This is what a new mum really looks like

New mums rejoice! A photo of a mother three days after the birth of her son is being praised for its honest portrayal of the postpartum experience. Topless, puffy-eyed and “a mess”, the photo of Danielle Haines and her baby has struck a chord with mothers around the world who admit that being a new mum is an emotional and physical struggle like no other.

The reminder of the aches and emotions that go with your first days of being a new mum have come flooding back for many who have thanked Danielle for her warts-and-all confession.

Danielle gave birth to her son, Ocean, in November 2014. This week she posted a Facebook photo of herself holding Ocean, three days old. It has since been shared more than 19,000 times.

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“This is a picture of me three days postpartum. I was so raw and so open, I was a… mess. I loved my baby, I missed his daddy (he went back to work that day), I was mad at my mom, my heart hurt for my brother because my mom left us and now I had a little boy that looked like him, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, my milk was almost in, my baby was getting really hungry,” she writes in the photo’s caption. “I had not slept since I went into labor, I didn’t know how to put my boobs away, my vagina was sore from sitting on it while nursing constantly, I was kinda (losing) my mind.”

Inspired by the photo, mothers have been volunteering their own experiences with being a new mum, Yahoo Parenting reports. “You made me cry. Was so hard for me too. Not having the delivery I wanted, especially not getting to see him be born. I was afraid milk wasn’t going to come in, my nipples hurt so bad. I didn’t know how to ask for help,” wrote one commenter.

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Danielle’s raw words prompted other mums to share their own photos and memories on her Facebook page of those tough post-birth days All agreed the first weeks with a newborn are the toughest of a mother’s life.

Dr Sarah Allen, a psychologist who specialises in pregnancy and postpartum mental health, says Haines has done a service to all new mothers by sharing her photo.

“We tend to picture a new mum cradling her baby, and she’s looking down and smiling and the baby is looking up at her lovingly…those are the images mothers are usually putting out there,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “This is a mother saying, ‘This is the reality.’ I applaud her. These things need to be shared. You don’t just have a baby and it suckles right away and it’s all happiness. It’s hard! If women realise that going in, they won’t be so hard on themselves when they have tough times.”

Karen Kleiman, founder of the Postpartum Stress Center in the US, says we are under pressure to look good and say that having a baby is the best time of our lives. “(The photo) is very raw and honest and very much a smack in the face of all the perfect pictures we see on social media that are not doing new mothers any favours.”

The natural image contrasts with a trend for mums to hire ‘glam squads’ to ensure they look their best in post-birth photos.

(via Yahoo Parenting)

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