Social media is filled with images that are supposed to show us what pregnancy, birth, and motherhood really look like. But often times, what we absorb constantly on the internet is a far-cry from reality, especially when it comes to any of those aforementioned things. Day after day, we take in a steady stream of perfectly filtered images, then we’re shocked when they don’t reflect our parenthood journeys in the slightest. And when it comes to labor and delivery, sometimes fear-based ideas can infiltrate how we view and think about giving birth, too. Ideas about get passed from TV and movies and into our subconscious. So between the picture-perfect photos that show us how perfectly we’re supposed to be doing motherhood (with our flat bellies only a few weeks after we give birth, no less!) and scary, fear-stoking portrayals of birth, how are we supposed to know what to expect, or feel comfortable with our all of our variations of normal?

We could stay away from social media altogether. Or, perhaps more helpful and manageable, we could strive to stay close to the truth-tellers. Not all social media accounts are out there to make us feel bad about ourselves or to instill fear. There are plenty that do the opposite: they show us what birth and postpartum really look like.

Here are a few:

1) The Badass Breastfeeder

 
 
 
 
 
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Take a scroll through this IG and you’re likely to find images of beautiful postpartum. But it’s not all a cake-walk. The Badass Breastfeeder gets real about why breastfeeding is so badass: because it’s hard! This account is filled with images, struggles and sage advice about breastfeeding your baby. 

 

2) Fourth Trimester Bodies

 
 
 
 
 
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This gorgeous account is a body positive photo series accompanied by mother’s stories. The images and the words reflect what real bodies look like during postpartum, as well as what real motherhood feels like. No, it’s not those “bounced back” Hollywood bodies we see constantly. And it’s not perfect motherhood. It’s all the hard and beautiful things we’re taught to hide. It’s real life. #StopCensoringMotherhood

 

3) Natalie Lennard

 
 
 
 
 
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London-based artist Natalie Lennard’s account is definitely worth a follow. Her Birth Undisturbed series is fictional, yet her goal with her art is to show women owning their power. The pictures are so life-like, it will be hard to tell what’s real and what is stage. But either way, the images show varied experiences of giving birth and an array of powerful birthing people. Lennard also highlights images from her own (real) birth undisturbed, too.

 

4) Birth Without Fear

 
 
 
 
 
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If there’s one account you should not neglect, it’s Birth Without Fear. Founder January Harshe has made her career out of helping women to overcome deeply ingrained thoughts, fears and beliefs about childbirth. Her IG is sprinkled with beautiful, real life images, stories, and evidence-based facts about birth that any person who is about to give birth would benefit from seeing.

5) Empowered Birth Project

 
 
 
 
 
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Another account that strives to show the realities of birth and postpartum, Empowered Birth Project hopes to “heal through storytelling.” It emphasized women having respectful births where consent is always at the forefront, an important lesson for any birthing person to be.

6) Take Back Postpartum

 
 
 
 
 
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It’s all in the name. This account which focuses on the realities and the beauty of the postpartum experience helps to shed light on the true stories of early motherhood. While so often, women are told to get back on their feet, this account emphasizes the importance of going slow and basking in the motherhood experience. While society demands so much of mothers, Take Back Postpartum is about slowing down and claiming our experiences, our bodies and our babies, especially in those early days, weeks and months.

7) Lori Bregman

 
 
 
 
 
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This account, run by a birth doula, author, and wellness coach has nearly 20k followers and for a good reason. It’s really about birth, postpartum and motherhood. Bregman uses her inspirational words, photos, and memes to share an important aspect of what it is to birth not only a baby but a mother. She focuses on wellness and her beautiful, positive, yet the real account is like a breath of fresh air. Or a whiff of a newborn baby’s head. Heavenly!