I think it's fair to say that our society is biased when it comes to the reality of what motherhood entails, specifically surrounding giving birth.
We've developed an obsession over how awesome babies are, but at the same time, we generally censor the reality of what happens in the process.
Let's be honest — everyone thinks babies are cute! Random people will "awww" and "ahhhh" over your baby bump and congratulate (and touch!) your pregnant belly like nobody's business. Strangers will feel comfortable asking you highly personal questions such as: "When are you due?" or "How far along are you?" People will be more likely to grant you their sympathy, and even your grouchy grocer may nod at your bump and smile at you.
Babies are adorable and, after all, a necessity, and so this rubs off a little on the condition of the pregnant woman. This overly positive attitude toward pregnancy will even cause pregnant women to feel slightly "safer" with their body, as the amount of scrutiny and worry over weight gain tends to drop during that time.
It's fascinating to point out how the baby culture is strategically kept apart from the mother who birthed said baby.
In contrast to the amount of friendliness and positive attention pregnant women may get during pregnancy, they will get no such reactions right after baby is born. Women are not welcome to share in the direct aftermath of labor and childbirth. Now that kindness will be directed toward the stroller. Don't get in the way, lady, and keep to yourself!
It's as if the whole production must be shut down! The behind-the-scenes part of that play must be destroyed! The miracle of the human birth should limit itself to clear pictures of mommy dressed in a clean floral hospital gown, holding her gently swaddled bundle of joy. Anything more, and you'd probably get reported on Facebook.
Besides, no one wants to look at a lumpy leftover pregnancy pouch. No one wants to hear about cracked, bloody nipples and the scars vaginas may carry for life. Postpartum depression is still pretty taboo, when, really, wouldn't anyone who was experiencing this many changes in that short amount of time totally lose it, or at the very least, get depressed? During pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing, women are constantly redefining their sense of self and simultaneously dealing with drastic changes to their bodies, yet THAT never seems to get much coverage.
Yet, it feels like things are about to change!
I am so excited about the picture Amanda Bacon, a 28-year-old mother of two, recently shared on Facebook. In that picture, Amanda is seen wearing what she describes as: "a giant mom diaper." The "giant mom diaper" she is referring to is in fact a pair of those disposable, mesh, one-size-fits-all hospital panties and a maxi-maxi pad, those that are usually found in hospital postpartum recovery rooms.
There Amanda stands, in the background of a selfie taken by her husband, where he is seen holding their newborn son.
What this woman did is just shockingly empowering. Once you have a baby, you are basically in a diaper yourself. You do not look sexy. Not pretty, nor attractive, not yourself. When you've just had a baby, you look like a new mother in the making. It's raw, brutal, and uncensored.
The aftermath of baby-making is — literally — extremely bloody. Not period blood you guys, but four weeks straight of "I just made a human, and this is what's left of the process" type of blood. I like to think of it as the body shedding its tears over the recent departure of the cute baby that was inside it for nine months.
The amazingness of Amanda's photo also lies in her husband 's attitude, which is best described by his gesture: a thumbs-up and a smile!
In her caption, Amanda says she looks "hilarious" — and she does! That's the way she suggests people should approach postpartum reality. In her words:
I'm sharing this picture because it's real. This is motherhood; it's raw, stunning, messy, and freaking hilarious all rolled into one. Having a baby is a beautiful experience, and 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! It's probably because this part isn't talked about. We all should try and educate, empower and embrace every aspect of childbirth, including moments like this. And do it while having a sense of humor. Nothing says welcome to motherhood like an adorable squishy baby, and a giant mom diaper."
Women are superhumans. Their bodies make little people, who then turn into big people, who then people the world!
Thank you, Amanda, for busting yet another myth about womanhood and motherhood and being upfront and honest when no one else dares to be.
This picture is a milestone for women everywhere.