When preparing for birth, moms-to-be are told to stock up postpartum essentials like maxi pads, ice packs and mesh underwear from the hospital—but trying to layer them all together to soothe your tender parts is a ridiculously difficult process recovering moms have been forced to contend with for far too long. So three Chicago moms decided to do something about it.
To ensure women get the postpartum care they need, Eden Laurin, Aubrey Howard and Mia Clarke founded a new company called Nyssa. The first product they’re launching is a patent-pending postpartum underwear, designed to provide comfort following vaginal and c-section births.
Friends for a decade, the four women all gave birth within the same year and were shocked that, after their bodies had gone through labor and delivery, they were sent home with nothing more than a few pads and an ice pack to DIY their own postpartum underwear.
“You’re physically wrecked, and yet you’re responsible for taking care of a tiny human, and you’re trying to deal with all your own emotions, and the last thing you should have to do is try to DYI or hack a solution together for your own physical recovery,” Howard told CBS Chicago.
After spending a year chatting with other moms and designers, they came up with Fourthwear Underwear, which can be worn high up over the stomach area or folded down lower depending on where the wearer is in her recovery process. It also features—get this!—a slot to place an ice or heat pack in the vaginal/perineal area or at the site of a c-section incision, a design addition that any mom will tell you is pretty darn genius.
“The product can be worn in multiple ways, depending on your comfort level,” Howard said. “If you’re a little bit bigger, it’s really comfortable to wear it just over your belly. If you’ve lost a lot of weight, you can really easily fold it down.”
In addition to the underwear, the co-founders have also launched a podcast called “ The Unmentionables.” With Clarke as host, the series aims to spark conversations around what moms and babies experience during the fourth trimester, a term that refers to the first three months after giving birth. Recent episodes featured Sara Reardon, a pelvic floor therapist who runs the Instagram account The Vagina Whisperer; Dr. Rpua Mahadevan, an integrative pediatrician, Trystan Angel Reese; a trans parent and activist; and Lauren Smith Brody, author and founder of The Fifth Trimester.
“We really want to change the narrative around the postpartum experience, and we really want to build a community of people who are supportive of each other in this incredibly transformational time,” Howard said.
The postpartum recovery process is way harder than it has to be, and brands are finally starting to figure out what they can do to change that. Earlier this year, Frida Mom launched another postpartum recovery product line, featuring an upside-down peri-bottle, disposable cotton underwear, medicated pad liners in the shape and size of your pad, perineal healing foam instead of spray, and several other items to help women recover post-birth.