Lifestyle blogger Ruth Lee followed all the necessary steps to ensure childbirth was as gentle on her body as possible. She exercised, took “the best prenatals,” and “used every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of.”
The 25-year-old also did something many mums-to-be do these days: followed pregnant models on Instagram, as they, too, shared their journeys and advice. “When they photographed themselves pool-side five minutes postpartum, I thought, ‘Wow! I hope that happens to me!’” Lee admitted in an Instagram post last week.
Instead, the young mum was shocked by the postnatal changes to her body, saying, “I couldn’t believe it was me.”
Lee, in an Instagram post, added, “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, caesarean section, scars, stretch marks and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term.”
Although Lee describes the birth of her daughter as “the most amazing thing I’ve ever been a part of,” her photos revisit the early days following her delivery, when postnatal depression “first reared its head” in her life.
Comparing herself to expectant mums she followed on Instagram, Lee admits she was “horrified” by her own body after giving birth. She has since taken to social media to help “stop censoring motherhood” and provide a “no-filter” look at a post-baby physique.
Ultimately, Lee hopes her pictures will empower other moms struggling with body image to appreciate their strength and beauty — “imperfections” and all.
“I feel amazed and grateful that I was able to conceive and carry a baby full term,” she said. “Our bodies are not ruined after pregnancy. We need to stop letting social media contort our views on what is ‘beautiful.’ Motherhood is beautiful. Scars are beautiful. Stretch marks. Imperfection. Loose skin.”