Maybe it was a friend or family member, maybe it was you— that snapshot taken right after baby was born, mom’s long hair flowing over her breast, cheeks pink, eyes bright, lashes tinted with mascara. A gorgeous photo of a mother with her new baby.
Sometimes the look is staged a bit, sometimes a mother’s natural beauty is shining through. Whether makeup is on your list of what to pack to the hospital, or you just can’t take a bad picture, I don’t fault anyone for taking a gorgeous photo on one of the most momentous days of their lives.
I just know that that person isn’t me. And it might not be you, either.
Labor is hard work. It’s often compared to a marathon, but it’s way more intense than a marathon. Marathons take place during the day; the previous night you’ve eaten a solid meal, and you go to bed early to rest up for the strenuous activity ahead. You don’t always get that luxury in labor. It can creep up on you after a long day on your feet, in the middle of the night and last well into the next day— or for several days. You can’t just take a break and walk for a while in labor. You can’t quit, walk on over to the nearest pub, and try again next race. You are in it, fully committed, until you reach the ultimate finish line— the birth of your baby.
So it’s not a surprise that not everyone can pull off the perfectly coifed after-birth look. Nor does everyone want to.
I’m not particularly adept at beauty routines. I didn’t start wearing makeup until late into my twenties. Most days my hair air-dries into frizzy waves, n’er a blow dryer in sight, unless it’s below freezing outside. So, after my 18-hour and 12-hour labors, after nights without sleep, face puffy and dotted with wonderful pregnancy-induced melasma, my after-birth pics aren’t very pretty.
But when I look at them, I see power. I see joy. I see a woman who, despite feeling afraid and vulnerable and more exhausted than I had ever been before, persevered and freakin’ birthed a baby. I am proud of myself when I look at those pictures. I am glad I have them— ALL of them, even the ones that few will ever see— because they show what I did, what I endured, what I rocked.
They aren’t necessarily pretty, but they are pretty powerful.
I am a certified labor doula and profesional postpartum doula serving clients in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, and the greater Treasure Valley.
How can I help you feel powerful during your birth?
I've worked in the forest, in the lab, and in an office cubicle. My favorite and most passionate work has been alongside clients as they reach inside to find their innermost strength, and give birth to their babies. Each birth is an honor to witness.