Autumn Benjamin and Kevin Vance welcomed their first child into the world earlier this year, a beautiful baby girl named Layla.

But as Benjamin honestly wrote on Facebook, the aftermath of becoming a parent isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.

Sharing a photo from two days after she gave birth, Benjamin wrote:

I’ve debated on this post for a while but I’ve decided that I’d show the hard parts of the aftermath of giving birth, and the ultimate sacrifice that mothers make from day one.

As the new mom described on Facebook, she was eating the “nice meal” the hospital provided for her after birth. In the photo you can see Benjamin rocking “big mesh panties and still sporting a pregnant belly.”

The photo shows a woman still trying to figure out the new territory she was just thrown into and learning how to breastfeed her baby girl. She wrote:

No one told me your belly doesn’t go down immediately. No one told me I’d be bleeding out. No one told me that I would spend hours crying and full of emotion. I remember just laying there in the hospital bed crying. I was crying because my babygirl was finally here… FINALLY! But wait, that means she isn’t protected inside of me anymore. And that’s a scary feeling. 

At what point, I think Kevin was at a loss. I realized that when I was being held by him in the hospital’s shower and I was just crying uncontrollably. It’s all a blur but I do remember saying “she’s not safe inside of me anymore” and that was a really hard thing to work through. 

I was also in so much pain.. no one tells you that typically with a “quick delivery” comes a bad rip. I ripped all the way up and down, and also side to side. The weeks following I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the bathroom. I wore these big depends diapers. I never thought I would be normal again. Kevin had to help me do EVERYTHING from pee, to walk up stairs.

As Benjamin continued, “being a mom is the ultimate sacrifice.” Yet, despite the many sacrifices women are required to make in order to become a mother, the new mom said it’s all been very worth it: 

You give up your body for 9 months to grow this little baby. 
You go through labor and delivery. 
You go through the emotions that come with childbirth. 
You let go of all shame as you walk around your house in diapers and ask your SO to spray warm water on your rip while you pee to avoid that burn. 
You spend tireless hours latching your baby and feeding your baby to establish and keep up your milk supply because you want to breast feed so. damn. bad. 
You remain patient through leaps, growth spurts, and cluster feeding. 

But most importantly, moms give up who they were before they were a mother. Most moms give up a lot of their hobbies, dreams, and plans. Moms put their lives on hold so their babies can live out theirs. We deal with so many emotions that we internalize, just so we can be mothers to our babies.

Don’t ever discredit a mother. You don’t know the half.

Benjamin’s Facebook post has garnered over 110,000 shares and hundreds of comments.

Autumn Benjamin

She told Dearly that the response has been “overwhelming.” She has taken solace in all of the other mothers who have reached out to her, saying that they experienced the same things after giving birth. She explained:

“When I was going through that in the hospital, I thought something was wrong with me. But it turns out I was just going through the motions that almost every mama out there goes through.”

Benjamin told Dearly that she’s “completely in awe of all the incredible women who are sharing their stories” with her:

“I’ve spent a lot of time scrolling through all the comments to personally acknowledge all these women. My inbox has been overflowing with love, support, and many of thanks! I’ve had a lot of really negative comments that I’ve seen, I’ve had men tell me to suck it up, that I did nothing special and that I should stop “complaining” but those comments are being completely drowned out by the outpour of love I’ve received. For each negative comment, there’s an army of women behind me ready to take a stand for someone they don’t even personally know, and I find that to be incredible. Motherhood is an amazing thing.

I couldn’t have had the courage post this if I hadn’t have joined a postpartum depression support group on Facebook. I’ve seen and spoke to a lot of struggling women. Although they are struggling, they need to realize they inspired something great inside of me. To share a very vulnerable thing that ended up going viral.

I am a voice for those who are too scared to speak. I am a voice for those who feel alone. I just want to bring awareness and talk about the real stuff, because no one else is.”

Benjamin said the best advice she could give a new mother going through the same emotions she experienced after giving birth: Do your best to “just enjoy it.”

Autumn Benjamin

She said:

“It’s okay to get frustrated, it’s okay to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing at times, everyone will tell you as woman it should come naturally. Some people will make you feel like frustration makes you a bad mother but that’s not how it is, and it’s completely normal and okay to lose yourself in being your kiddo’s mother.

As the time goes on, I’ve only discovered myself more and more. Being Layla’s Mama is a title that I don’t take lightly. Mama is one of the most incredible titles a mother can have considering there is so many words being it. Protector, teacher, cuddle buddy, best friend, therapist. So many words behind being a mama. Mamas are warriors, and the sacrifices they make for their children aren’t taken lightly.”

It’s been extremely helpful that she has an incredible support system in “Layla’s daddy,” who has been her rock through all of this.

Benjamin said this mama used to be a “fun loving, crazy, outgoing woman” named Autumn. Now she “Layla’s mama”— and she is totally okay with that.

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