Elsa Hosk Should Be Applauded For Her Birth Honesty

The model shared a six-part essay after the birth of her daughter.

Elsa Hosk birth story

by Emily Watkins |
Updated on

Elsa Hosk is a supermodel. One of those human beings so preternaturally beautiful that she doesn’t quite look real — like, a vision, a hologram, an angel trapped in Instagram. Of course, she must walk around in real life, but most mere mortals won’t have borne witness to that heavenly visitation.

As such, and for her 6.4 million followers, Elsa exists primarily online. There, she shares snippets of her beautiful face and her beautiful life in what might as well be an alternate universe; fans have been following her (very well documented) pregnancy across ethereal photoshoots and intimate snapshots since she announced the expected new arrival several months back. Perfect! Perfect! The baby (perfect! perfect!) came on February 11th — and then, Elsa decided to share the warts-and-all experience of her labour. For many women, especially first-time mums, an honest account of such an intense experience remains hard to come by; as such, Elsa’s story has been received with sincere interest and praise for its honesty.

Penning an ‘Essay on birth’ in six parts across as many Instagram posts, Elsa began by describing her pre-birth plan involving a midwife, doula, hypnobirthing expert and water: ‘I’ve always loved and felt comforted by water. Any time in life where I’ve felt sad, upset, needed to relax, needed comfort, the bath has been my place’ she wrote. Her second post explains how contractions began a couple of days before her due date, which ‘would wake me up every 10min during the night so i didn’t get much sleep for those 2 nights’ and details the decision to call an acupuncturist to start active labour.

Elsa’s waters broke, and soon her labour was in full swing — but the time to push hadn’t come yet. ‘I remember feeling so devastated that I still have to go through the pushing down the birth canal. It feels like she will never come out. I start doubting if I can do this, hang in there, get her out’, she wrote.

Moving to the bed to assume a pose suggested by the midwife, Elsa’s cervix finally opened fully; ‘I imagine every sensation of pain is her pushing a little further down the birth canal. When I doubt myself if I can do it and I miss breathing through a contraction I break into what feels like a million pieces’. She describes ‘the worst pain, fear, and darkness I’ve ever experienced in those moments. I feel like an animal.’

Elsa and her birthing team worked ‘to get the head out for 2hrs. Then finally with the biggest, most extended push, and a sound and sensation that I’ve never felt or made in life - the whole head came out.’ With ‘another big push’, the baby’s body followed. ‘All bloody and fluids are everywhere and she is pooping all over me, and she is looking for my nipple’, writes Elsa, ‘And the most pain I’ve ever felt is forgotten, I am overwhelmed with love, proudness, happiness.’

Elsa’s story has a happy ending, but honest accounts of labour, even (or especially) when it’s hard, remain few and far between – at least beyond frank conversations with our peers. Hopefully, Hosk’s decision to share her story will go some way towards normalising conversations about childbirth; women need to hear each others’ experiences, which begins with being willing to share them. Not-perfect? Perfect.

READ MORE: The Reality of Childbirth Amid Coronavirus: It's Strange Yes, But Beautiful And Hopeful, Too

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