Those first few days after giving birth can be pretty hazy, but there can also be some strong, beautiful moments as well. California-based sling company Sakura Bloom recently posted a glimpse of one of those moments, captivating folks and causing the photo to spread like wildfire.
Ohio mom Erica Andrews shared the photo of herself only 24 hours postpartum with her newborn, wearing only an “adult diaper” and her Sakura Bloom ring sling. Sakura Bloom shared the photo on its Facebook page, and it has since gathered more than 34,000 shares, more than 6,000 comments and hundreds of thousands of likes. It’s clear this picture speaks to many new parents.
Sakura Bloom owner Lynne Banach spoke with SheKnows about the popularity of the picture and why she thinks it’s resonating. “What’s so interesting about it for me is that we incorporate these types of images and stories into our feed often,” explains Banach. “There’s nothing new about us sharing real talk, breastfeeding, birth, nontraditional families, adoption and many other topics, because I believe in candor and honoring all families, no matter the type or where they are on their journey.”
Banach said that the immense outpouring of support surrounding Andrews’ photo is related to how this experience of birth and new parenthood is universal. The photo can also been seen as an antidote to all the images of perfection we’re frequently bombarded with.
“Social media in general has transformed into a magazine, sharing the glossiest version of people’s lives to the point where incorporating reality is no longer the norm,” Banach tells SheKnows. “This picture is raw, and the response is too, and I think that’s because we all relate to Erica’s feelings: the idea of being ‘tossed back and forth between happiness, gratitude, melancholy and grief’ is all part of the human experience. Many mothers have stood in Erica’s shoes and felt the same joy and turmoil in the exact same moment. She is all of us. I’ve been there, you’ve been there, and yet we don’t speak about it or share it. I think people want that to change.”
Beyond drawing more likes and traffic to the company’s site, Banach said the best reaction to this picture is the dialogue it has sparked. “It’s only been 24 hours since we posted this picture, and I think the most noticeable response is one in connection. Moms and dads and families are sharing this photo and then engaging with each other. I think the response is one of dropping the curtain and initiating real talk between us. We are all seeking community, so that’s No. 1.”
For Banach and the entire Sakura Bloom crew, the biggest takeaway from Andrews’ picture is that we need to stop living up to faux ideals of perfection and allow ourselves a little bit of slack as parents. “Those first few days, months, years of having your little ones can be incredibly challenging and isolating, and we owe it to one another and to ourselves to rise up as a community and support each other,” Banach says. “There is absolutely no reason why we should be making motherhood harder for ourselves or anyone else! Being authentic and supporting one another is the perfect example to set for our kids, so living that way is showing by example!”
If the comments on the viral photo are any indication, Banach is on to something. So many people saw themselves or their partners in it and appreciated this “real-life” glimpse into new motherhood. The subject of the photo commented as well, completely overwhelmed by the response. Andrews posted, “I can’t respond to all of you loving mamas, but your comments have moved me to tears, thank you for your love and welcoming my raw and honest words.”