Now that Kate Middleton and her family are comfortably ensconced at their country home, can we talk about the hoops this poor woman had to jump through immediately after giving birth to a human being?
To be honest, I’m not what anyone would describe as a Royal Family watcher. I don’t know the official titles and I wasn’t waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the latest member of their family. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the coverage of Middleton’s delivery this time around in a way that I wasn’t for her first, which came when I was just four months pregnant and still blissfully oblivious to exactly what was heading my way. (Oh, to be that young and naive again.)
It wasn’t so much the prenatal public appearances in which she looked effortlessly flawless. I get the concept of celebrity (I grew up in the land of the Kardashians, after all) and, as much as things like this add to the pressure women feel to be perfect at all times — even when incubating a human — I can let it go. She looked like she was feeling fine and she obviously has her very own glam squad tasked with keeping her looking as royal as possible at all times.
When Middleton appeared on the steps of St. Mary’s hospital hours after birthing her brand-new daughter, I couldn’t help but cringe. Not because of her appearance – she looked impeccable as always, perfectly-coiffed, styled and made-up. I imagine she even had her belly comfortably banded by her Trinbagonian midwife before she stepped out to face the public.
Still, while most folks raved about her radiant post-partum glow (and threw around insane theories about how she pulled it off), I remembered the fatigue, the aches, the massive maternity pads and I felt for her, one mother to another. Glam squad notwithstanding, no matter how great she felt immediately after Charlotte’s arrival, I seriously doubt she wanted to be standing in front of those steps, in those heels, waving at that crowd. If I were a betting woman, I’d wager that she would have much preferred to be cuddling up with her new baby, her first-born and her hubby somewhere quiet. Or, you know, napping. Probably napping. Definitely napping.
Then again, maybe I’m wrong. I’m certainly willing to admit the possibility, however slim, that Middleton was thrilled to get out there and perform her post-partum Duchess duties. Even so, I wonder about the point of this particular tradition in the internet age. Surely, there are ways to debut the new royal baby that don’t require her weary mother to pretend that she was dropped off at the hospital by a stork.
I mean, who are we really kidding here? What’s to be gained by perpetuating the idea that women should be able to bounce back this quickly after delivery? Women who have never given birth — particularly the currently pregnant ones — are being set up in the worst way (unless you’ve already booked your own glam squad) and women who have given birth either scoff (like me) or feel bad that their biggest post-partum accomplishment was a bathroom adventure that didn’t involve tears (can’t claim that one). At this point, wouldn’t we be better served by a Duchess who laid up in her hospital bed for a couple of days and hobbled out wearing yoga pants and flip-flops, if that was how she really felt afterwards? How about keeping it royally real for a change?
In all fairness, my stance could be colored by the fact that I could barely sit up after labor, so I’m eager to hear from women who had blissful deliveries and zero post-partum swelling. Would you have been up for something like this? Let me know in the comments below!
Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.