Nothing on earth—not parenting classes, not stories from friends and family, no amount of books or blogs—can truly, fully prepare you for what postpartum life is truly like. It's a highly emotional, intense, overwhelming period both internally and externally.
A new photo series by Modibodi (the popular period and leak-proof underwear brand) and Getty seeks to help validate postpartum women with snapshots of real postpartum experiences.
Postpartum Unfiltered is a library of raw images sharing real bodies, real moments and real milestones to help postpartum women feel seen. Because though every person's postpartum journey may look different, being postpartum is a universal experience for all birthing people. And everyone deserves to feel understood during this period—and beyond.
Postpartum bodies should be celebrated
We don't need to hide our stretch marks, our extra skin, our shifting weight, or our rounded bellies. And even if we feel a little insecure about our new physical appearance, our babies love everything about us. We created our children and sustained our children with our bodies, and all birthing people have that in common.
"When we were planning our new postpartum range, the only images we could find of the postpartum experience didn't reflect the full picture - we knew something had to change," explains Modibodi founder and CEO Kristy Chong. "This campaign continues our commitment to tackling taboos and starting conversations about women's health with care, compassion and empathy to help women prepare for the physical and emotional changes that accompany the post-birth period, and beyond."
Postpartum life is beautiful, but it's far from glamorous
And that's OK! It's not supposed to be. And because the barrage of new feelings that occur in the "fourth trimester" can be difficult to navigate—especially for a first-time mother—images like these help normalize what we're experiencing and feeling each day.
From the first moment our babies leave our bodies and beyond, Postpartum Unfiltered takes us through the journey of many mothers—it's in these images of different women that we can see ourselves.
Instead of perfectly posed family photos, these images actually represent real life. This is what feeding a newborn can look like, this is what balancing motherhood with more than one child can look like, this is what our bodies can (and do) look like.
This is new motherhood
These are real moments showing the lives of real mothers as they navigate their newest chapter of life.
Like Modibodi's site says, "birthing is just the beginning."
These are the images new mothers need to see—feeding, bathing, and just being.
The fourth trimester, also known as the first 12 weeks of being postpartum—is a time of immense physical and emotional change as mama and baby adjust to their new life. It's a time of great joy and also great vulnerability where new moms need all the support they can get.
Showing the realities of that new life—what it looks like and how it feels—is one way we all know we're not alone. And my goodness, do we all need that.