Justice

'I Couldn't Believe It Was Me': This Mom Has Some Important Advice for New Mothers

March 2nd 2017

By:
Almie Rose

"I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy. And when they photographed themselves pool-side 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, 'wow! I hope that happens to me!'" new mom Ruth Lee wrote on Instagram.

She soon found out that was not the case. Now she's posted the reality: a photo of her scarred stomach post-pregnancy to warn moms not to fall into the same trap she did, and to not put pressure on themselves to look a certain way after giving birth.

 

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on

Her photo has resonated with other moms, who are praising her for her honesty — not only in the photo itself, but in her Instagram caption:

"I was 25 when I gave birth. I was healthy. I was young. I stayed active during my pregnancy. I took the best prenatals, went to the gym, used every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of. I took hours of birthing classes, read every book under the sun, and studied natural childbirth my whole pregnancy.

I STILL ended up with a traumatic labor, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks, and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term." 

Lee goes on to explain why she shared the photo of her c-section scars and stretch marks:

"I took this picture a few days after I gave birth, when my PPD really first reared its head into my life. I took this and actually was horrified. I couldn't believe it was me. I'm sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy."

The takeaway?

"Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL."

Considering how many women are coming forward with their shared experiences, it might be worthwhile to reflect on why we put so much pressure on women to look — and feel — perfect during and immediately after pregnancy.

As Lee told The Huffington Post, it was scrolling through images of "perfect" bodies on Instagram that sparked a desire to put her photo out there. "I ended up on my bathroom floor, crying," she said. "I felt that because my body didn’t look like theirs, somehow maybe my worth was less."

 

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on

A 2014 study by the Government Equalities Office of Britain determined that many mothers feel unnecessary pressure to lose weight after giving birth, partly inspired by celebrity culture.

"There is a cultural insinuation that a mother’s job is to present herself physically as though nothing as momentously life-changing or body-changing as having a baby has occurred," the report stated. 

pregnant-woman

In 2017, it seems as though in some ways Instagram models have replaced the traditional, TV celebrity culture. There is a sense that what you're seeing on Instagram is more "real" than what you see in the media, but, as many Instagram models have shown, that isn't true and there is absolutely deception when it comes to online appearances. 

That's what Lee is warning her followers, concluding her post with a defiant hashtag: #stopcensoringmotherhood.

[H/T The Huffington Post]