I'm not talking about celebrities. Frankly, I don't consider them real anyway, so what they do and how they present themselves postpartum doesn't really affect me (though I was happy to see that Kate Middleton still looked a little pregnant in her post royal-birth reveal). Plus, so many of them don't share photos right after giving birth anyway, and once they do, it's an airbrushed staged thing in People or Us Weekly and their trainers have already had their way with them. Not real. I'm talking about women like you and me and how they share their post-birth selves on social media—and whether their decisions affect our own.
I don't want to judge any woman who just pushed a baby out of you-know-where (or had one cut out), but I can't help wondering if these moms are literally powdering their noses while the doctor is sewing them up. How do they look so good? A friend told me this about her first: When she got to nine and a half centimeters, she brushed her teeth and hair and put on a full face of makeup so she was ready for her "here's the baby!" shot. Turned out she never made it to 10 centimeters and had to have a C-section, which upset her so much she had mascara streaming down her face in photos. For her subsequent babies, she went with braided, pulled-back hair and Chapstick.
My sister, Meghan, who recently had a baby posted the immediate "I-look-kinda-rough-but-glowing-and-beautiful-because-I-just-gave-birth" shot and then the next morning she freshened up—a lot—and posted a glamazon pic with full makeup and blown-out hair all shiny and nice. She did not look like someone who had endured 30 hours of drug-free labor and was still on pain meds and ice packs in a hospital bed. She looked awesome. And who doesn't like to look awesome? Especially as a new mom. But was it misleading? Overkill? Or just her way of feeling like herself after a harrowing experience?
When I went into labor with my son, the first thing I did was hop in the shower—then blow out my hair. Same with my daughter. It takes me a while to get ramped up into real labor and drying my hair gave me something to do to get through the early contractions. Plus, my hair just looks better and acts better when it's been blown dried. I did not wear makeup and I won't be wearing makeup this time. Labor and delivery ain't easy and I don't want black circles under my eyes. And scrambling to put on mascara right after giving birth just so I can look better for my Facebook friends would make me feel…inauthentic. That said, I will be editing any shots that get posted. I'm definitely vain enough to smooth out my hair and stick out my chin and have someone shoot me from above for a more flattering angle (Ivanka Trump, who recently posted a non-celeb-type birth photo, seems to have done the same).
To be honest, I'm sometimes baffled when women post those unflattering post-birth selfies where they're lying down flat with the hospital gown half opened. To each his own, but I'm too vain for that kind of reality floating around the ether. So I guess we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Perhaps that's why some women just post a shot of the baby and stay in hiding. I like seeing the babies, don't get me wrong, but I want to see the moms, too. After all, they did the work. And I think those first shots of mom and baby are so special and amazing—regardless of what's on the mom's face. Truly. Sharing such intimate moments on Facebook isn't for everyone but for those of us that do it, I'd love to hear your thoughts: Did you wear makeup? Why or why not? Would you? Does it bother you when other people do? If you just post a shot of the baby, why do you stay out of it? Let's discuss....