So much advice shared with expecting moms has to do with caring for a newborn baby — which, we agree, is pretty important. But Jade Roper Tolbert, a Bachelor alumna-turned-influencer and podcaster, is one mom hoping that more of our conversations involve helping new moms care for themselves during the so-called fourth trimester.
“It’s something that I’ve been super passionate about because it kind of rocks your world, especially as a first-time mom, because no matter how prepared you try to be, you’re never prepared for really becoming a mother,” Roper tells SheKnows. “It’s such a huge, special, transformational time where we’re fitting into a new role … and we have this tiny baby who is learning how to be in the world as well.”
In November, Roper gave birth to her son, Reed, her third child in less than four years, and the postpartum experience with all three of them is fresh in her mind. Each one of them was different, for different reasons, and now she hopes to pass her experiences on to others. On April 8, Roper and licensed professional counselor Deema Soufan are hosting a live conversation called “The 4th Trimester: Sh*t Gets Real” as part of Tommee Tippee’s new Spill the Milk series on Zoom and Facebook Live.
After having her third child during the pandemic, Roper knows the compound isolation of being a new mom unable to go out and talk to other moms right now, sharing and normalizing the things people don’t necessarily do with expecting parents.
“Nobody tells you, for instance, that you have to deliver a placenta, a whole organ, after you have a baby and your uterus has to shrink back down, so you have uterine contractions after you have a baby that are crazy, painful that nobody talks about,” Roper says. “I don’t think I was prepared for the sleep deprivation, all the baby blues and hormone [induced] emotions, and just feeling such overwhelming love. … Sometimes I have all of this emotion that can’t stay inside this body, and it kind of spills out. Nobody told me that you were going to go through such a transformational time. People tell you that you have a baby and it’s bliss.”
Having gone through postpartum depression and PTSD with her second child, Brooks, who was born in 2019, Roper hopes to help other moms know that it’s OK to not feel that bliss all the time. It’s also OK if you don’t get all your feeding and changing and swaddling and sleep routines down perfectly right away or all the time.
“I think I put such big expectations [on myself] to be like Supermom and the perfect mom,” she tells us. “Especially when you have a social media handle and you have a platform, and people are watching you, you feel like you have to be like doing it all and doing it all right. And I [want] for new moms to give themselves the grace to just really connect with your baby. It’s OK if you’re not productive for a day. If all you did was lay in bed all day and do skin to skin with your newborn, that is like the biggest, most productive day you could have.”
Roper is also a pretty good example of the fact that it is possible to get through a difficult postpartum period and feel so good about it that you want to do it all over again.
“Reed is 4 months old now… I’m already like, ‘Oh, I could have another newborn; we could do it again,” she says. “Somehow I just kind of compartmentalize my feelings, or you just know it’s worth it. … It is such a small time that they’re this little. Emerson’s 3 and a half, and it’s like the best stage.”
This is how we’re not a world full of single-child families after all.
Please watch this space in the coming weeks for more from Jade Roper about the difficult time she had after Brooks’ traumatic birth, and how she made sure to take better care of herself with baby Reed. But in the meantime, tune in to Tommee Tippee’s Spill the Milk on April 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Jade Roper Tolbert is one of many reality-TV alumnae we love to follow as they tackle motherhood.