telling you. Take in all that new baby-ness – it will help you get through the hard days. 💗”

”Get a bidet, use stool softeners for WEEKS, get thee to PT rightawayquick.”

“No one in the hospital explain how serious my tear was. They kept saying 4th degree tear when a new nurse or someone would come in but I didn’t do enough research before to know that’s the worst tear you could have. I wish I would have stuck up for myself and asked more questions. I would tell someone that just had a 4DT to ask all the questions possible.”

”It will get better. Hang in there. Ask for help. Lay down. Join the Facebook support group ASAP. Go to pelvic floor therapy. You aren’t broken. Putting counter pressure on your perinuem while pooping is a life saver! Don’t try having sex until your are ready both mentally and physically- dont rush it. Everyone heals differently.”

“Don’t make any future baby decisions right now (we almost had my husband get a vasectomy).”

”I think for me just sympathy and saying this sucks without the it’ll get better. It will but I honestly didn’t find that helpful to hear.”

”No one is really going to understand how you feel but other moms with severe tears.”

”That it’s ok to be upset, that it’s ok to be mad, it’s ok to admit you are upset and mad. Take care of yourself, ask for help. And do everything you can to enjoy your new baby. It will get better!”

”To put a frozen sanitary pad down there… to make sure you make time to do your exercises… and if you feel it’s not right and your doctors aren’t listening… find a private specialist who will listen and help you.”

”Don’t over do it! Ask for help!!!! It’s okay to lay in bed all day with your baby and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it.”

”Don’t let anyone minimize your injury. (Physically and mentally). Don’t compare your recovery to other deliveries (even c sections). People who haven’t experienced it don’t understand. Advocate for yourself, educate yourself, don’t be brave, don’t suck it up. I wish I would have gotten over myself and stopped trying to suck it up. Do ask questions in the Facebook support group, it’s so helpful. 😂“

”Become an advocate for yourself! Listen to your body and make your doctor listen to you. Seek the help of a PT, urogynecologist, and mental health professional if you need it. You may feel embarrassment about what you are going through but you are not alone and there is help out there-you just have to be prepared to fight for it.”

”Take it easy, ask questions, advocate, speak up!”

”Ask for help, don’t over do it, you are not alone… but moms who haven’t had on won’t understand. Stay strong.”

”You are not alone.”

”Sitz bath . . . Again and again and again.”

”Educate yourself and ask for treatments. If your doctor doesn’t listen, ask for another. Don’t let anyone tell you “it’s fine” if you don’t feel like it is.”

“You are not alone. Also, stop googling. Plenty of time for that later. Rest, mama.”

”I felt so sad that I would never want another baby after all this … but time heals those thoughts.”

”Trust your gut. If you know something isn’t right, it isn’t. Say something. Ask for help. Ask for rest. Tell them that you need help taking care of your baby because you need help taking care of you—you need to heal! Tell everyone that you are not OK and need someone to take care of you….you need someone to be your advocate. You don’t have to be hush, hush. You don’t need to feel embarrassed. You can’t take care of a new human when your body is in shambles. The darkness you’re in right now will get better, but ask for help so you’re not alone on the healing journey. What you’re in right now is NOT normal, so don’t push your feelings aside and tell yourself that it is. Moms are the toughest bitches out there, but don’t be tough in silence. I so wish I would’ve told someone how badly I was hurting and struggling, but I thought it was normal….but it’s not. You deserve to be taken care of….you deserve better than you think!”

”Go see a urogynecologist, ask for a referral for PT, consider talking to someone about your trauma.”

”This is a big deal. Rest and let other people do things for you.”

”Ask more questions, don’t just nod and take your drs word for it.”

”Can I do your laundry and make you a cup of tea?”

”One day at the time.
Do your sitzbath.
Accept help.
Cuddle your baby. It will give you strength!”

”This is the hardest thing. But it will start to feel better in about 12 weeks. But each day will feel like a year so be patient with yourself.”

”My amazing ob gave me great advice. He told me his wife had a 4th degree tear and she ended up with complications because she tried to do too much too soon (as in she was up making tea for guests who came to visit soon after being in the hospital). He told me to only get up for bathroom visits and obviously if baby duty called for it. I was to rest as much as possible for at least 2 weeks. I did wish there was more information given about what exactly happened. And given the opportunity for more after care (pt, office visits, specialists, etc).”

”Dear (self),
I know it’s one of the scariest moment in your life.you have became a mum which is scary enough and you have to deal with your injuries too.
What had happened to you it sucks, unfair and you have done nothing to ‘deserve it’ nor your fault. It’s really hard. And it will be for a long time. But you got this girl… you’ve got this!
And never forget…your partner LOVES you! Your baby LOVES you and he needs you more than anything! You ARE a great mum!
And allow yourself to be upset….you should be. You’ve got robbed- did everything by the book yet you didn’t get the birth you’ve wanted to have. This wasn’t what you were planning. This shouldn’t happen to you nor anyone.
Try to LOVE yourself.”

”It’s not a life sentence, and it will get better. Don’t let the horror stories get you down, but don’t set your expectations too high either.”

”That it is not your fault this happened and to get to physio asap.”

”Don’t push yourself, take help when offered, delegate work to others, this is like having major surgery so rest, take time to heal, you will get through this eventually. Stand up for yourself and ask more questions.”

”Insist on your chart, insist on blood patch test.”

”Make sure you don’t leave here without a rx. You don’t need to be up at night in pain. Yes the pain will end and the holding the walls to walk , sit and stand is going to do stop soon enough.”

“It won’t be like this forever. Things will get better and you will get your life back again.”

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