pregnancy

Here's what 66 new mums looked like in the days after giving birth.

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It was the details that mothers noticed immediately.

The high, high heels. The white dress. The full make-up and blow-dried hair. And was that… pantyhose? As the world breathlessly waited for the promised first photos of our newest royal baby, Archie Harrison, women who had given birth before were thinking about their first hours and days after becoming a mother.

Words like “bleeding”, “sore boobs”, “euphoria”, “numbness”, “shock”, “colostrum”, “surfboard in my undies”, “fear”, “stitches”,  “vulnerability” and… “clots” are just some of the things mothers remembered about that time as they looked quizzically at the photos of the Duchess and her newborn son.

Of course, there’s no particular way any woman should or shouldn’t look at any time in her life. Your face, your body, your baby, your choice.

What Meghan does is very specific to Meghan and let’s be honest, there are worse things to happen to a new mother than having a professional team of hair stylists, makeup artists and wardrobe people swarm your house and make you camera ready.

But we can probably all hold hands and agree that this is not the typical new mother aesthetic.

If you are one of the millions of women who haven’t ever had a baby and are looking at these photos – or any post-birth photos of a royal – well, we wanted to paint a slightly more realistic picture of what it’s like. Less pantyhose, more pads. Such. Big. Pads.

Behold:

Caroline: Day three after c-section baby number two, with boobs bigger than baby’s head…and definitely wearing black baggy yoga pants!

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Emma: This was one day after giving birth...third degree tear and had to waddle down to the special care nursery with my bladder bag from my catheter dangling out from my dressing gown. Also felt like I had to hold my belly up to stop my guts from falling out. Obviously still stoked with it all!

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Kate: I didn't have a photo with a shirt on for days. Actually I don't think I HAD a shirt on for days.

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Milena.

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Sarah: Brand new daughter, boobs out, sitting on a pad eating celebratory chocolate cake.

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Kelly: I am pretty sure this was the day after he was born I was soooo tired.

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Emily: This is actually about two weeks after...taken by my four-year-old. It’s my best angle...and my best boob.

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Vanessa: My first (and only!) birth. Note the hospital grade double breast pump, wearing a pumping bra and not much else!

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Emma: Hydrogel breast discs are life.
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Nadka: This is me in labour eating BBQ shapes.

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India: Still in ICU 48 hours post emergency caesarean. This was my first skin to skin with my son.

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Amanda: Three hours after second baby boy born. Dark puffy eyes and scared to wear any other colour apart from black.

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Tahlia: This was the day after I had my second.

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Caitlin: My first stole the beanie straight off her sister's head.

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Jess: Two or three days after in hospital still recovering from c-section MIL took this photo don’t know if lovingly looking at son or falling asleep.

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Jessica: Bags for days. Boob bigger than his head. Day two.

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Sami: Two days after I spent 24 hours in labour resulting in an emergency c-section and all I was thinking in this moment was... “Please, (person taking the photo) leave so I can sleep”! I think you can tell by the fake smile plastered on my face.

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Kim: My daughter isn't even in the photo but this is us home two days after my daughter was born, haven't showered and wearing an old crusty hoodie of my husbands, leggings as god knows what was going on downstairs and absolutely exhausted... even the dog is shattered!!

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Renee: 'Sleep when the baby sleeps'...well yeah you can in hospital but that changes once you get home.

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Claire:  This was my reality two days post birth in ICU after birthing complications. It was scary, but my story and I wouldn’t change it because I was a wonderful almost two-year-old to show for it.

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Jacqui: The morning after.

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Jess: Second day in hospital after my second bub. Managed to brush my hair which was a big thing.

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Tiffany: She wouldn’t for a second go in that horrible plastic crib and at this stage I hadn't slept for three days. She still hates her own bed and hasn’t slept too far away from me ever since. This is my favourite photo of all time.

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Bethan: Two days after baby number two was born. Exhausted but happy.

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Bethan: Five days after baby number one was born and leaving hospital, swollen and exhausted and terrified.

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Sheridan: I feel pressure to be really funny or sentimental, but really, my boobs hurt, my stitches hurt, but I’m really happy with how my hair looked. Plus I think the kids are cute.

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Nic: This was my first cuddle with my first born, 16 hours after she was born. She was six weeks early, super low apgar score, and I had a massive bleed during an emergency c-section, hence it taking SO long for my first cuddle. Longest 16 hours of my life.

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Marie: In the special care unit with my little premmie baby. So so tired and no idea what was going on.

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Jess: Baby number two. So tired. Hiding in my bedroom to avoid guests who have over stayed their welcome

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Kate: One day post; exhausted, sore and overwhelmed but so bloody in love!

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Rebecca: No sleep in days and over a litre of blood loss but feeling on top of the world.

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Alison: Gah! Day three with boy number two who didn’t know how to sleep and loved to cry but made our life complete.

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Mia: Baby number two. Two days after giving birth. Boob also hanging out. Trying to convince firstborn how great it was to have a sibling. Going well.

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Mia: Me, just got home from hospital with baby number three. Trying to bathe a slippery baby with my boob half hanging out of my maternity bra.

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Shelley: 24 hours after birth. What you can’t see is the condom ‘ice pack’ downstairs...

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Kate: Two days post partum.

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Peta: Two days post the quick birth of my third child, first daughter. This was taken before 7pm, I was in bed trying to sleep. My daughter was very tiny and required very regular feeding and I will admit I felt like it almost killed me!

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Kathryn: This was me two days after having my second daughter, excited to putting on recovery shorts and feeling like my insides were not about to fall out anymore!

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Mel: Two days in, with my first born. Sometime between day and night. Not picture: machines strapped to legs keeping blood pumping as I'm unable to move, recovering from emergency C (major surgery), while having to somehow know/learn/keep real life small human actually alive.

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Stace: Two days post partum with second babe. Four years since my last decent sleep.

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Brittany: Only photo with me in it of baby number two, two hours after the birth.

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Kaitlin: I think this was three days after c-section and I’d just managed getting out of bed for the first time!

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Brittany: Baby number one a couple of hours after.

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Kristina: No photo as no one thought to take a photo of me with bub until I took a selfie myself a week later! (Millions of photos with dad tho, typical!)

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Beck: I even put on weight on my nose. My hair was pretty much one big dreadlock. But how cute is that baby though?

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Lauren: No way to discreetly breast feed twins.

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Arlie: I don’t have any really if me and baby in hospital, the days following the birth were really challenging for me and I wasn’t up for a photo until day four. I took plenty of my daughter though and my husband. This is immediately after the birth of our daughter. It is such a raw and emotive moment. Just sheer relief and a little surreal that all the sudden this abstract thought of a baby that was a wriggle and kick inside you is a real life human in your arms. Definitely sleep deprived after labouring overnight and absolutely covered in bodily fluids.

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Lauren: Probably about 3-4 days after my c-section with baby number two.

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Talia: About 15 mins after birth of my second.

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Lisa: Day two of baby one. Tough birth, tiny Bub.

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Christine: Just born.

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Shara-Louise: Day two, baby number two.

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Lauren: Day two after number three and a night of limited sleep and some serious “I don’t know if I can do this tears...!” Strange how you can seriously doubt yourself even when you’ve done it before!!

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Rachel: Day two. Overwhelmed in more ways then you can poke a stick at.

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Sally:  One day after number one, in the nana nightie my mum brought me in because it had buttons for breastfeeding and I gave zero fucks how I looked. 

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Sally: Two days after number two when they told me I had to leave the hospital.

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Hannah: The day after.

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Brodie: This would have been a couple of days after number one arrived.

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Sally: Baby three. High as a kite on endone.

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Jodie: Being awake at 2am made better by this cutie.

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Alexandra: 12 years ago after my first in NICU.

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Megan: Couple of hours after giving birth to number three. No time for drugs and lost a couple of litres of blood, but totally worth it.

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Kimberley: Four days after c-section and couldn’t move from a recliner.

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Susannah: Me a few hours after giving birth to my second. Horrible birth. Horrific.

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Lisa: Day two at 9am after a c-section. First baby.

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