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Postpartum support for loss mamas; Chat with Registered Nurse, Carly Fleming

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

I had a lovely chat with Registered Nurse, Carly Fleming from @fourthtrifoundation last week and we spoke about postpartum care & support regardless of whether your baby is alive or has passed away. I love the work that they are doing in addressing this gap in the healthcare system as its such an important and often overlooked topic and I know from my experience just how lonely and isolating it is, when you have birthed your baby but you're not treated as such - It just adds to the heartbreak and devastation.

Would you like to introduce yourself, your story, where you're from?

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (01:20)

My name is Carly. I am a postpartum and newborn nurse. So I care for the mom and baby as a couple, as a pair, after a mom has baby or experienced any kind of loss or anything like that. We do the whole spectrum. So I am located in New Jersey in the US east coast area. I'm also a mom, I have two little ones, I have two boys and I started a business with my close friend and also another nurse. We teach postpartum preparation classes to expecting parents and postpartum parents. So there's a lot of things about postpartum that's either like veiled in secrecy or spoken about really negatively and we weren't okay with that. We wanted to kind of make people prepared for what to expect in postpartum and how they can make their experience better and kind of thrive a little bit more or just find some sense of normal fee in life. So that's what we started fourth trimester foundations, like you mentioned, and we're just on a mission to prepare moms and dads and partners and everyone for a postpartum.

I felt really super isolated in that aspect that nobody sat me down and said, hey, you are in the fourth trimester, you just have had a baby. Here's some information, here's what's going to happen...

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (05:08)

I feel like a lot of moms don't allow themselves time to kind of think about what their body needs in terms of their recovery as well. No matter where in the pregnancy the loss occurred. Like you're still postpartum and further along in pregnancy, your breasts like breastfeeding and stuff, so your breasts don't know that your baby is alive or not, so your milk is going to still come in. It depends a lot on biology and a lot of other factors, but whether baby is lived or died, your breasts don't know. So your milk is still going to come in. The hormones are still going to do their thing. So you kind of have to know what to do with them to not get mastitis or it's a very emotional thing, just milk itself, like breastfeeding itself. An oxytocin hormone can bring up so many emotions. Also just that one single hormone, and that alone is enough to rock someone.

So would you like to just elaborate a little bit on that topic? Is there anything that you want to share with whoever watches this? What is the message you want to spread?

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (07:02)

your postpartum experience in terms of your body and your hormones is going to be very similar with each pregnancy, at the end of each pregnancy. So whether you birthed a live baby or not, you're still going to have postpartum bleeding. That dinner plate that at one time dinner plate size wound inside of your uterus is going to be bleeding. That's where your bleeding is coming from vaginal or Cesarean. It's typically the same amount of bleeding. If you had to push your baby out, all of the recovery to your perineal area, all of the supplies and stuff. And I think a lot of nurses maybe are a little afraid to mention things that would kind of reference to baby. And I don't think that's the right thing.

I think you can call baby by name and talking about baby in a way that brings them up, but naturally not trying to avoid it, right. Bringing it up and healing from hemorrhoids or tearing or extra swelling, that's still going to happen. You're going to have those hormone shakes. Like you can get really like chattery. Your teeth are chattery, really hot, really cold. It's like menopause almost in like a two day span. Your hormones are plummeting and rising at all at the same time you're recovering. So just recovering in general from either major abdominal surgery or having that dinner plate sized wound in your body or both and the emotional aspect of it, it's hard to differentiate between what is the normal baby blues in those first two weeks of just your hormone, the big hormone shift that every mom experiences in some way. Really happy and moment, really sad the next. But that's hard to sift through with grief and also postpartum depression, post freedom anxiety. It's hard to sort out what is what and maybe you don't have to sort out what is what, but just recognizing and being easy on yourself and telling your community what you need even if you don't know, say you don't know, or communicating in the capacity it feels comfortable to you. So all of that.

So how can people work with you if they would like to learn more and work with you one on one or whatever you offer?

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (10:23)

We have our website. We actually have a special infant loss section of our website that is all kind of the stuff I talked about and a lot more. And we also have a actually mention this to you. We have a specific lactation after loss guide that is like a one pager on what do you do with your breasts and the milk that comes out of them after you've lost your baby and your options. If you wanted to donate your milk or express it for some kind of keepsake, stop lectication completely. So we have that handout on our website and also other common postpartum things and the medications to expect that you can take that are all over the counter and the frequency and stuff. Like an easy to digest like simple website because I know you don't need all the fluff and stuff. There's enough of that sprinkled throughout the world. And then also just our website in general, we do postpartum prep classes, so for moms during pregnancy, we do a one on one calls one time or like a pack of a session of them multiple to talk through anything during pregnancy or postpartum questions.

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (11:33)

A lot of the stuff we cover in our course, but there's a lot of things that are specific to each person that you kind of want to get more information on. So we do those one on one calls as well. And we work closely with a nonprofit organization here in the US called Courage and Time and she our close friend Jillian. She sends Courage boxes to parents who have experienced loss and it's just things that can not brighten their spirit, but it's just things to help them feel better and to help them heal and resources. So our Lactation after loss guide is in there as well. So you can find us on Instagram, our website. I will send you the link for both of those, if you wanted to share that.

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (12:26)

It's called Taking back your fourth trimester. We teach it ideally during pregnancy and like the third trimester of pregnancy so you can know what to expect after baby is born in your body in terms of your recovery and your healing vaginal or cesarean. We talked about hospital bagpacking, all those types of things.

So how can people connect with you?

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (14:30)

Yeah, we're on instagram TikTok. We're dabbling. I don't know. I'm still figuring it out. But yeah, on Instagram, we're pretty active on here in our DMs and then also on our website as well. You can fill out a form or email us. This is the best way. We also have a private Facebook group for all the people who have taken our courses. And doesn't one on one call it's a members only Facebook groups? So we're really active on there. But that's invite only.

Is there anything else that you would like to say?

Guest Speaker; Carly Fleming (16:12)

I think it's just kind of talking about the support you need, like people and I'm not somebody who's experienced a pregnancy loss, so I'm not really in the right place to speak personally on this, but just kind of in general terms, tell people what you need. Like, people want to help from helping you, but also in a selfish way to kind of feel like they're helping you. And you just tell people what you need, like postpartum grief, anything. You just tell people what you need. Like, I could really use a pizza tonight. Done. There are people that want to help you, but they don't know how. And let me know if you need anything. You're probably not going to let them know if you need anything, but just in that moment, if they feel, let me know if you need anything. I would love some Chinese tonight, something like that.

Just tell people what you need. People are willing to step up and they want to help.

To find out what the random ice breaker question was, you will have to watch the replay.

You can watch the entire conversation with Carly here - Episode #19, you can check out their website here or you can follow them over on IG here

As a Virtual Pregnancy Loss Coach, Tayla supports heartbroken loss moms by assisting them to cope with their grief & ease the overwhelm that comes with life after loss. With her lived experience, dry sense of humour, & realistic approach to living a meaningful life after loss, she has earned a world-wide following & a passion unlike any other. Learn more here

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