Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brazilian Pregnancy Story from Damaris Palmer

I am Brazilian. When Brazilian women give birth they look beautiful. They get their hair done professionally and most even get their makeup done professionally AND their little friend down there gets the ultimate Brazilian wax. Women can plan this ahead of time because most of them get c-sections, like 90% of them.

I have ONE Brazilian friend that did not have a c-section. She was living in the U.S at the time and her doctor was not thrilled about elective c-sections. They compromised and he agreed to induce her labor a couple days before her due date. Her induction was scheduled at 10:00am so naturally she woke up at 4:00am to get ready. She took a long shower, blow dried her hair, spent at least an hour on her make-up and off she went to the hospital looking completely glamorous.

I'm a disgrace to the reputation of beautiful Brazilian women. After 45 hours of labor (4 of pushing) my first child, Enzo, came out to the ugliest looking mom that ever existed. I looked like a truck had run me over, multiple times.

With baby number two things may actually look a little better. I'm having a hard time falling asleep these days so I stay up soaking in the bath giving myself body scrubs. Two days ago I even waxed my legs, just the bottom half because that's all my belly will allow me to maneuver. I thought about attempting to give myself a Brazilian wax for half a second but since I haven't even been able to see that part of my body for about 3 months now I decided to put that thought on hold. I've given myself facials and yesterday I even dyed my hair. Today I might go get a pedicure, we'll see how motivated I get.

I'm not promising this baby anything. She just might come out to a very shabby looking mother. In fact I can almost guarantee it. I'm o.k with that though. I'm o.k with her starting out her life knowing that women shouldn't have to wake up at 4:00am the day that they're giving birth so they can get their lipstick on just right. But if I happen to look good[ish] I won't complain either.

Maybe I'll wear long dangling earrings this time.

From Damaris Palmer of Bebeloo.


Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I'll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I'd love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to


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Blogger Heather said...

I love this post, so interesting!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:52:00 AM EST  
Blogger Design Mom said...

I love hearing about birth-related traditions in other countries.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger The Dragonfly said...

Fascinating the different things women of different cultures do when brining little ones into the world!

If that is a picture of you at the top of this post, you are already beautiful enough for this baby!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM EST  
Blogger Damaris said...

thanks for posting and thanks for the comments.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 11:31:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

damaris, you are beautiful! i love this post. it would be nice to have that kind of refreshment of being kept up with grooming when that little one arrives-- because there's probably not a good chance that i'd be able to keep up with it much once they got here. hee hee.
thanks for sharing your story!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 11:53:00 AM EST  
Blogger Michelle said...

Gabrielle, I would love to read more of these types of posts in your series. While I find the whole series interesting, I find it so fascinating to read about other cultures birth traditions. Absolutely lovely post.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12:02:00 PM EST  
Anonymous beyond said...

oh how i love birth and pregnancy stories from other cultures! damaris, you look gorgeous in that photo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I have never been pregnant, but I'm contemplating motherhood within the next year or two. I consider these pregnancy story posts my "research" to get myself ready.

This particular post is very interesting to me, as elective c-sections sound like the way to go (for me), but it is so unpopular here in America. The fact that it is a preferred method in another country makes me question the American doctor's hesitance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 12:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Calotype Photography said...

Love that picture! You look dreamy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 1:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Cissy said...

Hilarious--I had no idea that Brazilian women were so fastidious! I wish I had lovelier post-partum pictures, but somehow full makeup and hair are never priorities when I'm in labor.

I do get a pedicure close to my due date, though. If everything else looks like a wreck, at least I can see pretty toes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 1:33:00 PM EST  
Blogger Christy said...

Oh my god I can't believe that - I mean, I believe you, I just can't imagine getting ready for birth! I had 20 hours of labor, then an emergency c-section, and I looked like I was hit by a train! I'm pregnant now too...this time, the c-section is planned, but I'm NOT putting on makeup first. Maybe after, for the photos! Best of luck to you with this one!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 2:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

I adore Damaris!! She and I lived in the same ward in Massachusetts when she delivered her first baby, Enzo. I well recall the days (and it was days) she was in labor before she delivered him. But regardless of what she says, she was (and is) one of the most beautiful mothers I know!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 3:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Sarah said...

I am pregnant and every Wednesday post I read, just makes me cry. I love the stories. Such an amazing idea.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 3:39:00 PM EST  
Blogger Damaris said...

thanks wendy and thanks everyone else for the nice comments.

ps. I had my baby back in September. I didn't look great. I looked, well, ya know. But it didn't matter because i gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. There was enough beauty in the room to compensate for my shabby look.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 3:40:00 PM EST  
Anonymous KateB said...

Love it! I have a friend who organized to have her hair dyed on her due-date because she didn't want the baby "to meet her with dark roots" - something I can't seem to stay on top of normally, let alone right before having a baby.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 7:32:00 PM EST  
Blogger Angela Noelle said...

This was an irresistable read.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger patricia said...

I´m a brazilian mother, and I live in Brazil, and unfortunatelly Brazil has a high c-section rate - much higher than International Health organizations would recommend.
But, I must say, I don´t believe brazilian women get c-sections because they want to look beautiful - in my personal experience it happens mainly beacause many doctors in Brazil prefer to perform c-sections instead of waiting for a natural birth, despite the risk (for the mother and the baby) - especially on the private health system where they get paid the same for 2 hours of surgery or 24/48 h of labour...
I think that´s a tragedy for women who many times are pushed to a undesired (and unnecessary) surgery.
Some feminist organizations have been trying to change this scenary, by giving proper orientation to mothers and the government also has recently launched a public campaign
stimulating natural birth.
I´m happy you have such a lovely birth history, but I wouldn´t like other women thinking brazilian c-sections are a "brazilian tradition" when in fact it´s a health problem.
sorry I wrote too much and in a such poor english!

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 9:08:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering where in the world you got these "facts". I, myself am also brazilian and i have never heard of these things.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 3:47:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raised in North America, I gave birth in Italy and the cultural differences regarding giving birth were immense! For one, the Italians don't "believe in" epidurials...They're very difficult to organize and I had to hire someone privately. LOL. He never got a chance to drug me up because the hospital staff wouldn't tell me how dilated I was until I was 8 cm! It's no wonder that elective caesarians are very high there too. Perhaps not as extreme as Brazil...But steadily climbing and over 35% for sure. (I think the North American average is somewhere around 18%).

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 10:21:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this link:

If you click on the map and look at Brazil, it states that up to 80% of births in private clinics there are Caesarian. Funny that the map doesn't have Italian statistics...Not funny at all; given that Doctors in Italy get paid MORE if they perform a Caesarian vs. natural birth.


: )

Incredible just how much money drives all of this.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 10:33:00 PM EST  
Blogger Mary Elizabeth Liberty said...

huh, so interesting, it would be interesting to hear if this happens in more countries than Brazil, are we the outliers or the norm here in the states?

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 2:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Adriana PS said...

Whenever one talks about their culture, they have to be careful not to generalize. I'm from Brazil, and, although I'm not a mom yet, I have a huge family, so I know a lot of Brazilian moms and I can guarantee you that they did not get their hair done on delivery day. I've heard from Brazilian doctors and nurses that the c-section is an option that doctors prefer, just like Patricia mentioned. I'm sure there are mother that go through the process that Damaris described, but it's far from the reality of most Brazilian moms.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Mommymita said...

I suppose making ourselves beautiful could be part of nesting.

My baby is now 5 weeks old and this post just motivated me too at least blow dry my hair today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 12:15:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Edith said...

i live in Israel and am meried to a brazilian guy...
your writng would have explaind perfectly why i wouldnt have my mother inlaw over (from brazil) for at list a month after i gave birth to my twins...(with no c-section ofcours)...
parabens e muito flicedades com o parto e o nene!

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:53:00 AM EST  
Blogger juliana said...

Interesting. I am Brazilian myself and didn't even realize women wanted to look gorgeous when they are giving birth. I didn't look good at all. And unfortunately, after almost 30 hours of labor, I ended up having a c-section too.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:27:00 AM EST  
Blogger Annalia Romero said...

I think that the way pregnancy changes a woman's body looks lovely....and I love the strength and beauty of natural childbirth. Sometimes it's just hard to see it when you are the uncomfortable, ready to pop pregnant woman! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:51:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brazil is the plastic surgery capitol of the world. Elective c-sections aren't medically necessary, they are cosmetically desired.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 2:39:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Well said Patricia.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 8:59:00 AM EST  
Blogger Natasha Gayfer said...

Hi there, I'm living in Australia but will be having my baby in Brazil. I found your blog while searching for information about having a natural birth there, which is my preference (unless of course I need an emergency c-section). Do you have any hints for finding a Brazilian obstetrician to support me in my choice?

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 12:49:00 AM EDT  

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