The hashtag #BirthJustHappened is being used on social media everywhere for post-birth pictures taken just minutes after delivery. We dare you not to well up.
When new moms post pictures of their newborn on Facebook, you don't always see the mother herself. It's usually just the little waterlogged wee one, swaddled in a striped hospital blankie, freshly eye-dropped eyes squinting at this strange new world. The mom stays out of the picture – maybe she thinks she looks too exhausted, too disheveled, too still-pregnant, not glam enough for social media.
But a new movement is changing that: #BirthJustHappened. The hashtag is being used for post-birth pics—real-deal photos taken just minutes or hours after delivery, showing parent and baby in all their sweaty, messy glory. The trend went viral when the grassroots Positive Birth Movement recently posted an article to its Facebook page about photographer Jenny Lewis' "One Day Young" project, which beautifully showcases women the day after childbirth to show the world they're "going to be okay...because all you ever seem to hear about are the things that can go wrong in labour." Women were so taken by the idea that they started spontaneously posting their own photos, and the movement was, well, born.
If you are feeling even the tiniest bit hormonal, be cautious about scrolling through these photos, as the unbridled joy and sense of power seen and felt in most of them is likely to leave you feeling weepy. Like the one pictured above, of Delaware's Stephanie Bonadio, moments after baby Sienna was born. (Love the man's response!).
Or this one, courtesy of Facebook, of mom Leonor and her second daughter. "My first daughter was born by emergency c-section in very traumatic circumstances for both of us. She is now 4 and healthy. This picture was taken just after my second daughter was born, this January. She was my healing HBAC [Home Birth After C-section]—I had wonderful support from 2...midwives (Alison was one of the wonderful midwives supporting me and is pictured), my doula (who took this picture), mum and husband. It was perfect! I could birth!":
Or this one of Tessa King who, moments before, had given birth to daughter Lola Kate on the kitchen floor:
Or this one of Emma Reid with her 10-minute-old son:
If you still have happy tears left to shed, check out The Positive Birth Movement's Facebook page for more gorgeous shots.
As "One Day Young" photographer Lewis, herself a mom, describes, "In those first 24 hours, it's like this warrior comes out in women. They gain this inner strength to protect the child and you can see it in the photos. They're like those heroic pictures of soldiers on the battlefield or the footballer after the match, still full of the adrenaline of achievement."
Most of the amateur #BirthJustHappened pics are of water births or home births, but that doesn't mean a C-section mamas or women with difficult labors don't deserve a shot. Here's a lovely example of a c-section #birthjusthappened image.
Hopefully these photos will help encourage pregnant women who may be anxious or fearful about delivery by showing them that once the pain of contractions and the trial of labor are over, the rewards—both physical and emotional—are worth it. And it's refreshing to see women not caring what they look like but instead celebrating what their extraordinary bodies can do. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to go grab a tissue...