For too long, new moms' postpartum lives have been a rare topic of discussion.
It was considered taboo to talk about anything other than how absolutely elated you were to bring new life into the world.
Thankfully, women like Ruth Lee are breaking down these outdated barriers and sharing the real, and sometimes inevitable, struggles that come with new motherhood.
Lee, 25, gave birth to baby Presley back in November 2016.
Two weeks ago, in a raw, honest Instagram post, she shared a picture of what her stomach looked like just a few days after welcoming her newborn into the world.
Lee always knew she wanted to have a natural childbirth. She spent the entirety of her pregnancy preparing for that fateful day, reading every book she could on the subject, taking pre-natal classes, going to the gym and using "every kind of stretch mark prevention."
But, as the saying goes, life doesn't care about your plans.
She wrote in the post,
I STILL ended up with a traumatic labor, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks and unfortunately, the inability to breastfeed long term.
Not only was Lee overwhelmed by the unexpected turnout of her birth, but she now had to grapple with her new body and self-image.
At the time she took the picture of her stomach, Lee was just beginning to notice the signs of her postpartum depression.
Speaking on the condition of her post-baby body, she said,
I couldn't believe it was me. I'm sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy or not good enough.
Lee wants other women to know it's OK to feel like you can't bounce back right away after giving birth. It's OK to need a little time and help from others.
Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone. Comparison the thief of joy. Don't let social media taint your view of what is beautiful, what is REAL. And above all, know that if you are struggling, I am here. I have an open inbox or (if you actually know me) an open door.
Lee continues to share side-by-side pictures on social media, showing her body before and after giving birth in an effort to promote body positivity for new moms everywhere.