Ruth (@baybayruth) is a 25-year-old beauty blogger who gave birth to her first child in November of 2016. How. Freaking. Cute?!
Although Ruth had every intention of having a vaginal birth — she’d taken hours of birthing classes and read all the books on natural childbirth — things didn’t exactly turn out the way she’d expected. After what she describes as a 19-hour “traumatic labor” wrought with numerous complications — “I was in more physical and mental pain than I had ever been in my life,” she wrote — her doctors decided to perform a cesarean section that kept her in the hospital for four days. Ruth recently posted a photo of her postpartum stomach taken days after the procedure, which reveals stretch marks and a bandage covering the C-section incision:
“I’m posting this with tears in my eyes,” she wrote in her caption. See, while most moms end up with stretch marks after birth, and most women realize that c-sections — planned or unplanned — can leave their mark, Ruth wasn’t remotely prepared for the way pregnancy and delivery would change her body. “I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy,” Ruth wrote, “and when they photographed themselves poolside 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, ‘Wow! I hope that happens to me!'”
But she wasn’t quite as lucky: Days after giving birth, postpartum depression set in and she snapped the selfie above. “I couldn’t believe it was me,” she wrote.
Expecting her body to bounce back ASAP has made it extra difficult for Ruth accept her postpartum reality, one reason why she wants to set the record straight for pregnant women everywhere: “There are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. [They] might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough,” she wrote. “Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL.” Of course you don’t have to be pregnant to take that message and run with it.
Ruth has slowly come around to her postpartum body, in part because she got back to the gym as soon as she got the green light.
But Ruth still doesn’t want new moms, or any women, really, to compare their bodies to to hers: “It doesn’t matter what the super model on social media looks like,” she wrote in a post. “It matters that you beat the person in the mirror.” And that you never, ever beat yourself up for what you see there.
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