Life

Marie Louise McConville: Unrealistic celebrity post-birth displays are putting new mums under pressure

Kate Middleton was criticised for her flawless appearance on the steps of St Mary's Hospital in London just seven hours after giving birth to her son, Louis. Photo/PA.

There's no doubt about it, motherhood is a tough gig.

No matter how many books you read or classes you take, nothing can prepare you.

Of course, I don't think it would be quite so bad if we didn't constantly compare ourselves to so-called celebrities.

Unfortunately, nowadays, it doesn't take long for a new mother to feel under pressure to live up to her counterparts on telly or social media.

Instead of spending those first few precious hours after giving birth bonding with their newborns, it seems new mums are now under pressure to snap back into shape, apply their make-up and straighten their hair in a bid to look perfect.

And is it any wonder?

Just last month Kate Middleton came under fire for appearing on the steps of St Mary's Hospital in London looking pristine as she introduced her newborn son to the world.

With shiny locks and a glowing complexion, the new mother was dressed in a designer dress and heels - just seven hours after giving birth.

Of course, with a top stylist and hairdresser by her side in hospital, she was always going to have a head start on the rest of us.

Her appearance immediately prompted a backlash amid criticism she was promoting an unrealistic message and I couldn't agree more.

It's frightening that any new mother would see this and think this is what is expected of her just hours after giving birth.

However Kate is not the only one guilty of this.

Just a few days ago, Faryal Makhdoom Khan, wife of boxer, Amir Khan posted a photo of herself on social media a week after giving birth.

Looking incredibly thin, she asked fans what they thought.

Immediately, she came under fire from people who told her to get off social media and go spend time with her new baby - and just right.

Do these women have no idea what kind of damage they could be doing?

At a time when many new mothers are struggling with body image issues and post natal depression, these so called role models really need to be more responsible.

Personally, for me, I was grey, weak, tired, emotional and in a lot of pain after both my births and it took me weeks to get over them.

I had swollen ankles and fingers and my body did some really disgusting things - but that's the reality.

It's time these celebrities started being honest about childbirth and motherhood, it's the least expectant mothers and new mothers deserve.

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So, how was it for you then?

Summer came and went this week in true Norn Iron style and for once, the McConville clan actually took advantage.

The minute the first ray of sunshine appeared, off we went up the north coast to enjoy some holiday fun in Portrush.

And what a great spot it was what with Barry's amusements, sausages and chips on the beach, dipping our toes in the water and then ice cream, it was perfect.

We had a great time and we'll be back.

Now all we need is more sun - so what are the chances?

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Competition

With the school holidays just around the corner, kids everywhere are looking forward to a summer of fun – so how do you fancy winning a family pass to one of Northern Ireland's top family attractions?

Streamvale Farm, located in Dundonald in east Belfast, offers children and their parents not just all the fun of the farm but a fantastic family experience.

Kids can start their day getting up close to some of the cutest animals around by enjoying cuddle time with some newborn chicks and puppies before moving into the barn where they can feed the little lambs and bunny rabbits.

There's also the opportunity to visit the other residents of the farm, including the ponies, alpacas and piglets, before visitors can watch the cows being milked.

Enjoy free tractor rides and barrel rides or you can check out the dog agility demonstrations.

And there are fabulous indoor and outdoor play areas, pedal Go-Karts and Puppy Play Time.

I have two family passes for Streamvale Farm to give away to two lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a pass, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is 12 noon, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

(Q) In what area of east Belfast is Streamvale Farm located?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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The winners of The Liar's Girl competition are Fiona Loughran from Dunmurry, Kay McDonagh from Omagh, Kathleen Lavery from Portadown, Margaret McCarthy from Kircubbin and Anne McLoughlin, from Belfast.

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