When non-parents think of postpartum life, they most likely imagine baby cuddles, midnight feedings, and lots of dirty diapers. Those elements are part of parenting, but there's so much more to the initial days and weeks after giving birth. These postpartum selfies shed light on the reality of life with a newborn: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
There's really no way to fully prepare yourself for the toll birth puts on your body. Postpartum bleeding, leaking breastmilk, and painful bowel movements are just a few of the challenges new moms face, and that's on top of caring for an infant. There's nothing else that challenges you physically and mentally like birth and the months after, yet the harder parts of life with newborn aren't often given much attention. Particularly on social media, people are prone to sharing the "prettier" side of mom life, which is why it's so refreshing to see photos where women don't look perfectly coiffed as they care for their children.
Moms, like all people, contain multitudes, and motherhood just adds more layers. These photos highlight the new dimensions motherhood brings to their lives, so read on to get an idea of everything moms can be.
1. Hospital Life
Melinda snapped this shot of herself just one day after her c-section, celebrating the strength it took to bring her daughter into the world. (You can see the little one in the background of the shot.) Mom's hospital gown and mesh underwear highlight exactly what her body is going through, and the set determination in her face underscores her power. She's got this.
2. Feeling Myself
This momma is owning her postbaby body. Jo spotlights her stretch marks in this series of pictures taken six weeks after she gave birth. She wears a crop top to show them off, and the proof of the life she grew inside of her is stunning.
3. Two For One
Baby and mom are a package deal in this shot. Nicole's baby rests on her chest, appearing to snooze peacefully. Mom looks at the camera with a soft smile and a serene gaze despite the hectic nature of early motherhood. She calls out the dark circles under her eyes in the caption, but the viewer just sees beauty.
4. Little Wins
This new mom is feeling like herself again after getting a break from 24/7 baby duty thanks to her mom. Nour stands in front of a mirror, freshly showered and awake after a much deserved nap. She's refreshed and ready to take on the day.
This shot of Erica Andrews went viral in 2016, with people all over the world connecting to the raw and real image. Taken just 24 hours after she gave birth, Erica stands in front of a mirror, wearing only an adult diaper and her baby in a sling. She subtly smiles as she looks at herself behind glasses, and a black and white filter just adds to the emotional nature of the image.
6. Family Photo
Reagan, her partner, and their newborn pose for a mirror selfie. Mom grins with her eyes closed, holding her arms out to show followers bruises on her arms, her postpartum belly, and a pair of mesh underwear. Her partner looks at her while holding their newborn, and the three are clearly in it together as they figure out what life with baby will be like. It's honest and hopeful.
7. A Moment Alone
Sera captured this shot of herself a week after she gave birth from her home. Her belly is still swollen, and the changing table in the left of the frame reiterates that her child isn't far away. Her face peeks out behind her phone, and the frankness in her gaze is disarming.
8. Keepin' It Real
Jessie James Decker shared this photo three weeks after giving birth to her third child, and the photo is breathtaking in its authenticity. The singer raises her shirt to show off her stomach, noting that she's still experiencing swelling. The caption celebrates the capabilities of women's bodies.
9. Baby's First Pic
Mom, dad, and a newborn are all smiles in their first photo as a family, just moments after mom's c-section. Dad holds the baby to mom's chest, and all three look towards the camera with open mouthed smiles. Mom's ability to smile after a major operation is astounding.
10. Baby Hairs
Mom Judit gets frank about her postpartum hair changes in this selfie. She points out her newly growing baby hairs, calling attention to the hair changes women experience after having a baby. It's a part of postpartum people often forget, highlighting the full body impact carrying a baby can have on moms.
11. Dad Cam
Amanda Bacon shared this selfie her husband snapped after she gave birth, and it quickly went viral because of its honest look at life with a newborn. Dad smiles while holding the newborn, and mom is in the background, wearing mesh underwear and packing a bag. It's not glamorous or posed; it's a photo all new moms can relate to.
12. Mirror Moment
Mom Stephanie takes a moment to document her body eight hours postpartum. Her belly is still round, and she sports mesh underwear, like many of the other mothers you've seen. She also still as an IV port, highlighting how recent the birth was. There's a power to her stance that only a mom can have.