I was clicking around on abcnews.com last week and I saw an article titled “Royal Baby: How Will Kate Decorate the Baby’s Nursery?” I didn’t read it because 1. I’m still a little mad that Prince William married her and not me and 2. I have absolutely no interest in what is going in the royal nursery. I’m sure it’s all out of my price range and unless she has a magic crib that lulls babies to sleep and keeps them asleep all night, her expensive crib is about as useful to me and my sleep-challenged baby as my $200 Target crib.
A couple of days later, I came across an article titled, “Will Kate Middleton Breast-feed the Royal Baby?” I found this offensive because it suggests that a mother should be judged on whether or not she breastfeeds. Breastfeeding does not make a great mom, and formula feeding does not make a terrible mom. There are a million reasons why mothers choose to breastfeed or formula feed, and sometimes the choice is made for them. I was so irritated by the title that I did read the article. Some breastfeeding advocate is challenging Kate to breastfeed in public. They did, at least, include some information about how some women struggle with breastfeeding. Still, it left a bitter taste in my mouth that people feel the need to speculate on how Kate might choose to feed her baby.
Yesterday, I was looking at abcnews.com again and saw an article titled, “The Royal Birth Will Be Like Yours-Only Posh.” I almost laughed out loud. Who comes up with these titles? I certainly hope whoever wrote this article is someone who has not actually given birth, because I can tell you, there are no posh births.
Birthing a baby involves pushing a (usually) 6 lb.+ baby out a hole the size of a quarter or having the baby surgically removed from your abdomen. It is not posh. Even my five-year old gets it. When I was pregnant with Colin, he kept asking how the baby was going to come out. I told him I had a hole and when it was time, the baby would come out. He looked at me skeptically and asked, “You have a hole big enough to fit a baby?”
The article described the private suite that Kate will give birth in. My last two births were in a private suite that was more beautiful than most hotel rooms I have stayed in. The closest I came to a posh birth was with Sully. I walked into the hospital hardly in any pain at all and already dilated to a five. I got an epidural almost immediately and was blissfully numb from my waist down. That was all fine and dandy until the baby’s heartrate dropped and the nurse told me to get on my hands and knees. Getting on one’s hands and knees when numb from the waist down is a quite a feat, but I did it. In doing so, my gown slipped down so then I was numb, naked, and on my hands and knees. Even that was fine until the doctor wasn’t responding to the nurse’s frantic pages so she pulled an emergency cord and suddenly 20 doctors were in the room. Sweet baby Sullivan entered the world moments later. It was not posh, despite my beautiful surroundings.
The article mentioned the extensive food and wine selection available in case the royals want to toast the arrival of their new bundle of joy. In the hours and days after giving birth, your uterus in trying to shrink from the size of a watermelon back down to the size of a walnut while shedding nine months’ worth of lining. It hurts. Meanwhile your breasts are overly full and leaking (whether or not you breastfeed) and your hormones are completely out of whack. And, oh yeah, now you are responsible for this tiny little human who is a complete mystery to you. There is no wine or food selection that can make that posh.
Birthing a baby can be scary, empowering, intensely beautiful, and in the end, incredibly humbling. It is never posh.
All of these articles speculating about Kate’s birth and what she’ll do with the royal baby have got me a little cranky. It doesn’t matter if you are royal, being a new mom is an overwhelming experience, and it makes me a little sad that she won’t have the opportunity to experience it away from the limelight. Whenever I meet new moms or a see a pregnant woman about to give birth for the first time, I always have this impulse to give them my phone number so I can talk them through those first few crazy months (I might write a real book one day.) I can only imagine what it would feel like going through all of that with the whole world watching.