"This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow. My body feels like it ran a marathon and my heart is wide open from yesterday's travels. Birth opens us like an earthquake opens the earth and I am still in the intimate, fragile throes of that opening. I feel raw. Emotional. Different. I feel like I'm on the undulating surface of the rippling ocean being tossed back and forth between happiness, gratitude, melancholy, and grief. 23 hours ago I held life within and 24 hours ago I surged and transformed allowing life to flow through me, into my waiting hands. The emptiness in my womb brings a heavy feeling crashing into reality but then this new little life whimpers, searching for the breast with soft rooting, and I feel whole again. I am still processing the beautiful transition my whole family has traveled through and I am in complete awe of our strength as humans, women, and mothers. This time is simply unlike any other."
Since being posted on Tuesday, the now-viral breastfeeding selfie has been shared more than 33,000 times, and liked more than 126,000 times. Close to 7,000 people have left comments, most of them blown away by this honest motherhood moment.
I too am left in awe of this photo, but what I see most there is beauty. Because the first day with a new baby is such a sacred, beautiful time, it deserves to be photographed, in all of its rawness. Why should we airbrush and Photoshop away the most deeply human experience there is?
I also love what Andrews confesses about her emotions, which any new mom knows are so all over the place following birth. Her poetic expression of what she is feeling truly makes me feel like I'm reliving those moments with my own babies. Thank you to Erica for so bravely sharing your deeply moving image and words!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.