Birthing a baby is a pretty taxing endeavor, both mentally and physically. Once the baby is born, it’s only natural that all eyes are on the squishy, squirmy tiny thing who’s saying hello to the world for the very first time. But what about the mom who just gave birth and is most likely still in a great deal of pain? The rough start of motherhood often goes ignored, but no longer.
Last week, photographer Alex Michele posted to Facebook about this very topic. She shared a beautiful, raw image of a mom laying in a hospital bed after giving birth to a healthy, beautiful baby. As beautiful as the photo is, though, it’s the caption that really hits home.
Alex writes, “We tend to forget our mamas when babies are around. We ask how baby is, what does baby need, can we hold the baby, can we buy this for the baby but… what about mama?”
Let us not forget the hard work she endured to carry this child AND the hard road ahead to mother and heal and feed and rest and parent her other children also. What do mamas really need? Meals dropped off, someone to watch baby so they can shower, solid child care for her other children, house cleaners to stop by and help out. Heating pads and coffee and comfy PJs. Maybe fast food. Or a friend to fold laundry. Maybe a new movie to watch or your Netflix login. Let’s not forget the mamas. It’s just so easy to because women are incredibly strong and seem to have it all together but they need the support and the extra hands more than ever entering into that fourth trimester.– Alex Michele Photography
While moms are recovering from giving birth, they’re also dealing with learning how to breastfeed and managing life with a baby who is waking up at all hours. There’s no doubt about it: it’s a tough recovery that goes beyond the time spent in the hospital. Once home, moms are managing a brand new schedule, recovering from giving birth (and in some cases, surgery, if you had a C-section), and in many cases, parenting older children.
Alex’s post reminds us to not just celebrate the arrival of a new baby, but to be mindful of new moms (and parents generally) and what they need. Bring them meals, watch the baby while they shower, come by and help clean up the house a bit, bring coffee, or just come over to watch Netflix while mom breastfeeds. There are so many ways to help out new moms beyond snugging with the baby. (Though that’s always a great option, too! Mom gets to have her hands free for a few minutes! And who doesn’t love holding a new baby?!)
Alex’s impactful post has certainly struck a chord with fellow parents: it now has nearly 200,000 likes, 16,000 comments, and more than 150,000 shares.
Do you think this photo accurately depicts the emotional and physical hardships that occur at the start of motherhood? Let us know what you think in the comments.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.