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This Woman Is Setting The Record Straight For Pregnant Women Everywhere, One C-Section Photo At A Time

Lareese Craig Published by Lareese Craig
Published on 15 March 2017

Having a baby isn't always rainbows and butterflies, it's hard, it's painful but it's also the most rewarding and incredible thing our bodies can do, which is exactly what one beauty blogger is out to prove with her very honest postpartum photos. It's time mum bods were celebrated not hidden away: scars, stretch marks and saggy skin included.

When beauty blogger Ruth Lee had her baby in November 2016, she wasn't like some of the super model mums we see on Instagram, lounging by the pool an hour later, placenta pills ready and waiting. Quite the opposite in fact. After a traumatic 19-hour labour, a C-section, an adult diaper, scars and stretch marks, her beautiful baby was born and now she wants to help other mums realise the postpartum reality is nothing to be ashamed of.

Although Ruth had every intention and hope, as most expectant mothers do, of being able to give birth naturally, it didn't quite work out the way she'd expected due to numerous complications. She said in one of her captions: "I was in more physical and mental pain than I had ever been in in my life."

#takingbackpostpartum Two days PP on the left, One Month PP on the right. YES, I had ALREADY given birth in the picture on the left. 😳 My body was still so swollen from the anesthetics and large amounts of IV fluids. I could barely stand up. I was heavily bleeding (Presley wasn't the only one in diapers!). I had a fresh incision- my insides cut open and my baby ripped away from me... a labor & delivery that my months of reading and research never prepared me for. I was in more physical and mental pain than I had ever been in my life. Yet, I remember taking that picture and thinking, I am a bad ass!!! Really. 😅 I was so utterly grateful that Presley ended up being OK. I had my healthy, chunky babe. Truly, that was the only thing that mattered. And in labor, she was my entire focus. I was able to face all the scary parts without fear for myself, and do what had to be done. I didn't look aesthetically pleasing that day, and I still am no where near "pre-baby" bod. But that's ok. I have stretch marks that I like more & more each day. As weird as that sounds. To me, they remind me of how strong I really am. As Amy Adams said, "Being pregnant finally helped me understand what my true relationship was with my body - meaning that it wasn't put on this earth to look good in a swimsuit." ✌🏼✌🏼️✌🏼️ #fourthtrimester #postpartum #postbaby #momlife #csection #onemonthpostpartum #strongwomen #4thtrimester

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on Dec 19, 2016 at 4:49pm PST

To help other mothers embrace their postpartum bodies, she later posted this image of her C-section scar with her bandage still in place covering the incision, alongside the caption: "I took this picture a few days after I gave birth, when my PPD really first reared its head into my life. I took this and actually was horrified. I couldn't believe it was me. I'm sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough. Yours might not actually be physical scars, but maybe, a failed relationship, a difficulty in your career, a mental struggle, money issues, or just feeling lost in life. Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL. And above all, know that if you are struggling, I am here. I have an open inbox or (if you actually know me) an open door. #stopcensoringmotherhood #nofilter."

I'm posting this tonight with tears in my eyes. I can't help it. The pregnancy and birth of my little girl was the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of. Some people don't want kids, and I respect that. Really, I do. But for me, You see, I always have. When it finally happened though, it was so hard to fully comprehend. Pregnancy and babies, I mean that's common. It's everywhere. But when it's YOUR body and YOUR baby, it's so different. You literally feel like it's a miracle. Because, when it happens to you, it is. What brings me to Instagram tonight, is the post-baby. I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy. And when they photographed themselves pool-side 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, "wow! I hope that happens to me!" I was 25 when I gave birth. I was healthy. I was young. I stayed active during my pregnancy. I took the best prenatals, went to the gym, used every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of. 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, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks, and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term. I took this picture a few days after I gave birth, when my PPD really first reared its head into my life. I took this and actually was horrified. I couldn't believe it was me. I'm sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough. Yours might not actually be physical scars, but maybe, a failed relationship, a difficulty in your career, a mental struggle, money issues, or just feeling lost in life. Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don't let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL. And above all, know that if you are struggling, I am here. I have an open inbox or (if you actually know me) an open door. #stopcensoringmotherhood #nofilter

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on Feb 23, 2017 at 10:32pm PST

Ruth's body confidence message is an important one for women everywhere and a reminder that our bodies are beautiful and powerful - scars and all. The picture-perfect birth conveyed on social media can leave mothers feeling inadequate and resentful towards their bodies for letting them down or not bouncing back quick enough, but as Ruth points out learning to love your mum bod for the amazing life story that it is, complete with lines and scars to mark the journey along the way, is what we should be focusing on. Being a mum is hard enough without beating yourself up for every imperfection. Ruth, if you're reading - we heart you!

You guys must be thinking I'm crazy to post these, ammmmmiright? Society will look at the first picture (2 days Postpartum) and be offended. Cankles. Messy hair. No make up. A DIAPER, for goodness sake. (We ogle and thrive off of the images of women looking like beautiful unicorn fairy models after birthing humans. 🙄 whyyyyyy.) Not my usual look. But guess what? I made my husband take that picture because it was REAL. I felt victorious. I was probably in my weakest condition ever ever ever, yet I felt so strong. Society will look at the second picture (8 weeks Postpartum) and be offended. Omg stretch marks are you serious?! How embarrassing. 😑 (zoom in, I dare you!) I am so sick of people acting like stretch marks don't happen. Yes, some of you amazing ladies have been kissed by the angel of luck and managed to birth a watermelon without so much as a whisper of an imperfection, but I am not one of you. And most women aren't. Yet, it's so rare to see evidence that stretch marks exist. It's so rare, in fact, that we are forced to view them as ugly or uncommon. 😩Let's change that. I find them so bad ass and beautiful. Pregnancy and motherhood are no joke. We earned these. ⚡️ I'm grateful, so so so grateful for this body of mine, saggy skin and stretchmarks included. I can't wait for Presley to get older and for me to show those stripes off to her. (& tell her that I have them from growing her beautiful little soul inside me.) 🐯🐯🐯🐯🐯 I LOVE MY MOM BOD! #takingbackpostpartum #8weekspostpartum #fourthtrimester #babymomma #tigerstripes

A post shared by Ruth Lee (@baybayruth) on Jan 12, 2017 at 12:07pm PST

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