You know, I really hate to say that the world still surprises me; however, being an avid Internet user, I’m sadly proven wrong … almost daily.
My Facebook feed was littered yesterday with this New York Times article: “Along With Babies, Hairstyles Are Arriving In Hospitals.”
Naturally, in my inquisitive way, I clicked over to read. What met my eyes nearly seemed like satire: a hair blow-out and make-up application post-delivery for … photos? This had to be a joke, right?
Kate Middleton had her hair and make-up done before stepping out in front of millions to show the world her new baby. I understood that … I think. In my mind, I imagined that poor woman was likely forced by an age-old tradition to show off the new Princess to millions and didn’t want to look like a train wreck in a potato sack. I imagined she likely cursed the entire way through her blow-out and make-up application, because honestly, who in the actual fuck would want to endure something like that after delivering A HUMAN?
Gathering that those reading this have birthed humans of their own, I think it’s safe to assume that make-up application and a hair blow-out was likely LAST on your list of demands after having your human removed from your body. If not, I don’t understand you and we likely wouldn’t be friends in real life.
The things I wanted after delivering my human:
1. A fucking drink. No, I am not talking alcohol, I am talking any beverage. After my cesarean, I wasn’t allowed anything to drink after surgery for what felt like years. I was so thirsty, I coerced my husband into the bathroom, had him wet a hospital washcloth, and literally SUCKED the water out of the washcloth. And then threw up six times. I did not think about what my face looked like while sucking on a hospital washcloth that was likely used to wash some prior patient’s ass, nor what condition my hair was in. If anything, I was likely removing chunks of vomit from both my hair and my face.
2. Something to eat. After I was finally given permission to drink, I was able to order something from the hospital menu. I told the nurses that I wanted whatever came fastest. If that meant liver and lima beans, I wanted it. I was fucking starving after 22 hours of labor and 12 hours of “You aren’t allowed to eat” cesarean recovery; I most definitely wasn’t thinking about what Bed Head product would best tame my mane.
3. Removal of the catheter shoved up my urethra. Yes. I should have put this at the top of my damn list. No matter what anyone tells you, you CAN feel a piece of plastic shoved up your urethra and there is no greater joy on the planet than having that asshole removed. Catheter removal beats Urban Decay every time.
4. A FUCKING SHOWER. Again, if you’ve birthed a human either vaginally or via cesarean, we can all agree that it’s quite the show. It’s hot, messy, sweaty, bloody and, well, just gross. The happiest moment, right next to meeting my baby, was the moment my feet stepped into that hospital shower with the shower head that sprayed only to the left due to severe calcium buildup. Did I care? No I did not. It was hot, there was soap, I was alone; it was bliss. While shampooing my head with a bar of generic hospital soap, I was not thinking about what size bristle brush I’d want my hair blown out with, or whether or not I was going to go for the “fresh from the beach” look or the “Playboy pinup” look. I was going for the “I am so happy that my vagina is clean” look, and I was overly happy and proud when I succeeded.
5. A comfortable outfit. And you know what that was? A hospital gown with a pair of mesh underpants and a pad/diaper the size of Texas shoved between my freshly cleaned thighs. I loved those comfortable cotton hospital gowns so much, I wore two! One open to the front, and one to the back. I didn’t bust out some floral Prada gown and a pair of Louboutin’s; I put on two clean hospital gowns along with my mesh diaper, a pair of don’t-slip-and-die hospital socks, settled back into my plastic-lined, reclining hospital bed, and chowed down on hospital food – and I was as happy as an orgasmic dolphin!
Apparently, as the New York Times article quotes, Mr. Barrett from Berdorf Goodman has it all figured out: “It’s really important that you feel good, that you don’t look in the mirror and say, ‘Oh, my God,’ because having a baby is like running a marathon,” said John Barrett, founder of the namesake salon at Bergdorf Goodman. “Just feeling ‘I look normal’ afterward is such a nice thing. It’s good for the psyche.”
Mr. Barrett, while I’ve never participated in an actual marathon (because I don’t believe in torture that doesn’t reward you with some sort of prize at the end), I must just be one of the odd ones, because that is not at all what I was thinking/feeling. Maybe that’s why I don’t shop at Bergdorf Goodman (nothing at all to do with the fact that I cannot afford a $3,000 sweater). However, looking normal was the last thing on my list of “wants,” and it sure as hell wasn’t going to improve my “psyche.”
Feeling halfway normal? Yes. Trying to comprehend why my stomach still looked like a human was still trapped inside, even though I was holding said human in my arms? Yes, that would have improved my “psyche.” Figuring out the proper motions one must take to ice their vagina while simultaneously holding a newborn, trying to teach her to “latch,” all while shoving a turkey sandwich down my throat? Yes. Yes, these were all things on my “want” list, those would have all “been good for my psyche.” As much as I want to say that I’d like to look back at my delivery pictures and see a beautifully coiffed momma and her perfectly swaddled newborn, I can’t, because I don’t feel that way.
I look back on my post-delivery photos with my swollen cheeks, my Casper-like complexion, my face that screams, “What the fuck just happened?!” and see a momma who was scared out of her mind that this tiny new person was here. I see a young woman who, while not made up for the camera, looks the happiest she’s looked on any day – mesh underpants, padded diaper, left boob hanging out, sweaty hair pulled out of her face, all so she could breathe in the life she’d just brought into this world. And you know what? I don’t regret one minute of those less-than-stellar-looking moments of mine. I would have, however, regretted missing those minutes so I could be “beautified” by some asshole in a hospital room.
Had one person come at me with a hairbrush, make-up, or a curling iron, I’d have most certainly whipped out my left clogged milk duct breast and clubbed them upside the head.