Why This New Mom Shared a Photo of Herself In Her Underwear Two Days After Giving Birth
She's shedding light on aspects of new motherhood that are rarely talked about, like the 'baby blues' and pain from vaginal tearing.
Everyone talks about the joys of new motherhood-playing, laughing, and bonding with baby. But what about the not-so-pleasant parts?
One new mom took to Facebook to talk about the realities of welcoming a little one into the world, and the physical and emotional fallout many women don't expect. (Related: Yes, It's Normal to Still Look Pregnant After Giving Birth)
"No one told me your belly doesn't go down immediately. No one told me I'd be bleeding out. No one told me that I would spend hours crying and full of emotion," Autumn Benjamin wrote on Facebook on August 7. (Related: Cardi B Gets Real About Postpartum Life Calling It an 'Emotional Struggle')
She posted a photo that her husband had taken of her several months earlier. The image shows Benjamin in the hospital while breastfeeding her newborn daughter, Lyla, and sporting mesh pregnancy panties.
Benjamin touched on the fear and anxiety she felt at the time. She explained that while she was excited her daughter was finally here, it also scared her. "But wait.. that means she isn't protected inside of me anymore. And that's a scary feeling." (Related: 11 Fitness Influencers Get Real About How Their Bodies Changed After Giving Birth)
Like Benjamin, many new mothers experience a rush of confusing emotions. As many as 70% of women report feeling mild, short-lived sadness after giving birth, often dubbed the "baby blues."
But Benjamin's postpartum realities don't stop there. "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," she wrote. (Related: Chrissy Teigen Gets ~So~ Real About 'Ripping to Your Butthole' During Childbirth)
Some tearing during a vaginal delivery is normal. Christine Greves, MD, ob-gyn at Orlando Health Hospital in Florida, previously told Health that there are four types of lacerations a woman can experience while giving birth. First-degree involves injury to the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the perineum (the area between the anus and the vulva) and vagina, and this level of tear usually heals on its own.
Second-degree tears, which affect deeper vaginal tissue, are the most common. Third- and fourth-degree lacerations are more serious, but they are also rare. Dr. Greves said that up to 6% of women endure this injury during childbirth. Lacerations are more common for first-time mothers because the vagina hasn't been stretched before, she added. (Related: 17 Things No One Tells You About Recovering From Childbirth)
"Being a mom is the ultimate sacrifice," Benjamin wrote. "You give up your body for 9 months to grow this little baby. 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."
Her message is a reminder that we all need to stop and say a huge thank you to the women who raised us. And women who are pregnant or planning to be in the near future should talk to their ob-gyn about all the things to expect during birth.
This story originally appeared on Health.com by Samantha Lauriello.