Bringing a child into this world is an amazing, awe-inspiring experience and a great privilege. Still, you will agree with me that the actual ordeal is not one that most mothers actually look forward to. When you climb into that boxing ring known as the labour ward (or C-section) the last thing on your mind is how you look. Still, one gem of advice a friend of mine gave me when packing my hospital bag was, “carry some eyeliner – you don’t want to look like a train wreck when visitors come.”

It may at first have sounded vain, but I totally agreed and it was definitely part of my plan! After several hours of what felt like being run over by a truck backwards, I knew I would be looking a hot mess. Nowadays with snap-happy hubbies and relatives uploading your post-delivery photos in real time onto social networking sites, it’s not just about how you look for the visitors. Back then you could at least shower, wash your face and slap some lip balm on before people were allowed in. In 2012 pictures of your bruised, traumatized self will appear online before you even have time to figure out what just happened. Now that I’m about to go through this again, I’m well aware of what I need in that bag!

Since childbirth is something we literally have no control over, I personally feel good to at least  have some control of how I look. As women, when we look put together, we feel that much more together. I know I’ll be looking tired, haggard, discoloured, and sweaty, not to mention puffy-eyed. First time around, I had no idea what to expect, but I wanted to be prepared for any eventuality.

A few hours before checking into the hospital, I opted to wear a little of my SB full-coverage foundation, especially on my cheeks, nose and under-eye area. I applied my trusted SB pot concealer under my eyes and set it all with a dusting of powder. This would keep my bags and puffy eyes at bay. I also made sure my brows were neat and filled them in with my trusty ‘Changa’ eyeshadow and angled brush. I knew it would have the staying power of several hours and still look fresh.  A light sweep my Terracotta blush gave me that natural new-mommy glow.  Instead of gloss, went with vaseline to provide moisture to my lips. Finally waterproof mascara and a very thin line of SB Kohl in black rimmed my eyes to counter the redness and fatigue.

When I saw the pictures I was so glad that I had taken the time to care for me before my little one came. I was overjoyed to have him but I was seriously dazed and shell-shocked by the ordeal. You couldn’t tell from the photos, though – sitting there was a calm, flushed, glowing version of myself  holding this gorgeous, precious newborn. Moms-to-be, what beauty items will you be packing in your hospital bag? I know what’s going to be in mine, come November!

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