Like many rappers, Nicki Minaj’s public persona is one of confidence and bravado. But when it comes to being a parent, she’s willing to show her vulnerability.
On Wednesday, the rap superstar opened up on Twitter about being a new mom. (The birth of her son, whose name and photo she hasn’t revealed, was reported in October.) In response to fan questions, she shared her birth story for the first time.
She was “butt naked” but very calm when she realized she was about to give birth, she said.
“Just got out the shower and I asked [husband Kenneth Petty] to rub my back,” she wrote. “As soon as I started scooting over to him in the bed I just felt the water start coming out. I was weirdly calm and I quietly said ‘Omg, I’m about to be in labour.’” Her husband, she said, “was very scared,” which made her laugh.
She was in labour for a long time before she was dilated enough for the baby to come out, so hospital staff gave her an epidural that “numbed me up real good” and let her sleep through most of the night, she said. She had a vaginal birth. “I pushed for 2 1/2 hours,” she wrote, because at first “the epidural didn’t wear off enough for me to feel myself pushing. Once I was able to feel the pain I pushed him on out.”
When it came time to nurse the baby, she was worried her son might not latch, she said. But “he latched on in the hospital which was very surprising to me.”
She added, though, that breastfeeding and pumping were more painful than she expected.
“Breastfeeding is very painful. Pumping is too,” Minaj wrote. “Women make this stuff look way too easy. Moms are really superheroes.”
For many new parents, breastfeeding isn’t easy. General pain and sore nipples are common issues. And while about three per cent of nursing parents report no pain at all after breastfeeding for one week, five per cent report the “worst possible pain,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest nutritional option for babies, but in situations where it’s overly painful, not possible for other reasons, or just not the right choice, Health Canada offers detailed recommendations for the safe preparation of formula.
Minaj announced last month that she’ll be getting her own six-part HBO Max documentary series. Let’s hope it captures her honesty about both the joyful and the difficult parts of being a mom.
WATCH: Nicki Minaj is set to have her own docuseries.