Life After 4th Degree Tears exists to:
- Support those who have experienced a 4th degree tear in childbirth
- Advocate for improved maternity and postpartum care
- Educate parents and birth workers about the physical and emotional impact of 4th degree tears
Life After 4th Degree Tears originally began as Mothers with 4th Degree Tears in 2018 by Laura Fry and underwent a name change in 2020. Laura experienced a 4th degree tear in 2012 during her first birth. After suffering alone and not finding the support she needed, in person or online, she created a Facebook support group for mothers with 4th degree tears in January 2015.
As the support group grew and she was hearing hundreds of stories, Laura realized that 4th degree tears are a very traumatic experience, and usually one that is suffered in silence. Many times we do not feel comfortable talking about the symptoms we are experiencing, even with our doctors. There is so much shame associated with things like fecal incontinence that we are left feeling dirty and isolated. The relief that is felt in joining the support group and finally being able to talk about these things with others who are going through the same thing is immense. But we are realizing that we have to be able to talk about it outside of the group. We have to be willing to open up about our experiences to let others, including medical professionals, know how we are truly feeling, physically and emotionally.
So that is the purpose of Life After 4th Degree Tears. To tell our stories in an effective way to create changes in maternity care, so others giving birth do not have to suffer like we have.