On Not Looking Perfect As A Brand New Mum


When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital yesterday afternoon it wasn’t just the baby the world was interested in seeing. Let’s be honest, a newborn baby is a newborn baby; most of them look quite similar, a bit like grumpy old men.

The world was interested in seeing what the Duchess of Cambridge looked like.

And she didn’t disappoint. Earlier in the day her hairdresser’s arrival had garnered more news coverage than all other current affairs combined – really? A hairdresser? – and speculation was rife over what was in the garment bag an aide was toting.

When they finally emerged (I spent the evening with News24 and baited breath) it was pleasing to see K Mid still rocking a little bump like a normal woman – though it doesn’t look such a flabby all-encompassing spare tyre like mine was (and still is if I’m honest) – but the woman looked incredible otherwise. Her gorgeous hair and immaculate makeup! The beautiful Jenny Packham dress! The heels!

We can forgive her for she is a member of the royal family and is being paraded in front of the circus that is the world’s media, though it would have been nice for the Duchess to not perpetuate the myth that women look perfect after giving birth. And to be fair if I was visited in hospital the day after I gave birth by a hair stylist and make-up artist I wouldn’t have turned them away.

But unforgivable is the cover of OK magazine which spread like wildfire yesterday evening on Social Media:


Because what new mums need after birthing a human out of their bodies is further pressure of the Duchess’s ‘weight-loss regime’, the ‘Duchess Diet & Shape-Up Plan’. We really need more reasons for our mum tums, stretch marks and wobbly bits to make us feel inadequate don’t we?

No, we don’t.

Rather than dedicating precious brain space to thoughts about how much we weigh and how flabby we are we need to be thinking about our new baby, getting our rest and bonding with our babies.

How about coverage of women who don’t worry about shaping-up days after giving birth? How about column inches for the women who wear their post-baby body confidence with pride (and I’m not talking about negative coverage, eh Daily Mail)? How about we celebrate the fact we grew a person rather than beating ourselves up for the fact our bodies have changed?

So here’s me. Here’s me having just given birth with a squinty, make-up free face and no contact lenses. Here’s my mum tum that proudly grew two beautiful children for nine months. Here’s what a real woman looks like post-birth, and if at least one person feels better about how they looked as a brand new mother then showing the internet these not-so-flattering photographs would have been worth it.

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 The day after giving birth to Elfie / The first outing 


The day Hux was born

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Hux at a couple of days old. Where’s that make-up artist?

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First photo at home with Elf / Hux at 2 weeks old and still in maternity shirts


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  1. Aimeeh wrote:

    You really are an inspiration Alice. Personally I think you look gorgeous post birth! X

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  2. Torn between anger and despair about these kinds of magazine covers. What saddens me the most is that the mags wouldn’t continue to print them if people weren’t buying them. Can we please stop!

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  3. MrsB wrote:

    I wanted to do a similar post but I don’t have any photos of myself in the first weeks of either of my kids births. I wonder why. Not. :)

    I do remember though that it took me 3 months after my first for my tummy to sort of disappear. With my second it took over 6 months. Such is the reality and I’m ok with it too.

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  4. Myra wrote:

    You rock Ms Alice because everything in this entry is exactly what I was thinking and I hadn’t even seen that atrocious magazine cover. Honestly.

    And you do look beautiful, I agree with Aimeeh!

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  5. PhotoPuddle wrote:

    I must admit I am not fussed that Kate looked so unrealistically stunning when she left the hospital yesterday. After all the whole world was going to be watching her. The photos that were taken yesterday are going to be a piece of history that will be shown time and time again. I think I’d want a my hair and make up done too. I do wonder how long it took to get her hair like that. After my first baby my hair was is such a big knot it took days to properly untangle!
    I do however feel very angry about the OK magazine cover. I guess they wanted the royal story on the cover but had nothing else to say. I hope most new mums will ignore this and wear the bags under their eyes and wobbly tummy with pride.
    And you look gorgeous in these photos. Great post birth shots.

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  6. AMEN!! do you remember that advert for a sports shop or something with a huge belly running around the city to ”belly’s gonna get ya!”?…well, we’ve got a lovely pic of me and my first newborn and peeking out from under my t-shirt, is my belly looking JUST LIKE THAT one in the advert!!! haa!

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  7. Amen hun, but actually I think you look pretty great! ;-p

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  8. Loved this Al. I looked awful after having W, and to be honest, I still do. But I’m happy. I couldn’t give a toss outside that moment where I catch myself naked in a reflective surface during the day and shudder slightly. My son is happy. I’m happy. And my tummy has proved quite useful for resting laptops on and for extra warmth on a chilly evening. xx

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  9. Steph (@imcountingufoz) wrote:

    That boob, wine, breastfeeding shot is the best thing ever. I have no photos of me post birth.

    The magazine cover is dreadful. She looked amazing, I too was glued to News24 and was agog, AGOG I tell you, when she emerged looking like that. She clearly is more groomed than a show pony, and takes pride in her looks, and if I had access to all that she does, I’d look like that, too. But I get the impression she’s not as vacuous as that and I hope she won’t be all over getting her stomach snapped back in record time when she could be relaxing and bonding with her new baby.

    And then I reminded myself that she’ll be rocking a massive maternity pad under that beautiful dress, will be a tiny bit nervous about sitting down for a bit, will be having afterpains like a motherfucker when Newborn Baby Prince latches on, and will have been fucking scared of her first post birth poo, like the rest of us are.

    But yes, that magazine cover, OY! Not cool.

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
    • Kaycee wrote:

      I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost imssopible.

      Posted 4.21.16 Reply
  10. I can’t blame her for the hairdresser – I mean, she had hundreds of paparazzi around her, not just family members snapping photos! But good for her for rocking the bump – postpartum bumps can be adorable!

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  11. Your pictures are so so gorgeous. I wish I’d been a bit braver about having my photo taken when D was born.

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  12. Ah, I’m looking at your glass of rosé with envy as only a 20 week pregnant woman can!

    Totally hear you on the magazine thing. As I wrote in a comment on Love Bryony’s post earlier we need to call for a boycot of these stupid magazines (unhelpful I don’t buy them as a rule anyway so I don’t think they’ll even notice my personal boycott!)

    You look amazing post birth- way better than I did, and will again! Am tempted to have my hairdresser on call after this one though ;)

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  13. MumaLeary wrote:

    I am so chuffed that so many mums are coming out loud and clear saying how hideous the OK coverage is. Thanks so much for your blog. Very, very true.
    Here is my tuppence worth for anyone that is interested…http://mummetamorphosis.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/its-not-right-but-its-ok/

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  14. Purplemum wrote:

    Hear hear! Hello magazine aught to be ashamed, but then they have always been about selling the superficial so it doesn’t surprise me.

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  15. Aimee wrote:

    I think the magazine is unforgivable, and the pressure it’s sadly unintentionally (and to be honest that’s what bothers me more, how blind they were), put out is worrying.

    However, it’s tricky, after all the first thing I did when they let me out of bed was skip down the corridor (well, wobble to prove I could walk so I could go home) with my make up bag and hair brush. NOT for the press – because obviously they were waiting to take my photo – NOT for my husband, for the other people on the ward or the nurses. But for me. I can’t function without brushed hair and make up, and decent clothes. Even my scruffs are planned so I like them.

    I guess my point is, I REALLY don’t want this to turn into a bashing of how women chose to deal after birth (I’m not saying you are doing that – I know you’re not at all!), but at the end of the day, we should just be supporting what makes us happy and confident parents.

    Posted 7.25.13 Reply
  16. Mari wrote:

    I’m not going to be so harsh on Kate, as PhotoPuddle mentions above, her photos will be shown for centuries, cue the Diana photos for ‘similarities’, the poor woman can’t get away from her deceased mother in law either. EVER.

    I do think Kate is gorgeous anyway, so with a wash of the hair and a stroke of make up she would look stunning anyway in all honesty. She never had a massive bump so was never going to be hugely overweight either – lucky Kate.

    The dress – did they choose those spots on purpose to reflect Diana? That would make my blood boil if they did.

    Did you see the photo online of her coming out of the hospital and facing thousands of photographers? Who would want to do that the day after giving birth? And now they’re hounding her in her home town of Buckley. Leave the poor woman alone to enjoy her newborn son and get to grips with breast feeding.

    However, I cannot agree more with you that the OK magazine is atrocious and I sincerely hope they go out of business as soon as possible as they have no idea what today’s woman is about.

    Great post

    Posted 7.25.13 Reply
  17. katiekoo wrote:

    Brill post! Loved your shots too. You are an inspiration.

    Posted 7.25.13 Reply
  18. Alexis wrote:

    This is why I read blogs, not magazines.

    Posted 7.25.13 Reply
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    Posted 7.29.13 Reply
  20. Mrs R wrote:

    Love this post & your honesty esp the wine shot! We should be proud of what we’ve grown and the bodies we have as a result of nurturing them. As a new mummy I have found benefit wallpaper paste concealer and touch éclat essential tho ( although I still don’t look anywhere near Kate!)

    Posted 7.29.13 Reply
  21. Lizzi wrote:

    Only just seen this and well done you!

    My biggest question was, how was not waddling?! Maternity towels aren’t exactly streamlined. She must’ve put some practice in before the main event

    Posted 8.1.13 Reply
  22. Grenglish wrote:

    You look gorgeous! I have no pics of me post birth at all. I think the first one I have was a head & shoulders shot 3 days later when we were about to leave the hospital.
    The OK cover is shocking!

    Posted 8.2.13 Reply