First-time mom, Katarina Rodriguez, opens up about the struggles and fulfilments of the fourth trimester.
For many first-time mothers, the fourth trimester can be one of the most challenging. It’s a time of great change—nothing that books, articles, videos, and podcasts can prepare you for. When the baby arrives, everyone’s focus shifts to them. And as a result, mothers tend to overlook their own health and well-being. They end up feeling overwhelmed by the demands of taking care of their newborn baby—all while recovering physically and managing their hormones. For Katarina Rodriguez, the fourth trimester was definitely a rollercoaster journey.
“Do what you need to do to make yourself feel better,” she tells us. Her journey to motherhood was truly unique. From her water birth to drinking her placenta as a shake, Katarina Rodriguez isn’t one to shy away from the norm.
Katarina Rodriguez on her postpartum care
Katarina shared that it was her doula who prepared the placenta shakes for her. “The benefits include a faster recovery. I think that’s the best benefit you get from drinking placenta. And if you research, you’ll read that a lot of animals really consume their placenta. It’s a natural thing to do. My hair and skin were so nice—the nicest I’ve ever seen it. Plus, it helped me with the sleepless nights. I wouldn’t drink it all in one go. It was almost like coffee. I would sip it throughout the day and then at night when the baby would wake up, I’d drink some water and then my placenta. I’d have instant energy.”
Adjusting to motherhood
In one of her vlogs, Katarina Rodriguez opens up about how much Typhoon Odette affected her. Fortunately, her family wasn’t in Siargao when it happened. She was in Manila meeting up with family and friends whom she hadn’t seen in two years. “Being in Manila helped me because it reminded me of who I was prior to the pandemic.”
“I started to feel more like myself—my thought process, how I would operate, my everyday routines. Prior to that, when we were still in Siargao and my son Quino was just a few months old, there were times when someone would be talking to me. And I would be listening but I wouldn’t remember what they were saying because of Mom Brain, I guess.”
A rebirth of Katarina Rodriguez
“I did not feel like myself. And it wasn’t a bad experience for me at all. It was just interesting. I really just went with the flow and took everything as is. I try not to put pressure on myself like, ‘Okay, I need to be back to who I was pre-pregnancy in 2 or 3 months.’ I’m really embracing being a new mom; being a young mom. And it’s almost like a rebirth for me, too. That’s how I look at the whole experience.”
“It’s the birth of my son, the birth of this new chapter in my life, of a new family, and it’s such a beautiful feeling and transition. Because I can take my old self and this new self and just tie everything together.
Her breastfeeding journey
In a heartbreaking moment due to the typhoon, Katarina lost about 150 bags of her frozen breast milk, which was kept in a deep freezer in Siargao. “When the typhoon happened, it all melted. And no one could use them. Some people even tried to go to the resort to get the breast milk to distribute it. But I think by the time people were out of the evacuation center, it was too late since the power was out and it got really hot.”
“There were a couple of days I had anxiety about the breast milk. Because you put your love into it. It’s a very good and positive pride that you have for yourself. You’re so proud to say, ‘Okay, I was able to produce this much, save this much, you can use this later on.’ Because now, I feel like I produce just the right amount. So sometimes, I eat milking bombs or malunggay just so I can get more milk. It’s a job. It’s definitely a job. You have to know your body so well to figure out how you’re going to do it. It’s actually very interesting. You learn a lot about yourself in the process.”
Katarina Rodriguez on trusting her maternal instincts
Like many first-time moms, Katarina turned to books to educate herself. However, apart from just reading and learning, she also uses the opportunity to discern what would work best for her baby. “I feel like I also argue with the author of the books sometimes. But it’s nice that I get to know the perspective of another person and their experience.”
“Every experience is special and different. And I do ask my mom for guidance sometimes—when I get confused about something. I feel like it’s such a natural thing. You just know what to do.”
“There’s this wisdom that comes along with being a mother that you did not have before. This whole new perspective and outlook on life. And in situations that prior to being pregnant, you had a certain belief or standpoint. But then after being pregnant, it shifts.”
Even the way Katarina reacts to certain scenarios has changed, she admits. “Being a mother has helped me take a step back to assess and observe situations in the world—to empathize with people.”
Katarina Rodriguez on overcoming the challenges of the fourth trimester
Now that her son Quino is seven months old, Katarina has gotten used to the groove of things. She confesses that she misses how small he used to be. But the perks of him being at his age means that she gets to smother him with tight hugs and kisses.
In overcoming the fourth trimester and adjusting to her new role as a young mom, Katarina advises to always trust yourself. “I found that I’m always right every time he cries or if there’s an issue. You will really be the one to know the best answer. You can ask everyone, but you’re still going to do what you think is best. So trust yourself.”
“Also, spend as much time with your baby. Because they grow so fast! From day one to week one, to a month to two months. It’s just different versions of your baby and you want to witness all of that.”
On how postpartum blues are normal
“Lastly, if you do experience postpartum blues, just remember that it’s normal. Let yourself feel it. I had a lot of weird feelings that I didn’t understand. I had really morbid thoughts at one point. And it was after I shot my postpartum video [on YouTube] that I had these thoughts. So I didn’t get to share that in the video. I had to keep reminding myself that this is just postpartum blues. But you know—do what you need to do to make yourself feel better. I hired a master monk to cleanse our place, I prayed a lot and revisited old journals, and I did a lot of reflection. Just to ease whatever thoughts I was having. And it’s just normal! It’s also so comforting to know that most mothers experience something similar.”
“Just pray and do something spiritual. I became more spiritual after that. I feel like it also defined me more as a person, a woman, and a mom—how I reacted to these thoughts. Overcoming this mentally challenging part of motherhood was something I was able to do.”
“These days, I do a lot of self-reflection. And I get to think about my past self and how different I was before. Now, I sit back on my chair and I’m happy with how I acted about this.”
Text GRETCHEN GATAN FRAGADA
Photography ED SIMON
Art Direction MARC YELLOW
Makeup ANN PARBA for MAC COSMETICS PH
Hairstyling VENN ANDOT
Styling ROSHNI MIRPURI and SIYA DARYANI for THE CLOSET CULTURE
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO TUPAZ
Shot on location at MELLA HOTEL