The days immediately following the birth of a new baby are magical and sweet, but if we’re being honest, they’re also really damn difficult. That’s why it’s so inspiring to see one Arizona mom putting it all out there about those first few days postpartum and how challenging they really are.
Danielle Haines shared a photo to her Facebook page this week that was taken 3 days after she gave birth to her son. The photo shows her topless and cradling her baby, looking beautiful, emotional, exhausted, and all the things we feel following the arrival of a new child.
Along with the photo, Haines shared a moving confession about those first few days. She wrote:
“This is a picture of me 3 days postpartum. I was so raw and so open, I was a fucking 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, I was feeling sad that people kill babies, like on purpose, 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 loosing my mind.”
She goes on to say that a good friend came over to help her out and they shared their postpartum experiences prior to this photo being taken. She confessed that her friend and other women in her life supported her and held her together through those early days, and she asked other moms to share their “immediate postpartum” stories as well.
Since it was posted, the photo has been shared almost 10,000 times and dozens of moms have found their way into the comments to share their stories and read words from other women. Haines’ didn’t realize it when she posted the photo, but the message she shared was one so many of us desperately needed to hear.
There’s a lot of pressure on new moms to live up to expectations in those early days. We’re supposed to be glowing and elated, love breastfeeding, and fall gracefully into our new roles as moms. Outwardly, some of us might totally pull it off. Internally, though, there’s so much more going on than meets the eye.
Becoming a new mom is more wonderful than you could ever imagine it will be, but it’s also more exhausting, more painful, more emotional, and more confusing than you’d ever expect. When we share those parts of it too, we change the face of new motherhood. We make it more accepting and more loving. We create space for women to come as they are and bond over both the good parts and the bad. Haines’ photo is a beautiful reminder that each of us is on a very unique and challenging journey and we have to be supportive.