Mom's 'raw and beautiful' postpartum photo inspires others to share their stories

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/ Source: TODAY
By Alexandra Zaslow

Three days after giving birth to baby Ocean last November, Danielle Haines took a photo while breastfeeding that has now led mothers all over the world to share their own experiences with postpartum.

"I was overwhelmed and feeling all kinds of emotions I didn't expect to feel," Haines told TODAY.com.

The 34-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, took to Facebook to share her story, and opened the discussion up by asking mothers to tell their own stories.

"I was so raw and so open," Haines wrote in the emotional Facebook post and photo that has been shared more than 22,000 times. "I loved my baby, I missed his daddy (he went back to work that day), I was mad at my mom, my heart hurt for my brother because my mom left us and now I had a little boy that looked like him. My nipples were cracked and bleeding, my milk was almost in, my baby was getting really hungry, I was feeling sad that people kill babies, like on purpose, I had not slept since I went into labor... I was kinda loosing my mind."

Within hours, she heard from hundred of moms. Shannon D. Matwick Gomez wrote, "Thank you for sharing this part of motherhood. Raw open and beautifully crazy. I didn't even recognize myself pp. Then I had to get to know not only my baby but myself."

"This is so so beautiful. Seriously, I felt exactly the same way and I wish more people talked about it because it's so unexpected. You feel so guilty for thinking, "what have I done?" even though you love that baby so hard. And yes to the nether regions and the tears and the mom angst. Thanks so much for this post. Posting my PP pic," Julia Yeager-Archer wrote.

Lisa Compton wrote, "Powerful picture. Brings me back to my first ever postpartum. Intense and without words back then. It's incredible to hear your words for describing your first experience and it makes me so deeply grateful for the powerful work being shared in the creative force of motherhood."

Haines says she wouldn't have been able to get through the emotional time without the help of Medicine for Mamas' Seven Sister Program, as well as the midwifes who made frequent visits to her house to check in on her.

Being a student midwife herself, she knows the importance of getting the help you need.

"Whether it's through a professional or a close family member or friend, we need to be able to communicate our emotions and feelings," Haines said.

After seeing how big of an impact this photo had on mothers everywhere, she and a few other moms created a Facebook page called "Postpartum Confession," which serves as an outlet for moms to share their photos and stories.

"I want women to know that it's ok to be vulnerable and to be emotional," Haines said. "Just ask for help, you have no idea how much it will ease your pain."