Why this super-honest photo of a new mom and her baby is going viral

Being pregnant is a whirlwind. Your body goes through so many changes, and you’re so excited to have life growing inside of you, but simultaneously nervous to bring that life into the world — all on top of waves of hormones. And that’s all before the baby even arrives.

Earlier this month, Phoenix mother Danielle Haines posted a picture of herself on Facebook from last year, when she was having an incredibly difficult and challenging day. She had given birth to her newborn son, Ocean, just three days earlier, and she was struggling to cope with the physically and emotionally demanding challenges of new motherhood:

One of her sisters, Sarah Carter, came over and comforted her, telling her, “I’ve been right where you are.” Then, she snapped a picture of her because she looked “so raw and beautiful.” “She looked incredible,” Sarah told KPHO. “She had the new-mom glow, the nervousness, the excitement. There’s so much that comes with it and she embodied that in that moment and she was beautiful to me.”

In the picture, she was holding Ocean to her chest, but her eyes were filled with tears — a heartbreakingly honest depiction of what so many new moms face.

Initially, Danielle shared the photograph on a private Facebook group of women in a birthing class she’s teaching. “I got on later, I saw 40 shares took place,” Danielle, who’s studying to be a midwife, told KPHO. “I thought that was pretty great. I think the next thing was like 5,000.”

The picture has since racked up thousands more shares, with dozens of moms commenting expressing their support and sharing their own experiences with the postpartum rollercoaster. “Kind of the overwhelming response was thank you for sharing this, I felt very similar or I felt the same,” Danielle told KPHO. “I never felt like I had someone to talk to, I felt very alone, so I think it resonates for a lot of people because we’ve probably all been there.”

There are so many expectations attached to motherhood, but the totally common emotional struggles of being a new mom are rarely discussed. The assumption can be that if you’re not glowing and 100% thrilled after giving birth to your new child, you’ll be judged as unfit for your new role. However, the reality is that millions of new moms all over the world experience a complicated well of emotions after giving birth, and it’s something that needs to be talked about more.

“Just feed the pregnant moms, reach out to your friends and be there for them,” Danielle told KPHO. “That’s what I had and it was amazing to be witnessed through it.”

Thanks, Danielle, for bravely putting yourself out there and starting an absolutely essential conversation.

(Image via Facebook)


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