Can we talk about childbirth for a minute? It’s hard. Really hard. Whether you give birth in a meadow with butterflies and singing deer, or in an operating room, or anywhere, it’s really fucking hard.
When I gave birth to my first kid, I was a leaking, sagging mess. Instead of underwear, I wore these stretchy, net-like thingies with the biggest pad I had ever seen — basically a diaper — tucked inside. My breasts looked like Beyonce’s ass. And because I had lost an insane amount of blood, I was whiter than a sheet of paper.
Plus, there was this baby that looked more like Lord Voldemort than I wanted to admit. I kept looking around for the responsible adult to take care of her, but — oh, shit — that person was supposed to be me.
Whether it’s your first baby or your tenth, childbirth is really, really, really hard.
And you know what makes it worse? How women are dissected over every bit of minutiae regarding how we give birth, how we look doing it, and, most of all, how soon “we get our bodies back.”
Because here’s a PSA, moms: We actually HAVE our bodies. All the time. We don’t need to “get them back,” because we’ve had them all along: Before we got pregnant, while our belies grew all big and gorgeous, and afterward, too. Those bodies may now be shaped a little bit differently — softer, stretchier, more yielding — but they’re still our bodies. There is literally nothing we need to “get back,” so let’s drop that phrase, OK?
I realize I might sound angry. And you know what? I am angry. Here’s why: You may have heard by now that a new member of the British royal family born yesterday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, a boy, is now fifth in line for the throne.
So, naturally, a lot of people are talking about mama Kate Middleton right now. But instead of focusing on the fact that she brought new life into the world, they’re talking about… wait for it… how she looked.
And I agree with so much of the internet: She looked beautiful, wearing them heels, hair all did. And good for her. That’s her choice. (And if it wasn’t exactly her “choice,” she knowingly signed up for a very public lifetime role.)
I, for one, did not look that way in the hours after childbirth. I was a hot mess, and some days I still am.
But here’s what gets me: It seems that everyone has an opinion on how she looked — and one op-ed went so far as to say the way she looked isn’t normal.
Well, screw that. Because you know what? THERE IS NO NORMAL. All bets are off when you’re giving birth.
After all, anything can happen — and while science is great, and medicine is great, and while we have been doing this for thousands and thousands and thousands of years, and blah blah blah, let’s be real: We are lucky to get that baby out alive and screaming.
Do not lose sight of that.
So if you just had a baby, and you want a blowout and some lipgloss, and you feel like mugging for the camera? God bless you.
And if you want to sit in a room by yourself and your baby, and maybe your partner or your best friend or mother or whoever? God bless you.
If you want to walk the floors of the hospital in Spanx the day after? God bless you.
If you want to sit naked on a pack of ice in a bathtub? God bless you.
You just had a baby: God bless you.
We need to stop caring what other mothers do. We need to stop talking about it and judging it. If a woman has just had a baby, the only words out of our mouths should be: “Congratulations! How can I help?”
So give Kate a break. Give every other mother a break. And give yourself a break, too.
— InStyle (@InStyle) April 23, 2018