Brooklyn Decker's Postpartum Journey Was Messy and Sometimes Shocking—But Also Totally Relatable

From vaginal tears to blood clots to bleeding nipples, the actress and model spared no detail on the Me Becoming Mom podcast when it came to her fourth trimester struggles.

Actress and model Brooklyn Decker is opening up about the realities of the fourth trimester, and it's not all new-parent bliss. It's actually pretty messy at times—literally and figuratively.

The Grace and Frankie star appeared on the Me Becoming Mom podcast from People, out today, to discuss her birthing and postpartum experiences with her two children, Hank, born in 2015, and Stevie, born in 2017.

No subject was off-limits.

"My nurse, Rebecca, comes in, she goes, OK, so did you get any hemorrhoids? I'm like, no, Rebecca, like I pushed for two seconds, like this vag is pristine aside from the severe tearing," Decker tells People's Zoë Ruderman.

The nurse didn't hold much back, either. Decker recalls the her looking down at her vaginal area and saying, "You're wrecked. You're ravaged."

Decker also shared she was stunned when she saw golf-ball-sized clots in the toilet and the mesh diapers she sported postpartum. But her nurse, Rebecca, assured her it was normal.

Experts share that passing clots postpartum is normal, as you're also discharging mucus and uterine tissue. But you should call your doctor if they're the size of a grapefruit or if you're concerned.

Bloody nipples also threw Decker for a loop.

"It was like one of those things where, in the moment, it is so painful. You're crying through it," she says. "Your baby comes off, and they have blood on their face because you're bleeding onto them. And you think you're causing all this harm, and it's a totally normal experience."

Decker's pediatrician assured her that was normal, too. The pediatrician was right. Cracked nipples are often a sign of an improper latch—and it's not the lactating person's fault.

Though the postpartum period—and parenting in general—is a challenge, Decker shared some brighter moments of becoming a parent alongside her husband and tennis pro Andy Roddick.

"When they said it's time to push, we all just burst into tears. It was just this beautiful, overwhelming moment of joy and just like something bigger was happening, and everything was about to change," Decker says.

The podcast isn't the first time Decker has opened up about her postpartum experiences. Last year, she shared a photo of herself one week after giving birth to Hank. She's wearing a belly band and mesh underwear and admits she "was a zombie." Decker also teamed up with women's health resource Bodily on the #MyBodyMyNormal awareness campaign to normalize what a person's body goes through during and after pregnancy loss, birth, and breastfeeding.

Decker has been an open book about the fourth trimester, defined as the three months after giving birth, but historically, the period has gone unrecognized by the medical community. However, the tide seems to be turning in recent years. Last year, Merriam-Webster announced it would be adding the "fourth trimester" to its dictionary. Experts believe it's essential to raise awareness about the physical and emotional health toll that postpartum brings forth. One 2019 study reported 40 percent of women feel depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed in the weeks after delivery.

There's often so much focus on preparing for a baby, such as taking classes, creating a birth plan, and getting the nursery set up, but not enough focus on what comes when you bring that bundle home. In addition to increased awareness, experts share new parents can prepare for the fourth trimester by building a village in advance. This support system may include a lactation consultant, family, and friends.

Experts say it's essential to remember it's OK to ask for help when you're in the thick of it. Have someone cook or clean for you. You don't have to do it all alone.

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