It’s 9:12am on a Saturday. I just nursed my 15 week old and put him down for a nap. My four-year-old is watching Cat in the Hat with my husband in our bedroom. I steal away to the bathroom for a quick shower and a few moments of solitude on my phone. That’s when I saw the Frida Mom ad that one of my friends reposted to their stories.
This ad. This. They didn’t get to this ad by way of an elaborate strategy or assessing analytics. Oh hell no. This is a real life glimpse into the postpartum experience, that could only have been created by someone who has been through it and knows exactly what it’s like. It’s real. It’s raw. They decided to just put it out there, this part of motherhood. No big concept, no special effects, no glamour. Just a real, honest moment.
Is it pretty? No. Is it hard to watch? A bit, yes. But it’s the type of ad that we as women need out there. I watched it and have to say that I’ve never related more to an ad. Ever. I teared up. I’ve been there, this exact moment. The mesh undies, the padsicles, the amount of time it takes for just one bathroom trip. As a mom who has just recently gone through this, I’ve never felt more understood.
And for it to be banned from airing during the Oscars, is just an absolute shame. We don’t prepare new mothers enough for what postpartum looks like. I remember after I had my first baby. You focus so much on what birth is going to be like - from taking classes to reading birth stories online. You go into the delivery room feeling like you have a pretty solid idea of what might happen, what could happen. But then you have the baby and it’s like "WTF?!" No one prepares you for what really goes on "down there," or what that first trip to the bathroom is like. It’s painful, it’s scary, and it’s hellah not pretty. But it’s reality.
When my friends prep for their first child, sure I’ll offer up registry item suggestions, but what I always send - and feel is much more important - is a list of items you need for postpartum, and what to physically expect. Every time I send the list, I get a bewildered reply of "What?! Is this for real?!" It’s real, and the Frida Mom ad is a perfect slice of a non-sugar-coated reality.
As advertisers, we can and should do better with shining a light on the real, the unsexy, the honest -- because it’s so very important that we don’t only present glossy truths that people will then think are the norm. We shouldn’t spread stigma and shame, we should be informing and empowering. It’s an absolute shame that ABC banned this ad from the Oscars, but hopefully in doing so it will get even more of the attention that it deserves. Bravo Frida Mom.
Carissa Mak is a creative director at Connelly Partners.