Plenty of women have opened up about the realities of becoming a mom, such as dealing with postpartum depression and coming to terms with post-baby bodies. But one mom dared to get real – and I mean really real – about what postpartum actually looks like.
Appropriately titled “Motherhood uncensored,” North Carolina mom Amanda Bacon posted a photo to Facebook to show the reality -- and discomfort -- after childbirth.
In the photo, Bacon’s husband is seen happily carrying their newborn and giving the thumbs up, while Bacon is in the background wearing a disposable undergarment.
“I'm sharing this picture because it's real,” she wrote. “The realities of postpartum life aren't spoken enough about. And definitely not photographed enough. Some people probably find this uncomfortable, but why? I seriously don't get it!”
This condition can occur postpartum, regardless of whether a woman has given birth vaginally or via C-section. This is because the hormonal changes and weight gain during pregnancy can cause stress incontinence, which is a condition where urine is involuntary released due to pressure on the bladder, such as when you sneeze or run.
According to Dr. Roger Goldberg, an urogynecologist at Chicago’s NorthShore University HealthSystem, “Even a seemingly uneventful pregnancy and delivery can change urinary control for up to 50 per cent of women.”
“We all should try and educate, empower and embrace every aspect of childbirth, including moments like this.”
Postpartum bleeding, of course, is pretty much guaranteed. Often a regular pad isn't enough to contain all the blood, so something more heavy-duty is required.
Bacon believes people are uncomfortable with postpartum realities because they are rarely discussed. “We all should try and educate, empower and embrace every aspect of childbirth, including moments like this,” she continued. “And do it while having a sense of humour.”
True to her honest post, the mom-of-two also joked: “Nothing says welcome to motherhood like an adorable squishy baby, and a giant mom diaper.”
Bacon’s raw Facebook post quickly garnered a huge response from fellow moms who could relate to her postpartum experience. “I love this it's so true!” one commenter said. “Man I hated those panties.”
Others praised the mom for being bold enough to post such a personal photo: “You are a brave honest woman! Sending you all my love and respect....enjoy your new little one!”
In less than a day, Bacon’s post has been liked over 320,000 times and shared by over 85,000 people. On Thursday, the new mom posted another hilarious photo to Facebook showing her and her newborn overwhelmed by “all the love on our Motherhood Uncensored post!”
“Glad y'all can share in Ken (the hubs) and I's humorous moment, and you can appreciate the hilariously raw beauty that is postpartum life,” she wrote. “It really means a lot to us. I never expected such a warm and well received response. Thank you.”
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Hormones continue to impact our bodies in the months following giving birth. One surprising consequence for many women is the effect increased body odour. Additionally, you might also find yourself waking in the night drenched in sweat as your body attempts to rebalance. To manage any unpleasant body odour, consider trying a new deodorant or a simple sprinkle of baking soda a couple of times throughout the day can help manage this unexpected gift of motherhood.
One reality often left out of prenatal visits is the potential changes to your pelvic floor and bladder muscles. More than one third of mothers report urinary incontinence following the birth of their children, including mothers who give birth via c-section. Many women report losing urine during a hearty laugh, a big cough or while on a jog. Explore your local community for pilates instruction that might help you rebuild muscles that support your bladder and pelvis.
All postpartum bodies are beautiful, and the last thing mothers should be worrying about is shrinking back to their original size. But, for many moms who have experienced a c-section, the ridge, or apron, of skin that hangs over their scar is unexpected, and about as pleasant as chapped nipples. Time, drinking plenty of water, and learning to love your new body are all helpful tools in dealing with this body change.
Even after you have waited the recommended six weeks, you might find that sex with your partner doesn't feel the same as pre-birth. It isn't just about the delivery, though lacerations and episiotomy incisions need additional consideration and time to heal. Many mothers who experience surgical births also report sex being difficult, uncomfortable and even painful in the first year after giving birth. A likely reason is the reduced levels of estrogen, which is especially relevant for nursing mamas. The lack of this hormone results in vaginal dryness, and difficulty with penetration. Try taking it slow, using a water-soluble lubricant or finding other ways to be intimate with your partner.
Many pregnancy guides mention the rather terrifying hair loss that often occurs a few months after your baby is born. Most mothers don't experience any actual thinning or balding, because the hairs you lose are actually just additional pregnancy strands. But, what some are not prepared for is the almost uncontrollable body hair growth that, for many, is another result of the postpartum hormonal deluge. We are talking nose hair, chin hair, increased upper lip hair -- all of which are fine, if you are used to them or comfortable with them. But when they seem to pop-up overnight, or sprout in the most unexpected and unusual places, it can seem like you can't tweeze fast enough.