Photoshopped Postpartum

I f*ing love Beyonce. She is amazing. She is a queen. On stage and off, with her equally worshipful husband or solo, Beyonce is a model of intelligence, self-confidence, passion, hard work, artistic vision and flawless execution. Having undergone fertility treatment myself, I adore that both she and Jay have been forthright about their struggles to become pregnant. When I heard they were having twins after having Blue Ivy the same year we had our first born/singleton, I joked with my husband that he should offer Jay-Z some parenting advice via twitter. I felt like we had something in common, a significant shared life experience. Then, I remembered she was Beyonce and shook my head at myself.
When I first saw the picture of Bey with her twins making their one-month debut, my reaction was: (a) Yay, we get to see the babies!; and (b) What’s with the hippie/bridal/beach theme? Then, I started remembering what my life was like during the first few months of twin motherhood. What a hilarious comparison, I thought to myself, as I created a collage and posted it on Instagram and my Facebook page, both of which link to this blog.
I hadn’t planned to write a post about Beyonce’s picture with her twins (“The Pic”) but the more likes my photo collage received the more I wanted to write something substantive, rather than just making a sarcastic comment via Instagram.
Beyonce, like all of us, may take and post whatever postpartum pictures she wants to. She does not owe her fans, or women generally, a message of mutual support or camaraderie. Being a pop star and a billionaire does not make her responsible for providing helpful or hopeful imagery for new moms, particularly moms struggling with the (usually) overwhelming experience of having multiple newborns at once. Likewise, she has no obligation to consider the 1 in 7 (or more) women who suffer from some kind of postpartum mental illness, be it depression, anxiety, OCD or bipolar disorder, to name a few.
But she did have an opportunity. She had an opportunity to show the world a realistic, relatable image of new twin motherhood. This is not what she did. The Pic presents an unachievable, not relatable image of early motherhood and, particularly, early twin motherhood. It is essentially photoshopped postpartum. It is an opportunity lost.
How much more positive and fun would it be to see a picture of something real from the Carter family’s first month with their twins? Beyonce holding up the ridiculous pillow you have to use for tandem nursing, making a WTF? face. Or, a picture of the gazillion bottles required for back to back to back feedings of two newborns. Or, one of Bey and Jay all but passed out on their couch, each wearing a burp cloth and holding a baby over their shoulder.
I realize she has a brand to maintain, a brand of glamor, fantasy and flawlessness. But she has also endeared herself to many of us by being open, honest and funny. By revealing, if only for a moment, that she has enjoyed some of the same goofy things we enjoy (see using your foot as a telephone; wearing ugly Christmas sweaters) and experienced some of our same heartbreaks (see Glory; Lemonade; 4:44). Personally, I wish she had done something open, honest and funny with her debut picture of her twins. Regardless, I still think she’s an amazing woman. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see something less beach goddess-y and more poopy diaper-y down the road. There’s no predicting anything when it comes to Queen Bey.


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