Sunday, April 3, 2011

You, too, can have a glamorous delivery day!

Most of the time, I’m thrilled to be parenting in the age of the social network. I can ooh and ahh over faraway friends’ baby pics, commiserate with my online mom pals when I’m having a bad day, and get great advice on everything from potty training to pacifiers from experienced moms I know and trust.

But then I saw this news story about how half of new moms are now primping in the delivery room, because they know their birth photos will be all over Facebook within hours. Another article offers “pointers for a glamorous delivery day:” get a blowout, bring lipgloss and mascara, and if necessary, flatiron your hair between contractions (I wish I were kidding about that one).

Of course, celebrities lead the way when it comes to post-partum perfection, putting even more pressure on the rest of us regular moms. Earlier this weekend, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe debuted her days-old son Skylar, looking as meticulously made-up as a runway model (and just about as thin, too).

Now, I’m all for looking and feeling your best. Every expectant mom deserves unlimited mani/pedis, massages, and as much pampering as she can get, especially in her ninth month, when she feels about as attractive as a beluga whale.

But in the delivery room? Flatironing between contractions? Seriously?

Does living in the social networking era mean that new moms don’t even get a few hours off from the pressure to be glamorous, thin, and camera-ready? Don’t we get a day to revel in the joy of motherhood without worrying about the perfect blowout?

If there were ever a time to let go of the need to be viewed as an object of desire, it’s in the delivery room. (You are desirable--that's how you got knocked up in the first place, remember?) Moms who’ve just given birth are beautiful, period. It doesn’t matter if they’re sporting a designer hospital gown or false eyelashes or whatever else they packed in their delivery-day makeup bag.

And flatironing during labor--come on. Those things get up to 400 degrees. If they came with comprehensive warning labels, I'm pretty sure DO NOT USE WHILE ATTEMPTING TO PUSH OUT A BABY would be warning number one.

I know many people out there will disagree with me, and say that they deserve to feel pretty, that they want to look back on photos of themselves looking gorgeous on this monumental day in their lives.

OK, fine. But I still think it’s sad. If our culture recognized birthing women as the beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring beings that we are, maybe we wouldn’t feel as much pressure to look like supermodels in the delivery room.

Maybe we’d realize that this special day should be about bringing a new life into the world, not broadcasting a primped, beautified vision of perfection to the world. Maybe we’d view flushed faces and tired eyes and sweaty hair as badges of honor. Because they are.

Maybe it’s not realistic. But, for the sake of new families everywhere, I honestly hope the pressure to be glamorous doesn’t overshadow the real beauty of giving birth.

Me on Mia's birthday. Makeup-free, decidedly untrendy, and happy beyond words.


Karen said...

So absolutely true!!

Lil mama Karen said...

Love it.
Your picture says it all with out the fluff.
I will have to dig through my stack of picture CDs and find my makeup-free-glowing-just-had-a-baby pictures.
The last thing going through my mind while pushing was 'I sure hope I look good'. It was more along the lines of 'get this baby out'.

sandra.kimmet said...

You are so right! I had a glamorous delivery and I am sure I looked horrible! I never even tought about fixing my hair, let alone make up. What a strange world we live in!

Amy said...

Should I even admit it? I rushed and did my makeup for both babies. Very light makeup for my c-section with the first one (they told me none) and regular makeup with my vbac on the 2nd one. Oddly enough I just looked at my birth photos of #2 before reading this and I was thinking I was glad I had makeup on! I do not look anywhere as pretty as you, Malia, without makeup. People always think I have the flu or something! So - yes, one of my first thoughts after my water broke both times was "I better shower and do my makeup!"

Malia said...

Thanks for the comments! It's interesting to see the different perspectives. A little beautification can be a wonderful thing--and I'm no stranger to mascara, lipgloss, or Sephora. :) I just wish that moms didn't need to be close-up ready ALL the time. But I guess that really is the world we live in. Sigh.

Williams Family said...

Ah, this post made me cry. Beautiful entry Malia....thank you!

truf said...

I have to say that while I am in full agreement with you and this entry, I feel compelled to say thanks to your friend Amy for her honesty and the courage it took to be honest. It made me stop and think beyond myself for a moment, as with all things in life, if we weren't constantly judging each other and living lives of comparison maybe, just maybe, we would all be happier, healthier and living out and cherishing the "real" meanings of life without material and petty interferences of "how to keep up with the Jones'"!

Mom2Miles said...

Flat-ironing between contractions?! What the...? What is WRONG w/ those people?! I would like to assume they are the type who idolize people like Rachel Zoe. Me? I want to run out and do the exact opposite of what she's doing! (Although I DID brush my hair and put on lipgloss for my 1st postpartum pic!) You & your baby girl look gorgeous!

Leah said...

I began the day before with make-up on, does that count? But between the laboring hours of 3:45pm and 10:02am (the next day)I have to say I ended up looking like Jabba The Hut with black eyes...not even kidding! Oh well, I hope for baby number two I get to be one of the moms smiling before and after dilvery. Don't get me wrong, I was/am over-joyed with my new blessing but I needed a bit to pull myself together!

Malia said...

Thanks, Mom2Miles! Maybe if my girls had been a little more courteous and not make their mom labor through the entire night (24 hrs for B, 12 hrs for M) I'd have had the presence of mind to at least run a brush through my hair. Oh, well. It's the gorgeous baby that everyone looks at anyway.