Jade Roper Tolbert Wants to 'Normalize the Feelings' of Postpartum: 'Recognize That We Are Human'
Jade Roper Tolbert is eager to share what she has learned.
The Bachelor in Paradise alum, 34, shares three children with husband Tanner Tolbert: daughter Emerson "Emmy" Avery, 3, plus sons Brooks Easton, 19 months, and Reed Harrison, whom they welcomed in November. As Roper Tolbert tells PEOPLE, not much is out there to prepare an expectant mom for the highs and lows that come postpartum.
"Everyone worries about prenatal care and you go to all these appointments, then you have the baby and you get one check-up at six weeks and you're let go. You're into the world on your own now," she says. "There's so much you go through. It's so transformational."
Roper Tolbert says the emotional and physical changes that came post-baby "hit me like a ton of bricks" after welcoming Emmy. Left navigating the new dynamics, she picked up insight along the way that she wishes she knew beforehand.
Luckily for new and future moms out there, the reality star is teaming up with Tommee Tippee to share those insights with the world. Roper Tolbert will kick off the virtual, multi-episode series titled Spill the Milk streamed live, speaking in her April 8 episode about her personal experiences with the "fourth trimester."
Maternal mental health, for one, is an important subject for Roper Tolbert, who experienced difficult postpartum depression after the birth of her second child, which she has previously described as traumatic.
"I didn't know who to reach out to. I kept thinking I was alone in it and I was just going to get better on my own," she says, becoming emotional while reflecting on the time. "I kept waiting."
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Jade Roper Tolbert Says She'd Serve as a Surrogate Under 'Right Timing' Despite Past 'Birth Trauma'
From that dark period, she says she learned to "talk to somebody, anybody." Roper Tolbert adds, "Yes, you're going through it yourself, but many women experience it," explaining that one can find support in others who understand the situation.
"It's okay not to be okay. We need to normalize the feelings that we feel postpartum," she says. "What you're feeling isn't something that's too big that you can't get help for it."
"Things were different, I could see it, but I couldn't fully grasp what she was going through," Tolbert tells PEOPLE of his wife's demeanor after Brooks was born. "I thought maybe Jade felt like she had to brush it under the rug or not talk about it. It kind of prolonged it, I felt like, because we never really had that discussion until way, way later."
Says Roper Tolbert: "I think we're expected, or we put this pressure on ourselves, to be supermoms. … It's not like that. We're fumbling through it and learning as we go, just as our babies are, and we need to recognize that we are human. We can't do it all, and there is help out there."
- If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
Jade Roper Tolbert Talks 'Dark Depression' After Birth of Second Child: 'No One Would Have Known'
Last month, Roper Tolbert got candid on Instagram, sharing a raw selfie while writing about hitting a "wall" and feeling overwhelmed experiencing "brutal" sleep deprivation while parenting her three under 3. In the honest social media post, she described vertigo bouts that drive her to the point "where I feel I can't function enough to be a good mom."
The decision to post about the lows along with the highs of motherhood online is one she says was "liberating."
"It was liberating to me, but I also want it to be liberating for other moms," says Roper Tolbert. "I want women to feel like all of that is normal, the good and the bad. When you normalize it, it gives you permission to just breathe and to just be, and to find your power in that. Our babies can sense when we are truly being ourselves."
"When a baby is born, a mother is born too," she adds. "It's something that nobody talks about, so I want the world to hear about it and think about it."
Tommee Tippee's four-part Spill the Milk series kicks off with Jade Roper Tolbert's episode, co-hosted by licensed professional counselor Deema Soufan, on Thursday, April 8, at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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