Reader Helen's first post-birth snap
You've just been through physical hell. Your hormones are all over the place. You're probably in tears, possibly of joy, possibly something to do with forceps. Does this sound like a point in your life when you want to pose for a photograph? I'm guessing not.
But the thing is, as dreadful as you will look, you will keep the pictures of yourself holding your new baby. You will show them to lots of people. You will actually treasure them. So why not make it easier on yourself and try and look a bit less like an extra from Shaun Of The Dead?
'I remember the pictures well. Too well, in fact', my friend Claire told me. 'My mother-in-law put one up as the wallpaper on her computer. My skin was actually green from the morphine-induced nausea, and I'm sure I had blood on my face. I ended up telling her to take it down.'
Karen didn't have the zombie problem. Her photo issue was a little more 'intimate'...
'Edward was born so quickly that I hadn't managed to get out of my clothes, but as I wanted skin-to-skin contact I whipped my top off without noticing that my husband was snapping away. I believe he got some great breast shots that he later shared with his father. Cringe!'
Helen had more than just relatives to worry about. 'We were snapped by the local paper. I look like I've been on an all-night bender and my new baby looks like he has one eye. They even got his name wrong! Not our proudest moment...'
So how you can you make those vital 'welcome to the world' shots passable enough to upload to Facebook, share on Twitter or even email to your mother-in-law? I'm not suggesting a J-Lo style team of stylists appears in the delivery room before the proud new dad switches the camera on, but try our top tips for looking good in your post-birth pictures, and they'll be on the mantelpiece for years to come...
1. Before you go into hospital, think about what you'll wear when you give birth. There is such a thing as practical and attractive. And although you won't care about the latter while you're actually in labour, you might afterwards. Visit Babeswithbabies.com and that old XXL 'Guinness' T-shirt of your husband's won't seem like such a good idea any more.
2. Put your boobs away. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby is really important, but it's easy enough to position your top so you're not giving the lens a load of nipple. It might seem overly modest considering what you've just been though but you'll regret it if your photos are more 'Page Three' than 'Stage Three'.
3. You'll probably have a wash-bag in the room with you. I'm not suggesting you apply make-up, but how about a spritz to your face? Try the Body Shop's Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz, £8 for an instant pick-me-up to refresh and smooth. You'll feel better as well as look a bit brighter for your close-up.
4. While you're there, pull out a hairbrush. Sweat, blood and god-knows-what will make your hair all matted and slapped onto your head. It'll take 30 seconds to smooth it back to its former glory and you'll thank yourself for it. You might even have time for a blast of dry shampoo if it's been a long haul, like Klorane Oatmilk Gentle Dry Shampoo Spray, £2.98 from escentual.com.
5. Finally, light reflects well off shiny lips and instantly prettifies your face. So dab on a little tinted balm like MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner SPF15, £11 from maccosmetics.co.uk.
Then smile at the camera – and think about the utterly amazing thing you've just done - brought a new person into the world.
Do you have any ashen faced, exhausted photos you still treasure? Want to share?