baby

We've seen a lot of post-birth photos. We've never seen one like this.

Lacey Barratt has always depicted a realistic side of pregnancy, birth and motherhood with her photography, but she didn’t realise how much she was struggling until she looked back at a photo she’d posted of herself.

It all started with an innocent Instagram post in which Lacey was attempting to show a regular postpartum body.

“I shared the side image on my Instagram account yesterday,” she wrote later on Facebook. “It has gotten over 46k views and 750 likes. I captioned it ’20 hours in and we are making it….’ because when I took it yesterday, I wanted to document my postpartum body. Which was why I chose the side image to share.”

After realising the impact her honest depiction of caring for a newborn was having, Lacey decided to post another image she’d taken. It was a “powerful” and “confronting” image that compelled a close friend to ask Lacey if she was okay upon seeing it.

“I was fine until she asked me if I was fine,” Lacey writes. “I took another look at it. I *saw* my soul. In a picture. I cried. I didn’t want to look at it anymore. I saw a woman standing next to her birth affirmation bunting less than 24 hours post birth…and she wasn’t babymooning. I saw a woman who felt like after 4 biological births in 5 years and 5 children total, that this was her job. Like she was good for nothing else other than birthing babies. Like she is just going through the process.”

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It’s her face, the fatigue clearly visible, the uncertainty, the disconnection. It’s also familiar, and common, and normal. It’s something many of us have been through.

“Pregnant, birth, postpartum, baby cries, boob baby, baby poops, change baby, raise baby….just going through the motions. There was no attachment. It looks like someone just dumped a baby in my arms. I feel no warmth when I look at this,” she writes.

Lacey talks about the guilt she felt when looking at the photo, explaining she felt vulnerable and hesitant to share such a raw image. She was left wondering where it had all gone wrong, from an “amazing supported gorgeous birth”, to this.

In choosing to post these photos, Lacey has put a face to something many mothers of newborns secretly suffer. Whether it be the baby blues, postpartum depression or just generic, run-of-the-mill, every day struggle.

Because caring for a newborn is hard.

“Well, me being real, I turned to a group of women I truly love and who have no judgement…at all. I knew it was normal, but I wasn’t ready to spill my weaknesses until I *knew* it was normal. Well now, after some soul searching, placenta encapsulating, sharing with other women, and naked snuggling with ALLLLL of my kids, I am ready to say it.”

Lacey wants women to know that it’s normal to feel all these feelings post-birth.

“Feeling disconnected after a birth whether it be positive, supported and empowering OR traumatic, disempowered, or poorly supported is NORMAL. Our emotions are EVERYWHERE.”

On the post, women are sharing their own stories, which in turn has taught Lacey that she’s not alone, and neither is any other mother who sees herself in Lacey’s image.

“The stories I have received from sharing these image is a strong reminder that I am not alone, and I am very normal,” Lacey says.

“So for my pp mama’s out there, don’t be discouraged,” she says. “You are not alone and you are doing f**king fabulous.”

And you are. You truly are.

If you or someone you know would like to talk to someone about pregnancy, birth or postpartum struggles contact PANDA on 1300 726 306.

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