Instagram vs. Reality: the Realities of Giving Birth

Our society likes to promise mothers that giving birth will be one of the most effervescently beautiful moments of their life.

Of course, there is so much beauty, wonder, and joy in having a child. But only pushing forth that singular narrative makes so many women feel like they’re not doing something right, or are going through this process entirely alone.

There is no doubt that becoming a mother changes who you are—and undergoing any type of transformation, even the kind you so completely want, comes fraught with pain, stress, and uncertainty that we cannot let go unspoken.

To celebrate and honor mothers this Mother’s Day, we talked with our mothers about the realities—and misconceptions—of giving birth, being postpartum, and navigating motherhood, and what they hope to see for the future of maternal health. 

Hallie and her mom, Jodi

“Even with the assurance of the doula, it was a lot of uncertainty and unknowns—and I didn’t have the faith or certainty that the doctor was looking out for me because they had so much dismissed everything I had said to them.” 

Watch their conversation here. 

Dorianne and her mom 

“I want to see the absolute best. Doctors who care, who have a personal interest in their patients. Not that they have to have a personal relationship with them but they least have to care enough to know them.” 

Watch their conversation here. 

Lark and her mom, Shannon

“I remember driving home from the hospital with your Dad and thinking, ‘I did not read a book for this point”. I felt I really knew everything about being pregnant and having the baby I thought, and then what do I do now that I have this baby.”

Watch their conversation here. 

Hilary and her mom, Rebecca

“We need to have the support like I had; do what’s best for you and your child and your family, and it will be okay. At that time when you’re vulnerable, you don’t need that much pressure put onto you.”

Watch their conversation here.

Fatima and her mom, Carol

“This is all difficult and hard—and if we acknowledge that and support it, and if we can let go of those really high expectations and say ‘It’s hard to be mom’. It’s okay, it’s really okay—you really should acknowledge it. Your body changes, your hormones, your brain, everything does.” 

Watch their conversation here.