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Oh Me, Oh Mãe

What I Wore For My Four Night Hospital Stay After Giving Birth

So when I was in hospital I basically wore the same dress the whole time. After getting home I washed everything apart from it as I knew I wanted to photograph myself in it, though now I have decided to keep it as part of my ‘archive’ (I feel funny saying that even though I have so much work).

Anyways, it seems weird to continue my pregnancy project now I’m no longer pregnant, so with motherhood I have started a new project called Oh Me, Oh Mãe. I came up with the title whilst I was still pregnant as a play on the phrase oh me oh my. I tried with and without a comma and I seem to prefer it with one.

Mãe is mother in Portuguese (my husband is Portuguese and our baby is British-Portuguese, or Portuguese-British depending on who you ask). You pronounce mãe similarly to my, though you can listen to the pronunciation here and tell me I’m wrong. Maybe it’s more like myy.

A funny coincidence was that I listened to Devendra Banhart a lot in hospital and it wasn’t until getting home that I realised he has an album called Oh Me Oh My… It seems meant to be, though I was a bit discouraged as Tiago (my husband) had never heard the phrase oh me oh my before and didn’t like it for ages. Now he gets it and I think it is here to stay. If you ever need an honest non-artists opinion on something he is your guy!

So… the photo and hashtags (yes I think I am still doing the hashtags for some stuff, but I seem to be experimenting with other writing styles on different pictures).

What I Wore For My Four Night Hospital Stay After Giving Birth #WeHadPackedTheBagJustInCaseACoupleOfWeeksPreviouslyEvenThoughWeWerePlanningForAHomeBirth #IThoughtAtLeastEverythingIMightNeedEvenForHomeWouldBeInTheSamePlace #IKeptSayingWeShouldRevisitThemButWeNeverGotRoundToItEspeciallyAsSomeThingsWeNeededForEverydayUse #SoWhenICalledTheHospitalToSayMyWatersHadBrokeTheySaidToBringBagsInJustInCase #WeSpentHalfAnHourRushingRoundButIDidNotTakeItTooSeriously #INearlyDidNotPackThisDressAsItWasWhatIWasWearingInBedWhenMyWatersBroke #ItWasALittleWetAndItDidNotSmellSoIPutItInMyBagThinkingIWouldBeComingHomeSoonForMyHomeBirth #WellObviouslyIDidNotComeHomeAndWasInHospitalFor4Nights #AndILivedInThisDress #ICouldHaveAskedTiagoToBringMoreThingsButByTheTimeIThoughtAboutItIKnewMyStayWasComingToAnEnd #OriginallyIWasInHospitalDueToProblemsWithBreastfeedingAndThenBabyBGotJaundice #TheDressShowsColostrumStainsAndThenMilkStainsAfterMyMilkCameInOnDay3 #ItWouldHaveBeenEvenMessierThanThisButOftenISatWithMyDressOffToDoSkinToSkin #SoManyWomenTouchedMyBoobsDuringMyStayToHelpMeTryToFeedSoIDidNotCareAnymore #PlusAround6PeopleWereAtTheBirthPlusTiago #ItWasWeirdToSuddenlyBeAroundSoManyPeopleAfterHavingNotSeenMyFamilyFor3MonthsDueToCovid #MyCurtainWasNeverFullyClosedAsThereWasALightSwitchJustBehindItThatTheHospitalStaffUsed #SoPotentiallyPeopleCouldSeeInButIReallyDidNotCare #AfterAFewDaysIThoughtIBetterWearSomethingElseButItWasTooHot #TheOtherWomenOnTheWardProbablyJudgedMeForWearingAStainCoveredDress #ButSoManyCameAndWentBeforeMe #IDidNotWearMyWatchBecauseOfBreastfeeding #ISometimesWoreANursingBraButInTheBeginningIDidNotAndThenIUsedBreastPadsOnceMyMilkCameIn #IHadMyEyeMaskOnMyHeadAllTheTimeAndEvenAfterIGotHome #TheJokeWasIWasNotSleepingThoughAndIStillAmNotReally #IBoughtItAsItWasOnARecommendedHospitalListButIAlsoThoughtItWouldBeGoodForHomeAsIFindItHardToSleep #ItWasProbablyTheMostUsefulThingInMyHospitalBagInTheEndAndIAmUsingItAtHome #AndThenIWasGladThatIWoreMySandalsAndNotTrainers #SoEasyToJustSlipO

A few outtakes

(Though I’m thinking maybe it could be a set of images, I don’t know?)

I’m calling this one ‘zombie mum’ – can you tell I hadn’t slept much in the week+ since she was born? I don’t think I really slept for another week.
A classic head to waist-ish shot.
Mmm armpits… though I like the closeup as it kind of looks like a face – two eyes on my boobs and a bit of roundness around my belly as a mouth.

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The whole picture has a similar vibe to my 21st April 2017 (Today’s Look) picture, which I did think about when I was doing the shoot. Different flat and a post-birth belly instead of a hot water bottle, toothpaste stains on one and colostrum/milk stains on the other. With 21st April 2017… it was the first time that I’d wrote a long piece of text to go with a photo, which definitely started to help me feel more confident with my own words.

21st April 2017 (Today’s Look) from Don’t Take Me Out Of My Melons (2017-18).

Old top that I don’t like wearing in public anymore as it took me too long to realise that if I lean over I flash my bra/boobs, trousers that I wore out once in public but felt self-conscious wearing so they are now in the homewear only pile (with toothpaste stains as I can’t seem to brush my teeth without making a mess anymore), 2 pairs of slippers (one – my pair – not really visible, boyfriend’s pair visible), no makeup (haven’t worn any makeup since July, wore makeup twice last year – once for a costume party and once for 1 wedding out of 3 that I attended), brushed hair that I washed yesterday (it’s usually every 4ish days), hairy legs as I haven’t ‘dealt’ with them since February (I went on holiday to warmer climates) and a hot water bottle for period pain as I try to avoid painkillers as much as possible (except when it comes to tooth pain – wisdom tooth removal is not pleasant). 

Also hidden: Bracelet that I made when I was a teenager, a watch (boyfriend’s one that he gave to me after my similar one broke – which was identical to one I bought in 2009, my parents also wear similar watches), a bra (fairly old, I hate bra shopping so I usually just wear the ones that my mum gets me for Christmas), armpit hair (my skin is sensitive, shaving is too much work and epilating hurts so I’m going to try to embrace the neatly trimmed armpit hair look this summer whilst being self-conscious about it), 2 x temporary medicated fillings (I’ve never been to the dentist as many times as I have this year), permanent fillings (wish I had looked after my teeth better – can’t be bothered to go and count them in the mirror), pants (I’ve never been into small underwear, these ones I don’t wear very often but I need to wash my clothes – they are meant to be not be visible through clothes but I still see them under the new trousers I bought so I’m too self-conscious to wear those too), pubic hair (I’ve never understood the prepubescent look/can’t be bothered with more pain), menstrual cup (wish I had bought one years before I did) and a liner (because the cup still isn’t perfect).

I guess walking around loads in front of people in a massively stain covered dress is something I wouldn’t have done pre-baby, but since having B I have changed so much already. I plan to do a photo and text about that soon.

Well you probably won’t catch me walking around Liverpool in it either, but my clothes definitely have more stains on them and I care less. With this project I don’t want to change how I look before doing a shoot if I’m suddenly in the mood. So far that has meant mainly just not retying my hair/brushing it, and my hair misbehaving has ruined a lot of shoots in the past so I guess they’re going to be slightly irritating pictures (I call myself a lazy perfectionist – love perfection, but get annoyed trying to achieve it).

I love it when everything is in ‘the right place’ in a photo and you’ve just got a bit of hair that is doing its own thing, and continues to do its own thing no matter how many times you brush it, restyle it (I don’t style my hair – but I guess more retying it and trying a lower ponytail or something) or try to tuck it away (that is a common approach of mine).

It seems weird posting pictures where there is a big focus on my boobs and all the stains on and around them. I was feeling really awkward about the nudity in my pregnancy project, but since giving birth I also care less. My work is not sexual and my boobs are finally being used for the purpose that I have them for. I remember in high school being mocked for having no boobs (two paracetamols on an ironing board, haha) and me saying ‘well they’re only made for babies anyways’ whilst crying on the inside.

(I feel the need to say I can totally understand why people choose not to breastfeed/use their breastmilk – it is definitely a journey, and if you don’t have kids or don’t want them then enjoy not being covered in stains and having sore nipples).

Rewritten 2003 diary entry for my 2013 project Your Mind & Body Is All That You’ve Got II.

I feel like this sums up my feelings about my misbehaving hair and having no boobs – I was happy having none though (if people had left me alone about it) and I still don’t think having boobs suits me. Time was a club that I don’t think I ever went to.

(I just thought about that calculator thing where the answer upside down is boobless).

I was not sure whether or not to start posting this new project whilst I’m still trying to finish posting my pregnancy project on Instagram, but I think I need to get on with it otherwise I’m going to be months behind with posting it – and B is already growing so fast!

I think that’s it for now… Thanks for reading 🙂


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