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Giving birth isn't easy, but one new mom found a creative way to cope.
Photos of a New York woman putting on an impressive amount of makeup while she was in labor have gone viral. Alaha Karimi, a 27-year-old makeup artist who lives in Long Island, told TODAY she can't believe how much attention her photos from the delivery room have gotten.
Getting dolled up was simply her way to deal with the pain, she explained.
"I was Googling ways to overcome the pain, because it was just unbearable, and one of the suggestions was to put on some music and do something you love — so that's what I did," Karimi said.
The activity helped "pass the time and take my mind off the contractions," she added. "It definitely helped everything go by a lot faster."
The photos, shared on Karimi's Instagram account and taken by her sister, show the young woman going to work with a large supply of brushes and makeup products. Most of the feedback she's since gotten has been positive — think comments like "goals" and "flawless" — but Karimi admits she's also gotten some criticism.
"Some said I'm putting my looks before my baby's health, but in reality, anyone who's been through labor knows that it's just a waiting game," she said. "There was nothing I could do."
She also got the OK from her doctor before pulling out the makeup bag, she said.
Karimi gave birth to her first child, a daughter, on Feb. 15.
"We're doing great," she said.
Karimi is hardly the first woman to primp in the delivery room — some are even calling in hairdressers before they give birth, so their blowout is in tip-top shape for the baby's first photo.
But for Karimi, looking good was simply a "helpful side effect" of doing what she loved. And she encourages other women in the same situation to do whatever makes them feel good, too.
"If makeup is your thing, do that," she said. "But if knitting is your thing, then do that — make a sweater! Do something that will distract you from the pains of labor. It's a crazy time, and now, I don't think of the pain. I look at the photos and I laugh. And I'm kind of proud of myself because I know I was able to make it through the pain and still enjoy myself."