This week, a photo of a mom on the toilet went viral — and it’s truly heartwarming.
Writer Jill Krause wrote a Facebook post on Sept. 13 to thank the postpartum nurses who helped her in the early days — hell, the early minutes — of recovery after childbirth. In the post, Krause shared a photo, taken by birth photographer Katie Lacer, of a nurse patiently showing her how to place ice (and likely, six or seven pads) into her mesh hospital-issue underwear.
The photo is beautiful and moving, but it’s Krause’s elegant, honest caption that pushed it over the edge into viral territory.
“I’ll never forget the faces of the nurses who followed me into the bathroom after delivering each baby,” Krause wrote in the post. “That moment when I was so vulnerable, so tired, scared, shaky. My swollen belly deflating, and my modesty long gone. They treated me with such kindness and dignity.”
“For me, these have been moments of empowerment and confirmation that I have a real village to help me,” Krause said of that bizarre, communal, precious time in the hospital. “Even if just for that little bit of time in a bathroom, on a toilet, while a kind nurse shows me how to put an ice pad on my mesh undies. This photo by my friend MommaKT Shoots just takes me right back. Like, I can smell the Dermaplast [sic]. Let’s hear it for the nurses and the doulas and anyone else who shows us how to make ice pad underwear (or helps with that first shower post c-section!)”
Let’s hear it, indeed. Because the weird and wonderful postpartum world — relearning how to pee, staring down panties lined with seven giant-size pads and accidentally bleeding all over the floor anyway — is tough enough as it is. It’s the nurses who make sure no mother has to face it alone.
Parents have been flocking to Krause’s post ever since it went live, sharing their own stories of post-birth drama and compassion alike.
One woman, Leigh Kathleen, commented: “When I was pushing, I’ll never forget pulling my face way from my nurse’s chest to see her scrub top SOAKED with my sweat and tears. I was like, ‘Oh my god I’m so sorry!’ And she said, ‘Baby, this is life all over my shirt. Nowhere else I’d rather be. Now let’s get that baby out.”
To all the nurses, doctors, midwives and doulas upon whom we birth mothers have snot-cried over the years: thank you. The smell of Dermoplast will always remind us of you — the people who held our hands as we morphed from pregnant to parent.