The maternity shoot. The newborn shoot. Both of these are very fashionable. I see them posted on Facebook all the time, and a small part of me feels envious, even resentful. Every time.
I didn’t do either of these. I have hundreds of photos of RaRa, but I feature in almost none of them. I don’t have a single nice photo of myself with my baby.
I had a very good reason for not wanting to do a maternity or a newborn shoot. My skin is a disaster, and I don’t want anyone to see.
This is nothing new. I got my first pimples at the freakishly young age of seven, and it went downhill from there. I was 12 when I was put onto my first course of Roaccutane, and I’ve been on countless courses since. Before I came off the Pill, I was on a chronic low dose of a Roaccutane generic. Nothing else worked.
The first zits soon appeared after I stopped taking contraception, and it only got worse when I fell pregnant. Now my epidermis is faced with a double whammy: not only can I not take Roaccutane (its safety while breastfeeding has not been established), but contraception I’m taking – the mini-pill, which prevents pregnancy while not impacting negatively on breastmilk production – is an acne bomb.
I hate the way I look most days. I feel ugly, and because I’m now in a category where it’s permissible to look like shit, I’ve let myself go. Before I go to the office, I put on the barest minimum of makeup. I live in leggings. I keep cover sticks in my car to plaster over the zits, though I know it probably makes them even more obvious. I am pretty sure that people talk behind my back. It’s not normal for a woman in her 40s to have skin like a 16 year old – for all the wrong reasons. (“You should pamper yourself,” my mother-in-law told me when I last visited. I know what this is code for.)
RaRa has almost certainly inherited this particularly shitty problem. I hope that by the time she gets her first pimple, there will be a treatment other than a drug that causes long-term liver damage.
In the mean time, I can have decent skin, or I can breastfeed my baby. But I can’t have both.