When I saw a picture of Rachel Zoe after she’d given birth to her son, Kaius, I couldn’t help but giggle. Her hair and make-up are professionally done. And she’s wearing an unscathed hospital gown. Because that’s reality, right? Truth be told, I was a hot mess after giving birth to both my girls. After delivering my sweet Olive nearly a month ago, I even looked at my husband and said, “I must look like a hot mess.” He looked back at me and said I was beautiful. (He’s a keeper!) And he’s right. Because beauty is laboring for hours on end to bring new life into this world. Beauty is that sense of magic when you get to hold your baby for the first time. And these mama friends agree. Here are 15 mamas, including me, sharing the miracle of life in their natural beauty.
"I was induced at 38 weeks and was able to deliver both boys vaginally. That picture was only a couple hours post delivery and I actually looked better than that at discharge because I was more rested and all the fluids they pumped me with hadn't shown up in my face yet, HAHA!"
"I woke up at 5 AM on August 21st, with contractions becoming stronger and closer together. We were on the road to the hospital by 7:30... no time for makeup, and hair quickly pulled back just so I didn't get puke in it--I threw up twice in the car on the way to the hospital, and more once we arrived. No Pitocin was needed (go body, go!) but, heck yes, epidural. By 3:30 that afternoon, Camille Isabel was in my arms!"
"That picture was taken in the AM, after over 24 hours of labor and then an emergency c-section. I was so excited to just rest and just be... All my visitors had left, and it was just my hubby, baby and I. That moment was awesome."
"I had fully intended on delivering my twins, Ruby and Vera, vaginally. But, a few weeks beforehand my OB-Gyn suggested that I undergo a cesarean since “Baby B” (Vera) was breech. While I had struggled with the concept of changing my birth plan so close to their birth date, after making the decision, I felt as if a weight had been lifted (as Vera had been breech from about week 22 of gestation) and I truly felt at peace with it. So, on September 6, 2013 at around 10 AM, my husband and I walked (well, I waddled) to the hospital. I was poked and prodded, given fluids, strapped to a surgical bed, and at 1:04 PM my whole world altered as both of my precious, darling, amazing daughters were born (Yes, they were both born within the same minute). While my pregnancy had gone very well, my husband and I had minor concerns... with twins the accuracy of birth weight estimates can be off and just the fears that come naturally to new parents. Ruby was a burly 6 pounds and 12 ounces, and Vera was quite a bit smaller at 5 pounds and 11 ounces (which was about a pound off the sonographer’s last estimate). So, needless to say, we were absolutely thrilled to know our girls could stay by our side immediately after being checked. This photo was taken at about 6 PM while we were still in the recovery room. I may not have looked too glamorous, but I felt like I was in a dream!"
"Aleesia was born two days past her due date--we had planned for an unmedicated birth and went through Bradley Method classes. I was in labor for 19 unmedicated hours and honestly enjoyed the whole process. Mike was the best labor coach ever, keeping me calm and focused the whole time. But after transition into second stage labor, when I was sure I "couldn't" get her out, he and my mom basically yelling "Yes, you can!" was all the motivation I needed to work just a little harder and bring this girl into my arms. It was the most amazing, empowering, exhilarating experience of my life!"
"Not many mothers have the opportunity to watch their child being born. It was amazing and beautiful and bloody and gruesome and that moment is burned into my memory forever. And our son was OK. More than OK--fine. The doctor cut the cord, the nurses examined him and cleaned him off, and suddenly he was in my arms. After four years of infertility with nothing to show but failure and despair, I finally held my baby in my arms. My husband and I studied him with awe and shock. Three hours before, we had been asleep and now we were parents."
"I was induced at 7 PM on a Tuesday night and delivered via c-section at 2:45 PM Wednesday afternoon. I was miserably sick during transition and needed oxygen, pushed for over 2 hours, and Brian was not budging. We opted for a c-section as it appeared I would not be delivering vaginally. We did the c-section and Brian had been good and stuck (My doctor said that he had formed a seal with my pelvis). In recovery I had horrible shakes from the meds; they gave me some pain meds and I remember being wheeled up to our room and knowing I was going to get sick and thinking I could not puke on my new baby! We made it to the room and I handed Brian off. By 6 PM my in-laws were visiting. Kevin and I were both exhausted. That's when my BIL took the picture of us. They left shortly after and we sent Brian down to the nursery to try and rest. Kevin was fighting a migraine. By 10 that night we felt somewhat human, but that afternoon and evening were definitely not sunshine and butterflies!"
"On the day my son was born, I woke up at 2 AM with contractions and labored at home until noon when my water broke. We went to the hospital, and by the time they got around to admitting and checking me, I was 9 cm. I started pushing a little after 3. At 4:34, I gave birth to my 8-pound, 11-ounce son, Evan Michael. No drugs, no interventions. He was nursing within an hour. This is a picture of us the following morning (I think). It's taken me 19 months to get within 5-10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight, even with a pretty healthy lifestyle and extended breastfeeding."
"When I had my daughter, my water broke at 2 AM the night before I was scheduled to be induced. She was born 14 hours later and my labor and delivery was smooth and uneventful. However, thanks to little sleep and lots of IV fluids, I ended up looking like a sad puffer fish! I think my face looked more pregnant AFTER the baby was born!"
"This was maybe 20 minutes after Noah was born. I had burst pretty much all the blood vessels around my eyes pushing and had been in labor for 30 plus hours with very little sleep. After a sleepless night that involved going to the hospital only to be sent home and contractions about every four to five minutes, I was not concerned about looking pretty; I just wanted to get my week-overdue baby OUT!"
"This is from about five hours after my daughter's birth. This is a pretty defining moment for me. I went through four days of hospital stay, two days of active labor, two failed epidurals and no other pain meds, excruciating pain and it all led up to an emergency c-section in a hospital I didn't really trust. For part of my labor, I truly felt depressed. So even though I look like I'm in pain (I probably was!), just knowing I made it to the end and my daughter was finally my arms makes this an amazing moment for me. And, I'll be honest. No makeup. I didn't give a s**t about my hair at that point. And I hadn't showered in days. It's pretty real!"
"After a grueling delivery that ended in an emergency c-section with my older daughter, I felt further defeated when I ultimately agreed to a planned c-section for my second child. But in this moment, looking ragged, bloated and exhausted, I am so grateful for the beauty that exists in my family and the blessing that is my two healthy children."