The Royal Family announced not to long ago that their princess was born. Within 10 hours of delivery we see the Duchess Kate and her prince walk out of the hospital doors and into a car where they will drive to a more secluded area.
Already my Facebook news feed is blowing up with comments about how Kate looks.
"That isn't how you look after your birth a baby. She looks TOO nice for such an occasion."
"This is not how I looked 10 hours after I gave birth."
"She looks fabulous! I wish I look like that when I take home my baby."
The arrival of this celebrity child and comments made of her mother's appearance made me remember how I looked.
My daughter was born at 2:00 a.m. On. The. Dot.
We didn't sleep very long after she was born. The nurses tried to encourage us to sleep but I didn't want to take my eyes off my beautiful child whom I worked so very hard to bring into the world. It was the adrenaline of it all.
At 7:00 a.m., a nurse came in to tell us that a photographer wanted to take photos to build his portfolio. For quite some time, the maternity ward wouldn't allow photographers to visit after a birth. They finally made the exception to allow one and he needed to advertise his new VIP status.
We agreed. Free photos! Why not?
We had an hour to get ready. I realized how I looked. I hadn't showered in over 24 hours and all I brought with me to the hospital were sweats and a bathrobe.
My nails were also horrible. In the middle of nowhere Missouri, I went to the one nail salon a week before and they had applied old, dark nail polish that had left lumps all over my nails. Having been nine months pregnant and with a cold my darling husband had given me, I didn't take the chipped nail polish off before my water broke.
Quickly I put dry shampoo in my hair (a must to bring to the hospital), a black tank top and sweats, tried to put a little make up on to cover my tired eyes, and luckily had a simple yet lovely bottomless pink sleeper for my daughter.
My husband had his uniform on because he needed to run to work after the photos. Luckily the photographer liked the idea of having a family that reflected a military life.
He came and took many photos from many angles; by the window, on the bed, me holding her, father and daughter, the three of us.
We thanked him and he told us to come by his studio in a week to see how they turned out.
When we finally did see the photos, I was a little annoyed. Despite how well the photographer tried to make me look, I was a hot mess. I could see the dried shampoo flaking in my hair, the way my face and arms showed my weight gain of 20 pounds after birth, my tired and forced smiled, and the god damn chipped black nails holding my precious infant. These were not pictures I cared to let everyone see, nor did I want to have. All except one photo.
The photographer showed me a photo that he decided was his favorite and wanted to display for everyone to see in his shop. It was simple, yet elegant and it described how I felt on the inside that moment. My daughter was simply laying on my shoulder and I was nuzzling her close to me. You didn't see my nails. You didn't see my flaky hair, you didn't see me exhausted. You saw a mother and daughter looking perfect and loved.
I know postpartum isn't glamorous or how models should look on the runway; however, despite how we look or what Mother Nature does to our bodies, we simply want to look beautiful. The moment is beautiful. I want to remember being beautiful. I want my daughter to see the beauty I remember. She won't know how I felt in the first 24 hours, she will remember how beautiful we were though in that photo. That's what I want to share in that photo.
I can't blame Kate for having someone do her hair and wearing a beautiful spring dress. If I had thousands of cameras on me for the world to see, I would want to look my best. Not because being natural postpartum is wrong, but because we want the outside to look exactly how we feel on the inside. Beautiful.
Plus, I bet you the moment she gets to the house, off the pumps go and on to messy bun and sweat pants she goes. At least her nails will look nice regardless.