Mother documents REAL post-baby body to encourage other moms

"I am a mother. I am tired, broken and sore. I have lumps, bumps, marks and jiggly bits."

So begins the relentlessly honest blog by Dr. Julie Bhosale, a nutritional consultant and two-time mother from New Zealand. 

Across media and advertising, we're constantly confronted with pictures of celebrities who "get their body back" in record time after giving birth — or worse, body-shaming photos of those who don't manage that near-impossible feat. For the rest of us — without an army of nannies, personal trainers, and at-home chefs — postpartum reality is a little different. 

To spread the reality of what most women experience and to help normal mothers (and herself) not feel so alone, Julie decided to start an honest photo project after the birth of her second son. 

Over the 14 weeks after delivery, Julie photographed the often hidden and unspoken reality of birth and its effects on a woman's body.

"The body changes during pregnancy, extremely actually. It's scary, it's hard, and it can be downright disgusting and upsetting, but that's real and normal," she wrote.

The first pic shows her just 24 hours after the birth: "You can still look and feel like you have a watermelon (or two) inside you. It is often sort of lumpy and squishy too. I gave birth vaginally and it feels like a truck, not a watermelon, ripped through me."

Two days later Julie commented, "Everything leaks. I mean EVERYTHING. I am a mess of body fluid. I am wearing not one but two enormous maternity pads, inside granny panties to try and contain the postpartum bleeding. Golf ball sized blood clots keep coming out. I have to keep these to be inspected and make sure it is not part of the placenta. Where has my dignity gone?"

After two weeks: "I look a bit more alive… must have had a shower that morning. Tummy still swollen, shrinking but swollen. I am still bleeding, its like the period that never ends. Am out of my pjs, rocking pregnancy clothes instead (see you do get more than one use for those!!)."
And 14 weeks post birth, she's now officially out of the newborn phase:
"Feel less zombie and more human. I am left with the marks of motherhood. A tummy that appears 'flat' but has the stretch marks, the skin, the sunken scar and abs which have not yet healed. It's our best kept secret as mothers." 

But for all that, Julie has been abundantly rewarded: "I may never run a marathon again, don’t think my pelvic floor would survive, but I will run the parenting marathon day in and day out, my boys are so darn worth it — my god are they worth it!!"

For new mothers everywhere, this blogger has an important message:

"You may not look like the next Victoria's Secret Underwear model, but focus on how you feel. Be kind to yourself and your body, you will look like how you are meant to when you feel good. It may take some time. It took me a lot longer to feel good following the birth of my first son than this time around. Doing what is right for you and your family takes courage, takes strength and as a mother, you have both. Nourish and love from the inside out and do not forget: You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are a mother."

Revealing unedited photos and writing so openly about how motherhood really affects the body, Julie does a great service for men and women both, to show that it's perfectly okay and natural to give birth — and enjoy all the changes that come along with that incredible event!


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