As the annual awards season comes to a close, we’d like to extend one more accolade: the most compelling—and badass—advertisement of the year to Frida Mom. While this ad—which shows a new mom hovering over the toilet, changing her bulky, postpartum pad, visibly exhausted and in pain—was originally published on YouTube last July, it’s recently gone viral since the company re-released it with a powerful statement tied to the Oscars. According to Frida Mom, both ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences refused to air the commercial. How come? It was considered too graphic for viewers. This definition is pretty expansive (and if you ask us, outdated) since it includes anything that is ‘violent, political, sexual, religious and/or lewd’ and portrays ‘guns, ammunition, feminine hygiene or hemorrhoid relief.’ All of these are banned subjects for primetime production.
However, if you watch it? You may feel uncomfortable—but not for yourself. You will feel empathy for the mom as she struggles to care for her newborn baby, while also recovering from the aftermath of childbirth. It’s messy, painful, exhausting, overwhelming and of course, beautiful, too. As mothers of all ages across the country caught a glimpse into this mom’s postpartum health journey, many had visceral, emotional reactions—being instantly brought back to that sleepless learning curve of becoming a parent.
And, like Frida Mom—they don’t want to be silenced. In fact, they want to see more vulnerable and candid commercials like this one that displays the realities of motherhood.
Here, their powerful voices unite.
“We need to acknowledge how hard it is.”
“We should all collectively acknowledge how much a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and after birth. Your body goes through this incredible transformation and makes another human being in a period of 10 months. A woman spends that time preparing herself, reading, doing her best to do all the things that keep her healthy during pregnancy. Then after the baby, the focus shifts right to the baby. We need to acknowledge how hard it can be for mom—and this ad shows that.” – Jen Brush, VP of Innovation at Cora. She became a mom in 2009 and now has two children, ages 10 and 6.
“Those mesh undies, fleshy bellies, and scars are real.”
“That ad was literally the only time I’ve seen such an authentic postpartum scene besides living my own experience in the weeks following the birth of our child. I didn’t cry because I was sad or upset, I cried because I felt this surprising sense of relief—like finally someone is showing this and it’s normal! We see so much content for new moms that’s filtered and glossed over. We have an insane amount of pressure on us to have ourselves together and take care of a new life with often little guidance. The reality is those mesh undies, fleshy bellies and scars are real. They are normal and they are OK. We are OK—and yes, you strong, lovely, brave mamas out there—you are going to get through the sleepless nights and your bodies will heal. Those crazy emotions will calm down. Beyond anything: you’re not alone.” – Anonymous. She became a mom in 2015 and now has a 5-year-old.
“Our society shuts down women.”
“Our society shuts up women, especially mothers, because, let’s face it, most of what happens to us day-to-day isn’t pretty—and the postpartum period is just that. It’s raw, it’s bloody, it’s painful, it’s emotional—it’s everything that we’re supposed to keep quiet about. When I was going through this period and dealing with my recovery while caring for a newborn, I was pretty surprised by how few inquiries I got from friends and family about how I was doing. Everything revolved around my baby—how cute she is, how happy I must be, and so on. Yes, I was so happy, but I was also healing and in a lot of pain. Everyone sort of expects moms to just snap back and deal with it. But if someone just had surgery, would you expect them to just ‘deal with it’? No…you would probably text them every day asking how they’re doing today and make them dinner and offer to help do things around the house that they can’t. It’s beyond me why our society acts like moms should just deal with it.” —Jenn Sinrich, freelance journalist. She became a mom in 2019 and her daughter is now 10 months old.
“Your body just went through the equivalent of a car crash.”
“There is nothing quite like those first few weeks postpartum, and if you haven’t experienced it, you can’t fully understand. Waking up at 2:30 a.m. to a screaming, hungry baby while you’re bleeding and leaking is the worst. I love my girls unconditionally, but that doesn’t take away how hard it is to be needed constantly by a tiny human who relies on you for survival—and your body just went through the equivalent of a car crash. Those sweet, Instagram worthy moments where you and baby are cuddled up are just that: brief moments. The bulk of your postpartum time is spent trying to poop (especially awful after a C-section when the anesthesia slows down your digestive tract and you’ve lost all ab muscles), trying not to bleed on your pants (mesh underwear plus a gigantic pad is the only solution, which makes you feel like your newborn isn’t the only one wearing a diaper), trying not to leak through your bra and shirt, trying not to cry all over your baby and your husband for the smallest thing (or for no reason at all)… all of this to say, I felt seen when I saw this ad. Those nighttime moments are incredibly private but should be celebrated for how strong women are. We are not the weaker sex. We are not dainty. We are strong.” —Jenn Barlow, youth minister. She became a mom in 2017 and now has two daughters, ages 2.5 years and 2.5 months.
“Watching this made me proud to be a mother.”
“I did not think I was missing anything by not seeing a commercial like this before. However, watching it made me proud of being a mother. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I would watch commercials like this without a problem. It helps other women to not feel so alone. Or even gives men and fathers perspective on what the mothers of their children go through. Giving birth is a miracle and women’s bodies are amazing, but there is definitely a healing process not frequently talked about. I was actually surprised to see nothing has changed. I felt acknowledged by watching that commercial. It was honest and real and honors what women go through.” – Jamie Werner, publicist. She became a mom in 2005 and her children are now 12 and 14.
“You are not alone.”
“When I first gave birth, I had no idea what to expect after the baby came out. I don’t remember anyone telling me anything about postpartum until birthing time. After watching the ad I remember thinking ‘Wow, what a realistic ad. Love the truth in it. I think this will help many women.’ Dear moms going through postpartum periods, you are not alone. You don’t have to feel ashamed about your postpartum period. It’s OK to take your time and be gentle with yourself for those 6-8 weeks after the baby is born. It’s OK to say no to visitors. It’s OK if you feel 100% one day and a hot mess the next.” —Karla Campos, founder of Mompreneur Center. She became a mom in 2001 and has three children, aged 11, 14, and 18.
“We need to normalize the postpartum period.”
“It brought back memories of trying to take care of a little fragile life while also trying to heal and recover myself. It was such an overwhelming and vulnerable time, and I remember wondering why it had to be so isolating and hard. It’s crazy to me that women have been giving birth since the beginning of time and we’re just now taking care of the moms. Just as important as the #normalizebreastfeeding movement, this is almost like a #normalizepostpartum movement! I had no idea what I was getting into postpartum because no one talks about it. Thank God for the very few mom friends I have that filled me in…and for Google searches (but don’t rely on those)! If more ads like this are aired, more women will feel less isolated and left to their own devices for figuring out their healing process. I cannot believe there is a single mom out there that’s had a beautiful, Instagram-worthy postpartum experience. The more we share the reality of postpartum, the more we can alleviate the stress and isolation, as well as help each other through this amazing, rewarding journey of motherhood.” – Maggie Jackson, founder of Rose Public Relations. She became a mom in 2018 and her son is now 17 months old.
“Erectile dysfunction is accepted—why is being a mom not?”
“I’d love to see more of the realities of motherhood—the joys and the challenges—normalized the way erectile dysfunction is. Seriously, moms are under a lot of pressure to be perfect. Wouldn’t we do better to acknowledge the very real complexity of motherhood? Wouldn’t we all feel a little better to know that we’re all in it together, pulling for each other, understanding each other, lifting each other up, during the good and the bad? Remember that while you’re learning to be a mama, there’s no one better equipped to be your baby’s mother than you (even when you feel totally incompetent). And prior to having your baby, make a plan for how you’ll get help if you feel like you might have postpartum depression. Encourage your friends and family to elevate any concerns they have to your partner if you’re partnered, and give your partner permission to be gently persistent with offering to help you. I wish I’d done that because I did have PPD, recognized that I was experiencing it, and yet couldn’t ask for help in a way that really made clear just how deeply sad I felt.” —Leslie Hobbs, founder of Grace Strategy Group. She became a mom in 2015 and her son is now 4 years old.
“New (and not new!) moms need to be seen and heard.”
“It’s the unspoken truth of what happens after giving birth and a conversation that new (and not new) moms need to see and hear, not be ashamed for. As women, our bodies are capable of bringing life into this world and we should be lifting every mom up and providing them with the amazing products that Fridababy offers. Because let’s be honest, if you used that bottle (and I did!), you know it’s amazing! Remember there are hundreds of thousands of women out there going through the same thing. Speak up and confide in those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t be ashamed of your body that gets you through every day and created the beautiful baby in your arms. It’s an emotionally short time but try and be gentle with yourself and take the time you need to recover as you’ll soon be looking back and wishing time would stop or slow down.” —Jennalee McIvor, vice president of LocaliteLA. She became a mom in 2019 and her son is 7 months old.
“It’s painfully accurate.”
“This ad is painfully accurate. I remember feeling tender for weeks and needing to wear those undies and pads for a lot longer than I imagined. But that’s one of the biggest issues as a new mom: you have no idea what to imagine or what postpartum is going to be like unless a girlfriend tells you. A friend passed on a long list of items for me to get, but I wasn’t even sure how or when to use them. I remember I bought a sitz bath but didn’t even use it until maybe a month in because I didn’t know I could and because I never felt like I had fifteen minutes to just sit and care for myself with a new babe. I appreciate how authentic this is. The bag of pads on the back of her toilet, the sprays, the overflowing trash can—it’s not a glamorous time so I’m glad they aren’t trying to say their products are going to make you feel better, but more so that yes, we understand your experience and want to make it easier.” – Ashley Peak, art director at Cora. She became a mom in 2019 and her son is now 14 months old.