I gave up worrying about whether I was beach-body ready a long time ago. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look in a bikini; fear not, I’m riddled with all the usual insecurities about flabby bits, cellulite, stretch marks, varicose veins and rogue hairs. It’s just that somehow time runs away from me and before I know it I’m on the plane home and I still haven’t tackled any of the above. So, beach body? Whatever….I’ve got more important shit on my plate (like carbs, and chocolate). But, when it comes to my birth-body? Well, that’s a different story.Let’s face it – childbirth doesn’t leave you with a shitload of dignity in the spiritual bank. Between vaginal examinations, rogue shits, bare asses, incontinence, stitches, vomiting and all the rest of it, it’s a rough ride leaving you trailing far behind in the attractiveness stakes. Oh I know it’s not all about that. I know that the lioness-like strength and superhuman power of creating a human life cancels all that fugly stuff out – those observing remember the magic of the moment and not the emissions they spent their time physically dodging – but I’m not ashamed to admit that shitting all over the floor while my husband tried to wipe my arse is something that will linger in the emotional vaults of shame for a while yet.
So, with all that in mind, I’m working on things that I know will make me feel that little bit better after I emerge from the crazy hormonal ride that is childbirth. Shallow it may seem, but in a world where ‘whatever it takes’ is the motto, this is a little of what it’s going to take. So, here it is.
First up – the mani/pedi. Amidst choices regarding pain relief and pulsing cords, nail polish may not seem like a priority and, admittedly, during birth it isn’t. Even I can see that. But, once it’s all over, you’ll be delighted that your nails look decent for all those up-close first pics and, let’s face it, it’ll be about 18 years before you’ve got the time and the cash to have your mani/pedi again so you might as well squeeze a decent one in before splash down. Right?
Secondly, let’s talk waxing. And vaginas. Birth aside, I’m a shaver. I tried waxing but, in general, it’s just not for me. I’m not a fan of the pain. I don’t much like the prices they charge to torture me and I tend to get more ingrowing hairs from waxing than shaving. However, at this stage of pregnancy, I can’t remember the last time I saw my own vagina without the aid of a hand mirror attached to a selfie-stick so shaving is more like pubic-roulette than grooming.
I did ask my husband to step up and take on the shaving mantle and, in theory, he was perfectly willing to get involved. He did however point out one important point: “Babe,” he said, “while I’m perfectly willing to help you out with whatever you need, I have to question your wisdom in asking a man who has NEVER USED A RAZOR IN HIS LIFE, to pop his shaving cherry on the landscape of your lady garden.” Very, very valid.
So, waxing is my only option and there are some pros. Firstly, it’s like ‘pain training’. If I can cut my teeth on a Hollywood then how hard can childbirth really be? Secondly, being hair free down there has got to be one less thing to worry about as the war zone heals. If stitches are involved, surely, it’s a little easier to keep it all clean and un-infected if there’s a blank canvas? Finally, there’s no risk of getting a rogue hair caught on the sticky bit of your MASSIVE maternity pad and forcing a eye-twitch inducing pain as you inadvertently whip it out. Not a huge problem admittedly, but one worth considering.
Then there’s my hair. I’m sure you’re all shocked to hear that I’m not naturally THIS blonde. In fact, it takes a shit load of money and even more hours sat in the salon every 6-8 weeks to maintain this oh, so natural hue. Those post-birth pics are destined to stay with you for the rest of your life: they’ll be rolled out at birthdays and weddings and you don’t want to look back on them and think, why didn’t I get my bloody roots done? It could just be me that would worry about that but I doubt it.
Finally, there’s the tan. I’m not suggesting we all go and book a spray tan. Apart from anything else, there’s no bloody way I’d fit in one of those pop up tents right now, but surely a little bit of colour is a good thing. We all look better with a tan – it’s like cellulite’s kryptonite or something and it even works wonders on varicose veins so yes, pre-birth I’ll be fake tanning the bits I can reach. My legs, my arms, my face…all will emit a beautiful bronzed glow which is all that matters once you’ve got your jammies back on and the photos start.
So, while you should definitely worry about other things first, it’s worth taking some of that pre-birth downtime to up the grooming game a little. Post-birth, when you feel like you’ve been punched in the face and the vagina by a herd of rabid meerkats, it’s a bit unfair that you’re subjected to the longest photo shoot of your life. Trust me, the tan, the nails and the wax will make it all a little better.
Go forth and groom mamas-to-be not because you want to look like Kate Middleton 3 hours post-birth but because you’ll want to feel a teeny-tiny bit like yourself.