‘Get my makeup bag!’ I was almost fully dilated. My husband looked back, confused.’: Woman shamed for giving birth in ‘full glam makeup,’ claims ‘it’s your labor, do what makes you happy’

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“On February 14, 2016, after being pregnant for nine whole months, I was more than ready to meet my baby girl already. But believe it or not, I wanted to wait one more day.

I woke up that day just knowing she was coming. I knew it was going to be the last day I would be pregnant. It’s a strange, unexplainable feeling, and it was making me extremely nervous. I looked at my belly (that was finally showing, in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy), and told my baby girl she better hang tight until tomorrow. The 15th, my actual due date.

There were two reasons I wanted her to hang tight for another day. The first reason is that when she grows up and finds the love of her life, I don’t want her to receive only one ‘combo gift’ (for both Valentine’s Day and her birthday). I want her to be able to celebrate two special days on two separate days. The second reason being that mommy and daddy would like to also continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day and go on romantic dates without any guilt that it is also our baby girl’s birthday. Besides, the next day was President’s Day, and I already knew our girl would be special.

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

After having a nice day with my family, and enjoying Valentine’s Day, my husband, Harris, and I got home around 11:30 p.m. My husband went to bed, as he had to be up early for work. I went into my makeup room, took off my makeup, and started applying my skincare. It wasn’t until midnight that I felt the worst cramp ever, and realized that it was my very first contraction.

My daughter was already a good listener. She listened to me when I told her not to come out until the 15th. She didn’t try a minute sooner! I immediately started timing the contractions and how severe they were getting. They started out about 25 minutes apart, but man, oh man, when they came, there was no breathing, no moving, no making a single sound! I didn’t want to wake up my husband because let’s face it, men aren’t like women. They can’t function without sleep. I knew this would be the last night he would get adequate sleep for a very long time.

I went to the basement and started pacing around. Then, I got on all fours and crawled around at every contraction because crawling made the pain bearable. After a couple of hours, my contractions were now 12-14 minutes apart and becoming stronger with every one.

Around 3:00 a.m., I could no longer take it. I started searching for things to ease labor pains on Google. They said to listen to music that soothes your soul, take a warm bath, and do something you love like read a book, or paint. After listening to a couple of songs, I wanted to smash my phone into the wall. Okay, time for the next great idea. A ‘nice warm bath.’ Lying in the bathtub, I stared at my belly poking atop the water. I saw my baby literally look like she was wrestling inside my body. Her entire body, through my skin, just moving, balling up, and rolling over from side to side. After watching this for about 5 minutes, I was freaking out!

I thought to myself, ‘Okay, this isn’t working! I’ll shower before the next contraction hits and do my makeup!’ I proceed to bury my head into the water and low and behold, as I am under the water, another contractions hits! And this one felt longer and stronger than any of the others. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t do anything! I thought to myself, ‘Is this how I am going to die? In a bathtub? Please God, help save me from the embarrassment of drowning in a tub!’ Dramatic? Maybe. But any woman who has had a baby can understand where I’m coming from. Nonetheless, the contraction was finally over and the first thing I did was reach over for my phone to check the time. At this point, my contractions were only 10 minutes apart.

I hate hospitals. I always have. Hospitals give me anxiety and make me feel extremely uneasy, which is why I wanted to wait out the majority of my labor at home. I decided to call my doctor to see what she had to say and just as I thought, she said I was perfectly okay with waiting at home until my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. I didn’t want to wake up my husband, so I decided to wait until his alarm clock went off at 6:30 a.m.

In the meantime, I finished up my shower, got dressed, fixed my hair, and did my makeup lightly all while stopping in between to get on all fours to ease the pain from the contractions. I finally heard my husband’s alarm clock ringing, went upstairs, and whispered, ‘Babe?’ unlike any other time. He literally jumped up like he knew what I was going to tell him.

‘What!? What’s happening? Are you okay?’ he practically shouted. ‘We’re having the baby today,’ I whispered. I was smiling, but he couldn’t see. It was still dark and the lights were off. ‘Oh my god!’ he jumped out of bed. ‘Do I have time to brush my teeth and get dressed, or should we just go? Wait, do you need help getting dressed? What should I do?’ I laughed and assured him that he had enough time to do all of the above, and I didn’t need any help. I turned the lights on and he saw that I was already dressed, showered, and ready to meet our baby girl.

My husband was running around like a maniac, rushing back and forth to the car, getting my hospital bag, and necessities loaded into the trunk, making sure to check on me every 30 seconds. My contractions started getting even closer together. I called my sister (who lives five houses down from me), and told her it was time. She said she would meet us in the hospital once I was admitted and told me to pick up my mother on my way. I looked at the time and realized my contractions were now only 3 minutes apart!

I looked at my husband and calmly said, ‘I hope we don’t get stuck in traffic or I will probably have the baby in the car.’ He started panicking and we hopped in the car. We picked up my mother and she ran in with a blanket and a thermos of tea for me. She told me it would help ease my pain. She sat in the seat behind me and was rubbing my face, massaging my head during every contraction. Although it was the sweetest thing and she was trying to help make me feel better, I didn’t want anyone touching me and I just wanted to scream. But I just shut up and tolerated it. The contractions were 1.5-2 minutes apart and I couldn’t catch my breath. Luckily, we didn’t hit any traffic, as it was President’s Day and the roads were clear! We got to the hospital in 15 minutes flat (usually a 25 minute drive!).

My husband ran me inside the hospital. Lucky for us, our hospital offered valet for expecting parents. He left the car with valet and rushed me to labor and delivery. The nurses rushed me in and started taking my vitals, but they couldn’t. My contractions were so severe they were knocking me out. I was adamant on not receiving any epidural or any medication, so they wanted to respect that. I wanted to do this all naturally. They began administering the IV and told me it was 100% my decision to skip the epidural. However, my contractions were so severe they were causing me to blackout. They told me if the contraction came on and I was unconscious and couldn’t push when it was time, they would have to perform an emergency C-Section. That’s when I decided to move forward with the epidural and just be safe.

At 7:30 a.m., I was already 7cm dilated and only had 3 more to go so, I figured it would only be a couple more hours. I was so relaxed after the epidural and couldn’t feel a thing from the waist down. However, the epidural slowed down my progress drastically. I wasn’t worried; I was surrounded by love, so I had all the time in the world. My mother, two sisters, husband, and niece were all there in my room cheering me on and I was in a great place. Little did I know that it was about to get really painful.

During the time I was waiting to be dilated enough to push, I kept fainting! A little background story about me, I don’t do well with medication. When I take any sort of medication, I faint. My body cannot handle it, so it just shuts down. The epidural was causing me to black out and the nurses had to keep rushing in to put the oxygen mask back on my face and ‘bring me back.’ My husband was next to me, worried sick. He knows I faint when I have medicine, but I’ve never fainted while already laying down!

The nurses were all very alarmed and didn’t know what to do. Moments later, I started to feel a very painful sensation in my stomach. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it felt familiar. That’s when I realized the epidural was completely wearing off! I was feeling the worst contractions of my life!!! I wanted to yell, I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, BUT I didn’t want to make everyone around me miserable. I tried watching TV. I couldn’t focus. I tried reading and it made me want to throw the book across the room. I kept thinking to myself, ‘What can I do to help me pass this time?’ Aha! Google told me to ‘do something you love’ and I LOVE doing my makeup! I looked at my husband and asked him to go get my makeup bag from the car. He looked at me with a very confused look on his face, but I told him to just trust me.

My husband rushed back with my makeup bag. I used my good old Neutrogena makeup wipes and took off any trace of makeup that I already had on my face, and started to apply a brand new face of makeup to make the time pass by quickly. It was working!!! I was so focused on my eyeliner coming out straight that I was ignoring the pain! Of course, contractions have no manners, so they kept interrupting, but I was in a good place again. I was happy that I decided to listen to Google’s suggestion of doing what I love. After all, I am a makeup artist.

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi
Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

It took me almost 4 hours to do what normally takes me 45 minutes because I was interrupted so many times by the contractions. It was around 6:00 p.m. that I finally finished. Upon putting on my last lash, my doctor came in the room and said, ‘Okay guys. It’s time.’

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi
Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

I pushed for a few minutes, and at 6:19 p.m., our beautiful girl, Sofia Alaya, was born. I was so in love and so happy! Through all the pushing, sweat, tears, and my husband caressing my face for comfort, my makeup stayed in place. The great side effect of my labor experience was really nice pictures.

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi
Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

After giving birth, I felt this joy that I have never felt before and instantly fell more in love with my husband. I loved this little baby so much that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. My sisters stayed in the room with me the entire time, and my mom was in the hall watching my niece. Everyone was crying hysterically and I just couldn’t stop staring at this beautiful bundle of joy that was my flesh and blood. I couldn’t believe this amazing little human was mine! I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t stop kissing her. I was on cloud 9.

A few days later, I posted a picture of my baby and I on Instagram. People were shocked that I had full glam makeup in labor. I already had a pretty big following (around 80,000 followers or so), so I knew that a ton of people would see it, but I didn’t think it would go be re-posted! Major platforms began posting my images as a meme with the caption ‘me while in labor.’ Although I received many positive comments, many were hateful:

‘She is so vain.’

‘She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.’

‘I feel bad for that kid. Her mom only cares about her looks.’

And so on.

I have something to say to those people: You don’t know my journey, you don’t know what I went through, and who are you to judge me for my labor experience? When an artist paints during labor, you commend them for doing something they love, when a dancer dances during labor, you all love the idea that she is doing what she loves, but when a makeup artist does her makeup during labor, you mom-shame her? Contradicting, isn’t it?

I didn’t do my makeup because I cared about the way I would look, I don’t wear a single speck of makeup on my face 90% of the time. The only time I do is when I am recording beauty tutorials or going out, so clearly, I am not afraid of not wearing any. My entire social media following has seen my videos where I am either starting with a bare face and applying makeup, or starting with a full face of makeup and showing how I take it off. I don’t care about makeup to the point where I would endanger my child’s wellbeing just to ‘look a certain way.’ I made sure it was okay with both my doctors and nurses and when I got the green light, I started concealing away!

Since the birth of my daughter, I have seen many others do the same thing during labor and it makes me so happy! Who cares what anyone thinks, do what works for you! The day a woman goes into labor it should all about them, it’s not about making anyone else happy! So, if contouring and lipstick makes you happy, and it’s okay with your doctor, then do your thing! And if makeup isn’t your thing, find whatever is your thing. A long as it’s safe, do it! Who knows, maybe I’ll do full on SFX or drag makeup during my next child’s birth. *wink*

Life with a child is the best version of life I have ever experienced. Our daughter is the light of our lives. She makes every moment beautiful and she is the happiest little girl in the world. Just like her momma, she loves makeup! She is obsessed with all things beauty and her favorite thing to do is her ‘makeup.’ We bought her a little makeup kit of her own (plastic makeup of course, not the real thing) and she pretends to do her makeup all day long. Any time she sees me recording, or getting ready, she runs to me with her little pretend kit and starts following my movements. She is the brightest little girl.

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi
Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

She is everything my husband and I ever wanted and she makes us proud every single day. At just 3.5 years old now, she is already on a third grade reading level! Once upon a time, the Internet trolls told me I was a crappy mom for doing what I love during labor. Those same trolls are now asking me what my secret is to raising such a smart kid.

Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

For any expecting moms or moms-to-be out there, do not let anyone take your joy during one of the most important moments of your life. Whether you have a newborn or are expecting one, enjoy every single minute. It’s your pregnancy, your labor, your birth, and your child. Do the things that make you happy and be confident while doing them!”

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Courtesy of Alaha Karimi

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Alaha Karimi of Long Island, New York. You can follow her journey on Instagram and YouTube. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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