Those first few photos after the birth of a child are usually beautiful: Mom and baby's first meeting, a shot with dad and baby's siblings.
But the story behind the smiling photos is sometimes not so picture perfect. One mom's Instagram post about the pain she experienced postpartum is as real as it gets.
"It hurts to use the restroom," Luci Wormell, a mom of three from San Tan Valley, Arizona, wrote. "It hurts to walk less than a few feet away. It hurts because of the contractions that are still there even after your baby is out. It hurts and it’s so painful. And sometimes you feel like you have to hide all of that hurt so people don’t misunderstand and think you’re ungrateful."
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POSTPARTUM. The part no one really talks about. No, not PPD, but the recovery. The moments, minutes, & hours after delivery. It’s a moment filled with happy tears, celebration of a new life, & pure magic bringing a baby into the world. It’s also a moment filled with painful tears because it hurts to use the restroom. It hurts to walk less than a feet away. It hurts because of the contractions that are still there even after your baby is out. It hurts & it’s so painful. And sometimes you feel like you have to “hide” all of that hurt so people don’t misunderstand & think you’re “ungrateful.” I finally cried last night because I couldn’t get through another contraction without doing so. I cried last night because I’m traumatized having to sit down & pee (it hurts). I cried last night because I felt weak & broken down. I called my husband at 1 in the morning (he’s home with the kids). I just wanted to cry because of all the pain my body was going through. “It is so much harder this time around & I don’t know why. I don’t remember postpartum being like this. It hurts so much.” He might not completely understand the level of pain I am in but he was able to hear it in my voice. The human body is amazing. But the woman’s body is beyond amazement. We go through so much in our pregnancy, then again during & after birth. We should be proud of ourselves for being so strong — strong enough to bring life into this world. Strong enough to be given the title, “mom/mother/mama.” Crying & talking about how hard postpartum is doesn’t make us ungrateful beings, it makes us HUMAN. This is the truth, the reality of childbirth. We sacrifice our body because of someone we love. That someone calls us “mom.”
Wormell told "GMA" the picture was taken the day she was to be discharged from the hospital. And that, that even though the photo wasn't "pretty," she thought to herself: "I want to document this.”
"After I took a shower that morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize myself. I looked beat-up," said Wormell.
She is grateful for her three-week-old baby, Emmett and her two other children Owen, 3 and Chloe, 2. But Emmet's delivery was hard, she told "GMA," harder than the other two.
"Everything about the pregnancy was different," she said. "The minutes and hours after I delivered felt different. I was in a lot of physical pain compared to my other two births. People kept telling me, 'the more kids you have the worst it gets,' and oh boy, it is so true. The contractions while breastfeeding was the absolute worst."
Wormell posted the photo to Instagram, she said, to let other moms know "they are not alone. Those first few days are hard. And there’s going to be a lot of unexplained tears, that’s okay. Let them all out. Take all the time you need to heal and take it easy. Ask for help, don’t let your pride get in the way of asking for help and being vulnerable."
The comments on the post were full of gratitude.
"I felt honored that people felt safe and comforted in reaching out to me who is a random stranger on the internet," she said. "It’s been three weeks since that post and I still receive messages daily. I know not everyone’s birth experience and postpartum recovery will be the same but I believe a majority of women can raise their hand and say, 'I am so grateful for my child but it wasn’t easy.”'