Women’s post-baby bodies are always under scrutiny–largely because of all the celebrity post-baby body obsession magazines perpetuate–which is ironic considering the last thing a mom wants to think about is her post-baby body. One mom, however, used Facebook as a way to break down stereotypes and misinformation as a way to connect to other moms. Which is so necessary, to say the least.
In her viral Facebook post, which has been shared over 33,000 times already, Erica Andrews (a mom of four!) wrote an honest account of how she feels just a day after her baby’s birth:
“This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow. My body feels like it ran a marathon and my heart is wide open from yesterday’s travels. Birth opens us like an earthquake opens the earth and I am still in the intimate, fragile throes of that opening. I feel raw. Emotional. Different. I feel like I’m on the undulating surface of the rippling ocean being tossed back and forth between happiness, gratitude, melancholy, and grief.
23 hours ago I held life within and 24 hours ago I surged and transformed allowing life to flow through me, into my waiting hands. The emptiness in my womb brings a heavy feeling crashing into reality but then this new little life whimpers, searching for the breast with soft rooting, and I feel whole again. I am still processing the beautiful transition my whole family has traveled through and I am in complete awe of our strength as humans, women, and mothers. This time is simply unlike any other.”
Whether or not you’re a new mom, mom of multiples, or a human being who is tired of the policing of women’s bodies, this photo definitely deserves attention. Not because it’s beautiful (although it is), but because it’s real. And because Andrews isn’t sugarcoating her experience–she’s allowing herself to be vulnerable, disappointed, upset, frustrated, depressed, happy, relieved, grateful, and excited. Basically, she’s allowing herself to have contradicting emotions, because nothing in life is completely wonderful or terrible.
Giving birth, and carrying a child around inside your body for nine months, means your body is going to change. And with change comes a lot of difficult emotions; most of all, however, it’s important for us to remind ourselves to embrace these emotions, even if they aren’t all neat and Hallmark-inspired.
Check out her photo and post below–it’s worth the time: