So You've Had Yourself a Baby - with Anniki
BY ANNIKI SOMMERVILLE
I’m writing this nine days after the birth of my second daughter. I’m wearing pyjamas, a large maternity towel and a slightly smelly bra. I’m not going to talk about the birth or what happens to your brain. Or sleep deprivation or the way your eyes struggle to focus at three in the morning so the cat looks like it’s got branches growing out its nose.
I’m going to focus on how having a baby seriously fucks with your face and body.
Part of acclimatising to new motherhood is getting to grips with a massive shift in identity. Your face and body form part of that identity. Suddenly it’s erased and you feel vulnerable. Things like mindfulness, deep breathing and funny films will help but let’s focus on products that work towards re-building that sense of self. After the fairly traumatic birth of my second daughter, I made a pact that I would try and look after myself more this time around. The first time I’d let everything go to seed and this in turn impacted negatively on my mental health.
I’m the kind of woman who benefits from a bit of lippie even if I’m in the operating room having my vagina sewn back together.
(And just an aside, these recommendations are not about triple cleansing bollocks or spending a fortune on luxury brands. Instead it’s a few essentials that will make you feel more like yourself and less like a crazed Yeti. Products that will hopefully stop the loss of identity fuckery so you no longer feel like a giant wet wipe covered in blood, milk and tears.)
Here we go...
DRY SHAMPOO, from £4.99 for 100ml
It’s impossible to wash your hair when you have a new baby, and you’ll be sweating like a hog on the barbecue every night (it’s the massive hormonal shift that takes place post-birth). Dry shampoo sprayed liberally into your roots and brushed through is a lifesaver (just beware too much of a good thing or you’ll end up more Louis XVI versus competent BBC newsreader).
Batiste is the best brand by far but Aveda also do a lovely dry shampoo powder which smells like heaven.
PILE CREAM, from about £3
It’s an unfortunate truth that many new Mums get piles. They’re gruesome and a definite factor in making you feel less human. They can feel so painful that you struggle to sit down or pee without crying (especially if you’ve had a tear/cut and stitches). Pile cream is a must.
Tesco do their own version which is cheaper than the rest but works just as well. Rumour has it that supermodels used to use this stuff on their eye bags.
This is truly a multi-benefit Mum lifesaver.
EPSOM SALTS, £4.99
A few of these chucked into a bath will help heal those sore bits. They work wonders for aching bodies. They also feel wholesome and restorative.
And warming, soothing, comforting.
These are all good words for new Mums. Whisper them in their ears at night.
There’s something about rubbing a nice face oil into your mush morning and night that declares to the world- I’M A WOMAN THAT’S GOT MY SHIT TOGETHER.
I’m using Pixi’s Rose Oil Blend (£26). A lot.
L’oreal also do a nice one too (£13.33 usually 19.99).
PRIMER / ANY STUFF THAT BASICALLY SAYS ‘GLOW’ ON IT
In the morning when you’ve had no sleep and peer into the mirror, what you see glaring back will scare you. Try not to look. It’s the death mask. The one that you had when you got dysentery on holiday, and could only eat peaches and were stuck in a Turkish hospital. Instead reach for a good primer/glow enhancer and forget about ‘sparing application’. This isn’t time to be sparing about anything (and this applies to chocolate, cake, sourdough toast, crying- this is a time to do WHATEVER THE HELL YOU LIKE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL A TINY BIT BETTER).
Charlotte Tilbury does a wonderful complexion boosting product called ‘Flawless Filter’ (£30). So far, I’ve got through half a bottle of this elixir and it gives some semblance of normality despite these disorientating times.
So, there you go. Yes, recovery from birth and acclimatising to new motherhood isn’t just about the right products but this small handful of things will help. And that’s what new Mums need more than anything.
Help, support, love, a cup of tea and a pat on the back.
See you on the other side.