If celebrity post birth selfies are anything to go by, the process goes like this; small amount of discomfort, cough, oh look a baby! Then the hair and make up team will arrive and have mum looking fresh, radiant and ready for the world wide announcement.
But if you’ve actually been through childbirth you’ll know that the situation is much, much different and one mother from Ohio has shared the most real post birth selfie we’ve seen in a long time.
Erica Andrews had just given birth to her fifth child, a boy called Silas, 24 hours earlier when she decided to take a selfie in the mirror of her bathroom.
In it she stands wearing an adult nappy, breastfeeding her new arrival in a sling. She’s post-baby bloated, she looks exhausted and she’s beautiful. It’s evident that her body has been through a journey.
But it's not just the honest photo of new motherhood that so many women are relating to but also the accompanying caption in which Andrew’s so perfectly describes the ‘forth trimester’- the short amount of time immediately after a baby is born.
"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."
As a mother of three, her words resonate so deeply with me. The conflicting emotions of emptiness, yet full arms. “This time is unlike any other” she says, and she’s so right.
For a women who has just given birth, everything's changed- again. Gone is your belly that would dance at night and in your arms rests the baby responsible for it all.
To date, the photo has gained over 122,000 likes on Facebook and Instagram and has been shared widely. Andrews says she has been surprised by the attention she has received and told the Huffington post “It’s all intense at this still-fragile stage (I’m now 13 days post partum) to know that so many people have seen me in an adult diaper, nursing my fresh newborn in a sling. But to know that my words were heard and understood by so many incredible women has made it all the more special”