Remember the stir Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, caused with her beautifully styled hair and perfect makeup as she left the hospital with baby Charlotte a couple of months ago? We all wanted to know how it was possible for someone to look so good right after pushing out a baby. Now we know. Some of us resented the media's placing such high importance on image. Maybe Kate didn’t want the glam squad fussing over her in the delivery room just so she could look good for some pictures.
Or maybe she did.
It seems getting your postpartum pretty on isn’t just for royalty. Hiring a professional stylist to visit you in the hospital and help you look your best for those first snaps with your new baby is apparently now a thing.
And why the hell not?
Today’s new mom has Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, at a minimum. Those first family pictures are going to be splashed across social media. Maybe she wants to look nice in those pictures… or at the very least, not like a total hag. Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but pushing in front of an audience for 10-plus hours might not make every woman feel pretty. Maybe looking “just so” in those first pictures isn’t important to everyone, but if it matters to the new mom, what’s the harm in a little pampering?
There will be plenty of people on the Internet who will criticize this trend. The ever-popular "just keep it real" will no doubt be a response to hiring a stylist to come and put your hair back together just minutes after a baby enters the world. "Motherhood is beautiful," we will say as we shake our head at these silly, shallow women who clearly have their priorities mixed up.
I call BS.
I didn’t feel pretty in the least after I gave birth. I had a relatively short, uneventful labor, but my hair was sweaty and matted to my scalp on one side while sticking straight up on the other. Beyond the thought of “Gah, I look terrible!” when I first looked in the mirror, I really did not care. I’ll point out that I had my baby in 1992, so there was zero chance of anyone whipping out a smartphone and sending a picture of my hot mess self to everyone I knew. Women who are having babies today may see things differently. Or not. The beauty of it is that we have choices and shouldn’t tear one another down over a little vanity.
I find it encouraging that these types of services are becoming accessible and affordable for the average Jane. No, getting a makeover while you’re getting your "hoo-hah" stitched up should not become the postpartum standard, but if a new mom wants a pro with a flatiron to tend to her during the first few minutes she holds her baby, more power to her.
Check with your hospital or birthing center to find out what its policies are. You don’t want to go to the trouble of hiring someone if hospital policy prohibits it. Also, find out what the stylist’s cancellation policy is. If you have delivery complications or if you simply change your mind, what sort of costs will you incur? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be pretty, but be smart too.
If you know someone who is having a baby, the quality of those first Instagram pictures might be important to her. Remember, she just made another human. She’s got fun stuff like hemorrhoids, mastitis, sleepless nights and that first scary postpartum poop in her immediate future. Cut her some slack if she wants her hair to look good, m’kay?
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