We live in a world where unrealistic images of postpartum women dominate the media. The most recent example of this are the pictures of a seemingly flawless Kate Middleton outside the Lindo Wing in London mere hours after giving birth to her third child, Prince Louis.
They prompted outrage around the world, with mothers pointing out how unrealistic they were. Unlike the majority of women who’ve just given birth, the Duchess had a stylist, makeup artist and hairdresser on hand to make sure that she was picture perfect for the cameras.
To discover what she would have been going through beneath the facade, check out the video below:
While there is no denying that women’s bodies are amazing, giving birth to a human takes its toll. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a stomach that bounces back into its pre-pregnancy state in weeks, your body will inevitably be affected in one way or another by the experience.
To shed light on the reality of postpartum bodies, women are now sharing brutally honest images of themselves after giving birth.
1. Having a child takes its toll on your body and emotions
“My body feels broken… Everything hurts… I don’t feel like I’m bonding as easily this time around… Today has gone to shit.”
2. Baby bumps don’t just disappear
Luckily, this woman’s bump is helping her cradle her newborn.
3. Women can embrace the changes their bodies undergo
“Well, I know a lot of you guys are probably thinking ‘Why would she post this picture?’, but, it took me 18 months to get here, 18 months to not cry when I look in the mirror, 18 months to finally feel beautiful in my own skin again! No one warns you about the dark sides of motherhood and pregnancy… No one gives you a heads up on how much you change physically and mentally after you become a mother. It’s been a long and hard postpartum ride for me… Eighteen months after my first son and five months after my second son I feel like I can finally see the light.”
4. Breastfeeding is a challenge in itself
But if it puts a smile on your baby’s face and improves their health to boot, then it’s worth it.
5. Being a new mom isn’t all sunshine and rainbows
It’s important women know that there are highs as well as lows.
6. Postpartum bodies show how amazing the female form is
“I may be a little softer, but ultimately I am stronger, and these marks just remind me of where I once tightly held and grew Emilia Ren. This body, ME, I may not be the same, but if she can find so much comfort and safety in this body, I will as well.”
7. Some women are affected by pregnancy in totally unexpected ways
“NOT anorexia, it’s a thyroid issue. I don’t know what it says about me that I got this thin and didn’t think there was anything wrong. Last Friday, I had a bulge in my neck that finally got me to the doctor. I’m STILL waiting on blood work but my doc thinks it’s Graves. If you just had a baby and have lost an inordinate amount of weight, feel like you are on cocaine, are suddenly heat intolerant, and can’t stop losing hair, and feel like your husband is being a dick it might just be your thyroid! Get checked ASAP.”
8. Your life changes when you have a new baby
And while your body may never be the same again, bringing a new life into the world is completely worth it.
9. A squishy baby on their former home
Isn’t the circle of life amazing?!
10. Stretchmarks are battle scars
“She was worth every stretch mark.”
11. Some women marvel at the changes their bodies go through
“Nothing but sheer amazement thinking about how that little body fit inside this stomach just two days ago.”
12. It’s always good to have a sense of humor postpartum
“I’m sharing this picture because it’s real; it’s raw, stunning, messy, and freaking hilarious all rolled into one. Nothing says welcome to motherhood like an adorable squishy baby and a giant mom diaper.”
13. Motherhood can be overwhelming
And it’s important that women know that’s okay.
14. Decorate your scars
Because postpartum bodies are still beautiful.
15. Postpartum is a time to enjoy
“The first week of motherhood… stay hydrated & in your pyjamas. How time has flown by. Take as many pictures as possible because moments like these pass in the blink of an eye. Elliot was 5lbs then.”
16. Your partner will still find you beautiful
They can also help to make the process easier.
17. Appreciate the gift of motherhood
“I hope if you’re going through all the new phases of motherhood, you’re able to find strength and give yourself grace. Bringing a life into the world; mothering is such a magical gift. Never underestimate the power of a woman.”
As these images demonstrate, life after giving birth is full of ups and downs, and no two postpartum bodies look the same. That’s why the media should take a leaf out of these women’s books and promote realistic images of women after they’ve given birth. Sorry Kate Middleton, but you’re not doing your fellow moms any favors with your postpartum pictures.