birth, the day after

Edit: updated to include new photo

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Pip and I sat last night and watched Kate, William and the royal baby leave the hospital. again, I was surprisingly emotional, remembering our time in hospital and the period immediately after the birth. I am still trying to find time to finish the second part of my birth story, but I am sure that I have mentioned that we were held in hospital for 4 days, as Pip became jaundiced following her venteuse delivery.

I wanted to give a real perspective of the few days after birth from the mothers viewpoint. the top photo is of Pip and me about an hour after she was born. it isn’t edited, but I did put a filter on it when I posted it on instagram (remarking that Pip too was born on a Monday early evening). the bottom two photos are taken about 24 hours after Pip’s birth and are unedited. straight out of camera, and in themselves, pretty terrible photos. (my hair is wet but clean, no make-up, hideous clothes. I remember staggering to the shower and being glad I had packed my soothing and luxurious toiletries. I was so sore I could barely bend to wash). what they show however, is what my body really looked like. these aren’t photos I thought I’d ever share (indeed, they were taken by my Dad and I had to email him to ask him to send them to me) but I felt it is really important to show what the body really looks like, not the ‘perfect’ image that seems to exist in the mind of the general public.

I hugely admired Kate yesterday for facing the world’s media in such a natural state. yes, I know she had ‘done’ her hair and was wearing make up and was wearing an albeit casual, dress and heeled shoes. but what person wouldn’t, knowing that they were being photographed for the history books? no, I was impressed that she showed everyone what the normal figure of a woman who has just given birth looked like. she made no attempt to hide the fact that the bump doesn’t just disappear when the baby appears, unlike in the expectation of several news presenters.

for a lot of first time mothers, the first time they come into contact with a person who has recently given birth is when they look down at their own stomach after the birth and realise they still look about 5 months pregnant. I clearly remember seeing a family member 24 hours after she gave birth and it being the first time I’d ever seen someone in that time frame, and being quite surprised. equally, looking back on my own photos for the first time, I was shocked again. I think Kate did women everywhere a huge service by showing the normal response of a woman’s body after birth.


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