An honestly beautiful picture of what postpartum really looks like

Make-up free and a messy bun, wearing oversized underwear and a newborn baby boy feeding while being carried in a sling. New mum Erica Andrews is in no doubt this is the way it’s supposed to be.

The Ohio mum of four has posted a picture of herself just a day after the birth of her son. She’s undressed, unstyled, standing in her bathroom – and it’s a sight to behold. A beautiful mum celebrating what she has just accomplished. And we applaud her for telling it like it is.

Posted on her Instagram account, Erica says her body feels like it has run a marathon.

“This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow,” she says. “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.”

 

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. #fourthtrimester

A photo posted by Erica (@laughing.moon) on

Erica says she feels “raw, emotional and 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. Twenty-three 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,” she writes.

The photo was featured on the Facebook page of baby wrap company Sakura Bloom and the response – liked by more than 104,000 people and shared more than 26,000 times – overwhelmed its subject.

New mums all over the world took the time to leave a comment, from “so absolutely beautiful and captures exactly what it is like to give birth – love, love, love this” to “so real and raw” and “I cried when I read this as a new first time mom, it felt so good to read others have the same feelings!”

“I can’t respond to all of you loving mamas but your comments have moved me to tears, thank you for your love and welcoming my raw and honest words,” Erica writes.

Another photo of the Ohio mum breastfeeding was accompanied by a caption that described her dramatically different appearance post-birth: “My belly hung soft and empty. My breast hung heavy and full. My eyes weary with trying to stay awake as long as I can so as not to miss a single second of this sacred, sweet time that seems to move like it’s trying to win a race.”

 

Words can often easily be used to convey meaning. But there are times where words just seem to fall short of merging the magic of what one is feeling. Right now my kids laughter and squeals can be heard from my warm nest. There is a light snow swirling in the husky breeze. Everything in my house is still but my wildly racing heart. This time after birth is utterly profound. So complex that even those experiencing its shift can find themselves lost and unknowing in the waves of emotions birth brings. It is no surprising notion that our society has found themselves clueless as how to treat a new mother. Last night as I awoke to pee (which after birth is quite an ordeal…peri bottles, hot water, pads, panties, tucks pads, and spray…oh my) I caught glimpse of my radically changed form. My belly hung soft and empty. My breast hung heavy and full. My eyes weary with trying to stay awake as long as I can so as not to miss a single second of this sacred, sweet time that seems to move like it’s trying to win a race. And I sobbed. Everything I have been feeling just bubbled to the surface with quickness. Even though everything has just begun, it also just ended. The sweet time of hugging this little lumen inside, of their movements being all mine, of daydreaming who they were and what they looked like… Has culminated. My years of childbearing have come to fruition. My last born baby has been born. I give myself time to mourn, tucked into my family bathroom at 3:00am, alone. Now this is where it all gets muddled. Where those that love you can find themselves confused as to what to say or what to do, because I am not necessarily sad, I am actually over the moon with pure, radiant happiness. The sweet smell of my newborn’s breath, the feel of their warm belly breathing against mine, their weight resting against my flesh, their suckling at my breasts. Taking in all their beauty, memorizing every feature, every tiny perfection like this is the first time my eyes have ever seen them. I am oozing oxytocin that builds into a wave until it crests and washes every receptor site in my reborn body with love and bonding and warmth. {cont. below👇} A photo posted by Erica (@laughing.moon) on

But the brave mum says she is in complete awe of our strength as humans, women, and mothers. “This time is simply unlike any other. #fourthtrimester,” Erica says.

And while we’re all for real and honest accounts of motherhood, take a look at this mum’s Facebook post that’s going viral for all the right reasons.

(images via Erica Andrews)

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