Near the end of a pregnancy, all a mom wants is for baby to be out, happy and healthy and in her arms. But no one really knows what those days and weeks after he or she is born will be like. Difficult labours. Breastfeeding issues. Colic. The constant crying. The lack of sleep. The sweet fantasy of new motherhood is just not happening to you.
It’s more than understandable that some time, be it right away or six days, weeks or months after the birth, everything catches up to you. The sheer exhaustion, the sound of constant crying and the newfound worry that this little wrinkly, unhappy human is relying on you sets in. All of a sudden, you wake up in a cold sweet with a sense of doom and dread and anxiety that is almost inexplicable.
Danielle Haines is a mother who’s been through it. She posted a photo on Facebook that you must see, one that was taken last November of her holding her then-three-day-old son, Ocean. And it was clear that Haines was having a rough time. If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, it’s hers. It’s all there, in one Mona Lisa moment.
Her full post may be tough to read for some of us, but it’s worth it:
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 [sic] my mind. Katie came over and feed [sic] me the morning this picture was taken. She might have even stopped over to feed me lunch. Then one of my 7 sisters came that evening to bring the family dinner, Sarah. Sarah took this picture of me. She walked in with food and said, “Hi! How are you!?” I said, “I’m a mess.” We talked, she listened, she said, “I’ve been right where you are.” It helped to know she went crazy once too!!! Then she said, “I know this might sound crazy but do you have a camera? You look so raw and so beautiful.” I’m so glad she took this picture. She was just planning to drop off food. She ended up staying for much longer. I needed her. She knew it. I called Rachel, I needed her. I needed her to nurse my baby, I needed more help with his latch. I called Shell. I needed her to tell me my baby was ok. This is real PP mamas. Those of you who have done it before….will you share what your immediate PP felt like?
I had a magical Postpartum. It wasn’t easy but I was so supported and fed and reminded that the mothers before me had been through this part of motherhood, and that I’d get through it just fine too.
We’ve all been there or know someone who has gone through this very experience. But seeing it captured in this moment, the love, the grief, it just hits home. Everything about this is sweet, sad, touching, and real, and ultimately helpful because not only does it show how rock-bottom she felt, her message is that she got through it. With love, support and knowing that she wasn’t alone. Haines’ post is everything.