WHAT DOES A NEW MUM LOOK LIKE?
BY SUSIE VERRILL
Remember this front cover of Elle Australia where Nic Trunfio managed to encapsulate both nurture and glamour in one fell swoop of her left breast? Elegant, protective and classy; she followed in the boobsteps of other female stars & posed for an editorial while feeding her child. For me, it was nothing but nice.
After posting this picture on Instagram however, I noticed quite a few snarky comments which I hadn’t really expected. Not from the anti-nursing gang, nothing ‘this shouldn’t be done in public’ related, but from other mums griping that it wasn’t realistic. That she should have been wearing drab clothes, with scruffy hair, crying or looking like a big bag of arse. And I’ve got to be honest; it bothered me off more than the whole feeding in public debate.
Now, I’m a huge advocate for being honest about mumhood (you all know that, I’m constantly wanging on about my battered box) and I think it’s very, very important we allow ourselves days off and not feel guilty when we can’t quite reach perfection (LOL, perfection. As if). But I was confused by the women who felt it necessary to get on their high horse about another mum seemingly not reaching their standard of dishevelled.
I couldn’t wait to feel like myself again after having Milo. I’d had just about enough of wearing god awful maternity clothes and my neck morphing in to my chin to last me a lifetime so after three days, I put my jeans on (that was comfs with stitches), I did my hair & shoved a tonne of make-up on. I didn’t look particularly fantastic but it gave me a bit of a boost on a day when my hormones were crash landing and I felt ready to take on another day of living with a newborn. After 12 days, Greg had an event to attend and I went along because I needed to get out the house… so obviously once again I got dressed and foundationed within an inch of my life. And no, you couldn’t really tell I’d had a baby. Aside obviously from the fact Milo was right there and I was walking like that disabled tortoise you see on YouTube. And if the Daily Mail had popped up photos of me; would that have been enough for other mums to be annoyed?
In the mags and newspapers, we’re often presented with celebrity mums; Rochelle Wiseman, Jessica Alba, Fearne Cotton, Myleene Klass etc etc etc. All with a great level of style, all working mums and all women who go home of an evening and put their babies to bed (albeit occasionally with help). And personally; rather than seeing them drowsy-eyed, plucking cat fur from their Primark jumper shuffling round Tescos, I like seeing them dressed to eff and doing so with immaculate hair. There will always be mums who look that little bit better than the rest of us, but then maybe they’re having a great day because their little one finally had a bloody nap. Or perhaps they had a stylist help them get dressed that morning. Or a make-up artist. But it doesn’t make them any less realistic. Some mums need to look fantastic for work, and rather than get pissy because they don’t look like they’ve been bummed through a hedge backwards my first thought would be, ‘Oh that’s great, they look really hot AND they’ve probably been up all night with a baby, what a hero’. Yes the eyebags have been covered up and a pencil skirt’s replaced a sick-covered tracksuit but the faint smell of regurgitated milk and parental concern is no doubt still present.
Let us not forget; there will be some women who’ve never worn make-up, never gone to the gym, never eaten healthily, never had to rely on their looks for work, never really done much except pop to the shops for a pack of 20 & a Pick Me Up mag. And then there’ll be others who have spent their days in the spotlight, running miles every night, striving their way up the career ladder, not letting a single choux bun pass their lips (poor them). And that won’t change just because they’ve given birth. And nor should it! Take for example a lady who’s been in the papers a lot recently; Los Angeles based model Sarah Stage. The fury other women spat out on social media once they’d clawed themselves to the nearest keyboard was ridiculous, and all because she looked fantastic straight after giving birth.
She’s a model guys. She will have worked her arse off during pregnancy and eaten healthily. It’s also highly likely her fantastic genetic make up means her body snapped back. SHE LOOKED LIKE THIS WHILE PREGNANT SO COME ON. Curb the venom.
Fundamentally, I think being honest about motherhood means accepting women of all shapes, sizes and looks can give birth, without putting a label on what a ‘real’ mum looks like. A real mum is a woman who looks after her child and if she does that looking flipping fantastic or does it wearing yesterday’s mascara then who are we to judge? In the case of Nicole Trufio, I’ll forever champion anyone who uses their looks and notoriety to promote aspects of breastfeeding; I actually think a whole new generation of mums might consider giving it a go if it’s supported by strong, inspiring females. If I’d become pregnant in my early twenties and was impressionable on the subject of nursing; it wouldn’t be the grotty looking character flopping her spaniel ear in to the mouth of a screaming infant, it’d more likely be the hot, feisty woman with youth on her side to encourage me. Just like it’s OK to look like crap, it’s totally OK to look hot. You’ve had a baby, you haven’t been smashed in the face with a spade. You go hot stuff. And if all else fails, this is why Spanx was invented.