Mum shares powerful photo after being “horrified” by her post-baby body

This super-honest mum has opened up about the unexpected impact social media has had on her self esteem after birthing her baby daughter, describing the shock she felt when she first looked at her post-baby body.

Dream versus reality  

25-year-old American blogger Ruth Lee recently shared a photo of her postpartum belly on Instagram, revealing she was initially “horrified” by the changes to her body.

The photo was taken only days after Ruth gave birth to her baby girl in November last year, and shows a reality that any new mum would identify with: stretch marks, stitches, and loose skin. But as Ruth explains, she had immersed herself in so much social media during pregnancy, she had created very unreal expectations of herself.

“I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy. And when they photographed themselves pool-side 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, ‘wow! I hope that happens to me!’”

“I stayed active during my pregnancy. I took the best prenatals, went to the gym, used every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of … I STILL ended up with a traumatic labor, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks, and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term,” Ruth posted.

I'm posting this tonight with tears in my eyes. I can't help it. The pregnancy and birth of my little girl was the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of. Some people don't want kids, and I respect that. Really, I do. But for me, You see, I always have. When it finally happened though, it was so hard to fully comprehend. Pregnancy and babies, I mean that's common. It's everywhere. But when it's YOUR body and YOUR baby, it's so different. You literally feel like it's a miracle. Because, when it happens to you, it is. What brings me to Instagram tonight, is the post-baby. I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy. And when they photographed themselves pool-side 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, "wow! I hope that happens to me!" I was 25 when I gave birth. I was healthy. I was young. I stayed active during my pregnancy. I took the best prenatals, went to the gym, used every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of. I took hours of birthing classes, read every book under the sun, and studied natural childbirth my whole pregnancy. I STILL ended up with a traumatic labor, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks, and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term. I took this picture a few days after I gave birth, when my PPD really first reared its head into my life. I took this and actually was horrified. I couldn't believe it was me. I'm sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough. Yours might not actually be physical scars, but maybe, a failed relationship, a difficulty in your career, a mental struggle, money issues, or just feeling lost in life. Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL. And above all, know that if you are struggling, I am here. I have an open inbox or (if you actually know me) an open door. #stopcensoringmotherhood #nofilter

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on

Reaching out

Admitting she had tears in her eyes as she posted the picture, Ruth says she wanted to share it with the world in the hope that it might reach other women who had experienced similar feelings of body shock.

“I took this picture a few days after I gave birth, when my PPD really first reared its head into my life. I took this and actually was horrified. I couldn’t believe it was me. I’m sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough.”

Let’s quit comparing

Describing her now 6-month-old daughter as the “absolute best part of life”, Ruth urges other women to stay clear-eyed about social media and avoid falling into the body comparison trap.

“Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL.”

And the verdict is in…

We all agree! Turns out Ruth’s post touched a very raw nerve, with comments flowing in from other mothers who had gone through similar struggles. Some described their terrifying sense of self-loathing after giving birth, others admitted that social media had muddied their own ideas of what a healthy post-baby body ‘should’ look like.

Judging by Ruth’s blog, she’s feeling great about herself again, with lots of inspiring snaps of her getting strong and fit, and baring her belly with pride. Turns out we all benefit when mums tell real and honest stories about motherhood. Go Ruth!

Were you looking at Ruth’s picture and nodding your head? Tell us about it.

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