Too real, too graphic. Too harsh to watch.
All said about a postpartum ad rejected by the Oscars. The ad shows a mother struggling to get up in the middle of the night for her crying, hungry baby, then going to the bathroom and dealing with a pad and peri dish.
Why is it too harsh to watch? Because of expectations, I gather.
New motherhood is portrayed as magical, when in reality that’s far from what new mothers feels like 99.9 percent of the day and night.
We see celebrities standing on hospital steps and waving, big smiles on their faces, hours after pushing an eight-pound baby out of their bodies.
I remember a picture of Chelsea Clinton waving happily in front of the hospital with her new baby. Nothing but smiles. Kate Middleton did it several times. Yet, recently she spoke about how isolating those first few months and years felt. This from a woman who has all the support and money to make it better.
We’re guilty of creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves and other women. I raise my hand, I’m guilty. I go into celebration overdrive when I hear a woman is expecting. Is it up to me to share what I know? Not unless I’m asked, but choosing to share only the magical when there is so much more is wrong.
That’s why this ad hit a nerve. This is what we should show young women, more of this. A lesson in reality. This is what new motherhood really looks like – never mind the product promoted.
Most comments I read on the ad are supportive with a large number of women saying, no one ever told me what to really expect. Because most people behave the way I do when I see a pregnant woman. Because reality makes us cringe.
But reality is what cuts through the feeling of isolation. The feeling of embarrassment and loneliness. Because, excuse me but it’s difficult to discuss bowel movements and bleeding and bloating and pain with just anyone. Reality is what makes a young mother feel like she’s not alone. That it’s okay, even though when it happens, it feels like it will never be okay again. It’s not easy, not pretty. We understand. We felt what you feel. Every bit of it.
Take note, prepare. Have an honest conversation with yourself and others. If asked, tell a soon-to-be mom the truth and point her to this ad.
No false expectations.
Images: google, bloodandbaby