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Frida Mom

There are few television events where the commercials matter almost as much as the show: The Super Bowl is one of them and the Academy Awards are another.

More than 20 million people are expected to watch the 92nd Oscars this Sunday, February 9, but they won't be seeing the commercial Frida Mom (a brand offering postpartum recovery products for new mothers) produced for the event.

Frida Mom says its commercial was rejected by ABC for being "too graphic."

The commercial begins with a baby's cry and a tired new mom turning on her lamp and rising from bed. She's wearing a tank top, mesh underwear and a large pad and is clearly still recovering from giving birth. She waddles to the bathroom with the pain of postpartum recovery and refills a peri bottle, a plastic squirt bottle that new moms use for toileting hygiene after giving birth.

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She's wincing, she's bleeding, she's in pain and she's very, very real.

And the Oscars said no to this ad. The reality of the postpartum experience is too graphic for the event. Motherly has reached out to ABC and the Academy Awards for a statement but has not yet heard back.


Chelsea Hirschhorn is the CEO of Frida and a mother of three. In a statement to Motherly, she explains: "We launched Frida Mom to prepare women for the physical transformation that coincides with a delicate transition into motherhood. Our products help women navigate the otherwise daunting postpartum recovery process. In service of that mission, we created a raw and honest portrayal of what women can expect to experience. We had hoped to share it with as broad of an audience as possible because knowledge is confidence, and a confident mother is a better, happier mother. We've made such substantial progress in advancing the conversation around postpartum recovery. While this rejection of our ad feels like a step back, it certainly won't deter us from amplifying our message through whatever channels remain available to us."

Companies pay millions of dollars for 30-seconds of airtime during the Oscars, and past years have seen ads from brands like Budweiser, Hennessy, Kinder Joy and Verizon.

In fact, last year one of Verizon's spots featured a birth story. The spot sees a mom standing in front of a plain white background describing how she was able to video chat with her husband, who was deployed overseas while giving birth to their son. She described how her husband (and his military colleagues) got to witness her birth thanks to Verizon's network, but those viewing the commercial don't see anything but a beautiful woman talking.

It seems that it's okay to talk about birth during the Oscars, but not to see the reality of what birth does to a woman.

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While it is the prerogative of ABC and the Academy Awards to say what is acceptable commercial content during their broadcasts, we would encourage these organizations to consider that postpartum recovery isn't "too graphic" for primetime.

In fact, the reality presented in the Frida Mom commercial is exactly what America needs to see right now. For too long we've been ignoring what recovery from birth is really like. And when we ignore how hard postpartum recovery is it is easier to normalize sending working moms back to their job within a few weeks of giving birth or forcing recovering mothers to resume unpaid labor by denying them support during this critical time.

It takes about six to eight weeks for the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. It takes weeks for a mother to stop bleeding. For some, it takes weeks before they can resume toileting without feeling the burn that that peri-bottle helps to soothe.

America needs to see this because we need to understand that a mother's body needs time to heal after birth, whether it was a vaginal delivery or a C-section.

As Diana Spalding, midwife and Motherly's Digital Education Editor and Birth Expert, has said, "You would never expect someone to clean their house a few days after having surgery, or to run errands when they are getting over the flu—so why do we expect ourselves to snap out of giving birth? Pregnancy and birth are not ailments, but they are the real deal. Be gentle on yourself, and allow your body to heal."

Too many moms don't get the time to heal. And it's time for America to see that. It shouldn't take an advertisement to make us confront this reality, but we're glad Frida Mom is telling this story (even if the Oscars won't).

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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