We’ve been made to think that right after we have a baby, we have to get back into the condition we were once in. That’s probably the last thing women want to be thinking about, nor should they have to. Because, hello! You just had a baby. And the only things a new mom needs to worry about is taking care of him/her and herself.
But what goes on with a mom a mere 24 hours after having a baby? It can take a toll because it’s not always as perfect as you’ve heard it could be. You don’t often hear about how, for a while there, you had this little life inside you, constantly with you, always there to talk to and take care of — and then, poof! It’s gone. And now there’s a living, breathing human. There’s a sense of loss, in some ways, but you gained a baby, so yay!
And that’s what Erica Andrews was feeling when she posted a photo of herself and her newborn on Instagram 24 hours after giving birth. The pic is honest as hell. She didn’t clean up her bathroom counter or doll herself up (though the black-and-white is a nice touch). Andrew’s baby lays in a sling feeding off her mom’s breast as she proudly poses for her selfie in one of those giant adult diapers the hospital gives you when you leave. The image is so real and so beautiful but it’s her caption, with the brilliant hashtag #fourthtrimester, that will move you.
“This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow,” Andrews writes about childbirth’s physical effects. “Birth opens us like an earthquake opens the earth and I am still in the intimate, fragile throes of that opening. I feel raw.”
Andrews perfectly explains the mental and emotional toll of giving birth, but confirms the experience as a source of strength. “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.”
Andrews’ words are what most of us feel but sometimes can’t explain. It’s life-changing, mind-boggling and heartbreaking. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Just like Andrews writes, “This time is simply unlike any other.”
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. 25 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. #fourthtrimester