WHO would you want in the room while you gave birth?
Your partner? The midwife? A doula? Your 27.3 million Instagram followers? If you’re Emily Ratajkowski, then the latter.
The model shared pictures of herself “in between pushes” on social media and has been met with both praise and condemnation.
When I first heard about it I was firmly in the “good for her” camp.
It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I realised how infrequently we see authentic depictions of the biggest event in the human experience.
Even One Born Every Minute is edited and ramped up for drama.
A male friend confessed to me that the photos of me and my bump that used to accompany this column felt jarring to him, so rarely do we see pregnant women in the media.
So I’m all for what seems to be this new breed of “mum-fluencer”, presenting their cankles-and-all postpartum bodies.
It’s become cool for celebrities to get “real” post-birth: from Katy Perry in her big pants with breast pumps hanging from both nipples to Amy Schumer showing off her “cute” C-section scar. Maybe it’s their lavish bathrooms, but it still doesn’t feel relatable to me.
Which is why I’m disappointed that Emily Ratajkowski’s sun-dappled, soft-focus pictures feel like more of the same idealised, serene version of labour we’re told to expect (and feel like a failure if we don’t achieve).
To be fair to her, maybe she’s one of those annoying people who manage to look gorgeous huffing on gas and air and she did just “breathe the baby out” with a pout during golden hour, but it’s a million miles away from my experience – and most of the women I know.
Perhaps we’re just not ready for the no-filter version of women’s bodies.
Last month, a Frida Mom advert depicting the reality of breastfeeding made global headlines, and when Loose Women showed it they had to issue a warning to viewers.
There’s nothing on this advert that felt unfamiliar to me. Except maybe massaging blocked milk ducts with a sex toy. I only wish I’d thought of that at the time. However, I understand some people’s reluctance to see such an intimate part of life broadcast to the world.
This week I’m…
One: Pot, Pan, Planet. Anna Jones’ veggie recipes are easy, tasty and require minimal washing-up.
Meet David Sedaris. I’m obsessed with this funny American writer, and his BBC Radio 4 series doesn’t disappoint.
Leapfrog Immune. These citrus-flavoured vitamins contain the protein lactoferrin to help boost immunity.
I remember when Chrissy Teigen shared photos of her losing her baby last year, I wasn’t sure how I felt.
When I flicked through the pictures of her bent double and weeping, shared with her millions of Instagram followers, it felt voyeuristic. Many accused her of being attention-seeking.
And yet why shouldn’t she share her experience and make other women who’ve been through something similar feel less alone?
According to the NHS, one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage, and yet we’re still terrible at talking about it. I felt shocked by my transition to a postpartum body.
Although friends had mentioned sore nipples and stitches, we still don’t discuss the heavy blood loss, the incontinence, the bald patches, the constipation, the haemorrhoids… I did one post-partum poo that was so painful I had to do hypnobreathing techniques to stop myself crying out in pain.
TMI? Maybe. But if that makes even one woman feel less lonely in the deranged days of early motherhood, I’m happy to share it.
On Instagram with an accompanying pic though? Not likely.
- Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites.
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