She’s poised and pretty, dark hair groomed and glossy. Wearing an immaculately tailored red silk shift dress and nude heels, Kate Middleton poses on the steps of the hospital where she delivered her third baby. She is flanked by her adoring husband, gazing at their precious bub.
These moments, snapped by eager photographers and the paparazzi, are being shared widely on the internet. They are for the most, creating a furor.
The general consensus is that it is impossible for a new mum to look like Kate, just hours after giving birth. And so, soon after Kate Middleton’s post-birth picture hit the Net, a steady stream of memes and articles followed.
Most of these are having a go at the unrealistic depiction of new motherhood the pictures portray.
An example of the many memes that are circulating now, following Kate Middleton’s post-birth picture. Yes, they are funny, but we’re getting these laughs at the expense of another mother.
What’s the difference between Kate Middleton and your regular mum, AKA you and me?
I get the grumblings and rumblings about Kate’s photos to a great extent. I had normal births for both my children. So far, just like Kate. But the immediate, visible similarities stop there.
A couple of hours after giving birth to my first son, I felt like Thor had taken his giant hammer and beaten my body black and blue. I walked like a duck (no hope in hell of heels) and my hair was a mess. I had stitches holding my lady parts together and the thought of pooping was the stuff of nightmares.
I looked terrible.
There was not much difference after baby number two, except that I probably looked even more horrible than the first time.
Where are the eye bags and dull skin in Kate Middleton’s post-birth picture? Probably brushed away by a skilled make-up artist. What about her messy, unwashed post-birth hair? Styled away by her hairdresser without a doubt.
Lucky Kate, right? But let’s delve a little deeper and ask ourselves, is she really that fortunate? Do you honestly think she wanted to be displayed to the public like that? I’m pretty sure she too felt tired and grumpy, just like you and I did after giving birth.
However unlike us, she had to put on a mask for the sake of her celebrity status. And it was this that the world noticed and dissected carefully and without mercy.
Reactions to Kate Middleton’s post-birth picture show mum judgement spares no one
Lurking under the surface of comments such as, “Wow, she looks so pretty and fresh,” and “How does she look like that?” lie traces of resentment and bitterness. Perhaps even a bit of anger.
How dare a woman look so good so soon after pushing a child out of her vagina! Shame on her for setting such an unrealistic idea of what a new mum should look like! What is she even thinking, wearing heels after birth?!
However, the questions we are not asking (but should be) are:
Is she aching physically? Is she experiencing the baby blues?
Does she really want to be on public display like this hours after giving birth, while having every inch of her person scrutinised by the global eye?
When she really wanted to be bonding with her little boy, would she have appreciated her stylists literally getting in her face?
How does she feel seeing all the memes and posts comparing her and other mums, post-birth? She must have feelings too, right?
And as innocently as we share those “funny” memes, when we compare our post-birth bodies to hers, we are in fact judging her.
It’s no different to the regular mum-judgement that happens all the time:
Why don’t you feed your kid organic food?
Why aren’t you breastfeeding?
Why are you still breastfeeding?
Why so fat? Baby is six months already!
Isn’t it time to start working again?
Good mums stay at home and look after their kids!
There are post-baby privileges you and I had that Kate Middleton will never know.
Give mums a break, including Kate Middleton
Let’s cut Kate some slack, shall we? Yes, she lives a life of luxury exceeding anything we could ever imagine. And it’s true, she looks pretty perfect. But there are privileges you and I have that she will never enjoy.
Like wearing whatever the hell we want after giving birth to our babies, including granny panties and gigantic pads.
Such as enjoying quiet time with our newborns and not having to haul our aching bodies — swollen feet stuffed into heels — into the limelight hours after giving birth.
We get to go into labour only with thoughts such as, “Damn, this hurts,” “I want to murder the man who got me pregnant,” or, “I can’t wait to see my sweet angel.”
Kate, on the other hand, has to think about the paparazzi and global scrutiny during labour and after birth.
She has to smile bravely at the world and strike a pose hours after delivering her child, when probably all she wants to do is hang out in her comfiest clothes and bond with her baby. Or cry. Or stuff her face with Oreos while weeping.
So dearest parents, instead of engaging in subtle and obvious judgement of Kate Middleton’s post-birth picture, let’s look beyond the facade of perfection and empathise with her, mum to mum.
Look at her post-baby belly that she knew would show in her clingy silk dress but doesn’t care to hide — perhaps it’s her way of telling us she’s not so different from you and me.
See how she tenderly gazes at her baby’s face? The look of love and pride in her eyes is no different to yours when you saw your baby for the first time. Did you notice how Prince William holds her arm gently so she won’t trip on her heels? Your man would do that for you, too.
By being kind to people we don’t know personally and by not judging a mother, whoever she might be, you and I can help get rid of mum shaming and judgement, slowly but surely.
Be that change, mum. Know that by doing so, you’re extending an invisible but strong hand of support to fellow mums around the world — including Kate Middleton.
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