Depictions of motherhood on the Internet can sometimes feel a bit too Gisele-breastfeeding-on-a-photoshoot, can’t they?
We’re often exposed to the realities of motherhood through the lens of celebrities: post-labour blowdries, bounce-back bodies and breastfeeding with a full face of makeup are all sights we’ve become all too familiar with as we scroll our Instagram feeds.
This makes us thankful for mums like Autumn Benjamin, who aren’t afraid to share the other side of motherhood.
New mum Autumn took to Facebook just two days after giving birth to daughter, Layla, to post a brutally honest photo: breastfeeding her newborn, wearing a large pair of hospital-administered mesh knickers, while eating a piece of steak, the new mum shared the “hard parts of the aftermath of giving birth”.
Since, the post has been shared more than 120,000 times and has attracted 22,000 comments.
In the post, which Autumn debated sharing, she explains: “This was 2 days after I gave birth to Layla. Eating my ‘nice meal’ provided by the hospital. An over cooked steak and sides. I was in new territory. Learning to breastfeed this little human being that I just brought into the world. Wearing these big mesh panties, still sporting a pregnant belly.”
The Tennesse-based mum then listed the surprises she’s faced since giving birth.
“No one told me your belly doesn’t go down immediately,” she writes. “No one told me I’d be bleeding out. No one told me that I would spend hours crying and full of emotion.”
She goes on: “No one tells you that typically with a ‘quick delivery’ comes a bad rip. I ripped all the way up and down, and also side to side. The weeks following I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the bathroom. I wore these big depends diapers.
“I never thought I would be normal again.”
Autumn then lists the ways being a mum is “the ultimate sacrifice”.
“You give up your body for 9 months to grow this little baby,” she starts. “You go through labor and delivery. You go through the emotions that come with childbirth. You let go of all shame as you walk around your house in diapers and ask your SO to spray warm water on your rip while you pee to avoid that burn. You spend tireless hours latching your baby and feeding your baby to establish and keep up your milk supply because you want to breast feed so. damn. bad. [sic] You remain patient through leaps, growth spurts, and cluster feeding.”
Autumn then wraps up her post by outlining the most important sacrifice mum’s make: “Moms give up who they were before they were a mother. Most moms give up a lot of their hobbies, dreams, and plans. Moms put their lives on hold so their babies can live out theirs. We deal with so many emotions that we internalize [sic] – just so we can be mothers to our babies. Don’t ever discredit a mother. You don’t know the half.”
She finishes by saying: “I used to be Autumn. Fun loving, crazy, outgoing Autumn. But now I’m Layla’s mama. And I’m okay with that.”
Mums, you deserve a medal.