Stephanie Reeder, brand new mom
"I'm pissed that they would ban this ad because the recovery is never talked about and it's been the very worst part for me. The ad is totally accurate. Not only are you exhausted and sleep-deprived, but the pain is unreal—every bone and muscle in your whole body is trashed. Then the stinging of pee and the absolute terror of trying to poop—which is still an issue for me, five weeks postpartum, by the way. Honestly, once baby is here, no one really cares about what mom is going through. No one wants to talk about the nitty gritty of childbirth. It's always been that way. This ad wasn't refused airtime because of nudity, it was refused broadcast because of patriarchal ideas of what women should look like."
Rhiannon, mother of three kids under 4
"Wow. That ad actually made me feel happy-sad! Just the rawness and honesty! I totally felt like that lady looks after birth. I couldn’t close my legs as I walked, so I shared her waddle. I bled a lot. I’m guessing she has hemorrhoids too. All I had were maternity pads and big [panties]. I thought I was ruined down there forever because it’s not something people talk about. I haven’t seen or heard of these products she’s using, which is probably because the adverts are banned and nobody talks about this! It’s certainly not sexy, but I don’t really understand why they’d stop someone from advertising these products. Probably because it makes men feel uncomfortable? It’s ridiculous. I suppose a network might think it would make its viewers uncomfortable and that might affect its ratings. But it wouldn’t make me feel that way—I find it strangely comforting."
Rachel Eling, mother of two
"In the first few days, going to the [bathroom] is terrifying. If you have stitches, or a small tear that's left to heal naturally, or even if things are just a bit—I don't know—sore because you just passed an eight-pound person through a very small passage, urinating feels like pouring acid on an open wound. Because essentially you're pouring acid on an open wound! And you're bleeding heavily for at least 6 weeks. Motherhood on screen is either dysfunctional and abusive, or nurturing and idyllic. On film—mainstream film and TV anyway—women's bodies are for sex, looking at and for killing. When Margot Robbie gets an Oscar nom for a film where she barely has any lines, we know that a woman's body is the most important thing about her—and that body had better not be leaking. Of course this isn't for Hollywood!"
Alexis Brooks, mother of one
"That ad is super accurate. I still have those mesh panties! I also bought Depends, based on recommendations. I have no idea why this ad would be refused airtime, other than the fact that she doesn't look perfect. American society is obsessed with sex but entirely unwilling to see a version of a woman in a minor state of undress that doesn't fit with what is broadly considered attractive. This amount of nudity is only considered vulgar if the woman doesn't look the way we want her to."
Rachel Roberts, mother of one.
"This is very realistic—the stitches and the feeling that your insides are about to drop right out through your vagina at any point. No one tells you about it. After birth, the nurse made me go and have a bath and I felt like I was going to die. I was just lying in this hospital bath bleeding, without my baby and terrified. Nothing can prepare you for that feeling of being scared to walk because of the pain, and the amount of blood loss. The truth is, it's actually really f--king messy and not cute in any way. I think it isn’t put out there because it ruins the ‘romantic' newborn baby thing."