For many women, giving birth doesn't look like how it does in the movies. That's why it's particularly brave of mom Erica Andrews to share a picture of her post-birth body on Facebook, just 24 hours after delivery. In reality, giving birth can be extremely wearing on your body, including bleeding, tearing, and soreness. Even internally, your body goes under some major changes right after giving birth: Your uterus begins to shrink back down its usual size, you begin to sweat out excess water, and more. Of course, all women's bodies react differently, as labor is quite personal, so women's experiences can vary widely. For Andrews, her post-birth experience involves, "Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow."
What is so powerful about Andrews post? Her honesty is truly an inspiration, particularly in a world where there is so much pressure to change your body immediately after pregnancy. In spite of the fact that it's recommended to give your body at least six weeks post-delivery in order to heal and recover, there is still a ton of pressure for women to "regain their pre-baby bodies" as quickly as possible — and let's not forget that a new mother is by no means required to return to what they looked like prior to giving birth in the first place. Andrews' post commemorates her body exactly as it is in the day after her child is born, which is rare and empowering. It's a body that has done something extraordinary.
Andrews' post sends a message of truly embracing her post-birth body which reads as raw and genuine. The caption reads, "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.” Personally, I am not even a mother, but even I find these words moving and emotional all the same.
As of now, her post is absolutely viral on Facebook. Baby sling company Sakura Bloom shared Andrews' Facebook post on Jan. 19. Since then, it's garnered a hugely positive reaction, with 125,000 likes and over 38,000 shares. Many commenters reacted passionately to her words by sharing their own stories and thanking her for her bravery. In truth, it's hard to find photos of women embracing their post-birth babies so openly and warmly. Luckily, some photo series celebrating women and their post-baby bodies do exist; photographer Jade Beall's "A Beautiful Body Project" and the 4th Trimester Body Project, for example, both share real photos of women's natural bodies post-birth. Andrews is definitely an inspiration not only to new mothers, but to women in general, to embrace our bodies just as they are today, flaws and all.