Most expecting mothers have at least one birthing plan. I had two. Plan A involved the manner in which I wanted my child brought into the world. Plan B was more self-centered, a day of relaxation and beauty.
Prenatal massage, manicure, pedicure, eyebrow threading, haircut, the works. I had them scheduled five days before my due date. Whatever labor and delivery held for me, I planned on meeting it head-on and looking my best.
I recently overheard a couple on a double date. One proud husband was bragging about how his wife had endured a grueling thirty-six, you heard me, THIRTY-SIX hour labor, sans epidural, and without even an eyelash out of place.
I’m sure he meant no harm and was merely expressing his respect for the incredible feat his spouse had accomplished. Still I couldn’t help but wonder; should it really matter what she looked like? Isn’t the physical, mental and emotional ordeal this brave woman surrendered herself to, in the service of another person, enough?
I think it should be. I know we live in image-centric times, filled with Instagram worthy snaps. And of course no one wants to be caught looking like the dog’s dinner, myself included. But there has to be a line. We shouldn’t feel obligated to primp and prep for fear of falling short and being criticized by a mud-flinging, shame-chanting society.
As you have likely guessed my Plan B went awry. My sweet daughter decided to show up much earlier than expected, and she came fast and furious. I was caught completely off guard. I arrived at the hospital with not a lick of makeup on, hair untamed, barefoot and pajama clad (and I don’t mean the extra cute ones reserved for sleepovers). Needless to say, I most definitely did not look my best.
For me, gazing at my delivery photos is like watching a perfect sunset. Don’t get me wrong, I still look less than stellar and those photos will never see the light of social-media. However, on the scale of what’s important, none of that matters.