By Megan Flemmit, Photography courtesy of Instagram
And moms are thanking her for it.
Each women’s postpartum recovery process is different. While some women find it easy to bounce back after pregnancy, many women don’t.
Blogger, Ruth Lee, says she always wanted to have kids. During her pregnancy she followed many pregnant models on social media and she expected to bounce back as quickly as they did. “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.”
But despite all of this, Lee still had a traumatic labour and needed to have a c-section. She also developed postpartum depression soon after giving birth. Lee recently decided to post an image of her post birth scars and stretch marks to empower other struggling moms.
I’m posting this tonight with tears in my eyes. I can’t help it. The pregnancy and birth of my little girl was the most amazing thing I’ve ever been a part of. Some people don’t want kids, and I respect that. Really, I do. But for me, You see, I always have. When it finally happened though, it was so hard to fully comprehend. Pregnancy and babies, I mean that’s common. It’s everywhere. But when it’s YOUR body and YOUR baby, it’s so different. You literally feel like it’s a miracle. Because, when it happens to you, it is. What brings me to Instagram tonight, is the post-baby. 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!” 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. 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. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough. Yours might not actually be physical scars, but maybe, a failed relationship, a difficulty in your career, a mental struggle, money issues, or just feeling lost in life. 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. And above all, know that if you are struggling, I am here. I have an open inbox or (if you actually know me) an open door. #stopcensoringmotherhood #nofilter
Lee gave this advice to mothers struggling with feelings of inadequacy: “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.”
The post was liked over 4000 times and many women thanked Lee for being real about her journey. One user wrote: “Motherhood didn’t come with instructions. But I really appreciate the honesty of this post. I felt the same way after both my girls were born. I have an 8 yr gap between them and struggled with both. But I did get some help with my feelings and getting myself back together mentally and physically. Thank you so much for sharing“
Lee has shared images of her postpartum body several times at various stages of her recovery.
A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes, and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me. It isn’t very “pretty” anymore. Some may even think it’s ugly. That’s OK. It was your home. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it. #breakthestigma #11weekspostpartum #tigerstripes #mombod #stretchies #lightningbolt #proud #momlife #takingbackpostpartum #postpartum #selflovegeneration #uniteinmotherhood
You guys must be thinking I’m crazy to post these, ammmmmiright? Society will look at the first picture (2 days Postpartum) and be offended. Cankles. Messy hair. No make up. A DIAPER, for goodness sake. (We ogle and thrive off of the images of women looking like beautiful unicorn fairy models after birthing humans. ? whyyyyyy.) Not my usual look. But guess what? I made my husband take that picture because it was REAL. I felt victorious. I was probably in my weakest condition ever ever ever, yet I felt so strong. Society will look at the second picture (8 weeks Postpartum) and be offended. Omg stretch marks are you serious?! How embarrassing. ? (zoom in, I dare you!) I am so sick of people acting like stretch marks don’t happen. Yes, some of you amazing ladies have been kissed by the angel of luck and managed to birth a watermelon without so much as a whisper of an imperfection, but I am not one of you. And most women aren’t. Yet, it’s so rare to see evidence that stretch marks exist. It’s so rare, in fact, that we are forced to view them as ugly or uncommon. ?Let’s change that. I find them so bad ass and beautiful. Pregnancy and motherhood are no joke. We earned these. ⚡️ I’m grateful, so so so grateful for this body of mine, saggy skin and stretchmarks included. I can’t wait for Presley to get older and for me to show those stripes off to her. (& tell her that I have them from growing her beautiful little soul inside me.) ????? I LOVE MY MOM BOD! #takingbackpostpartum #8weekspostpartum #fourthtrimester #babymomma #tigerstripes
The 25-year-old blogger hopes that by sharing these images, other moms will learn to love and accept their bodies for what they are. “I’m grateful, so so so grateful for this body of mine, saggy skin and stretch marks included. I can’t wait for Presley to get older and for me to show those stripes off to her,” she writes.