Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

I Feel Sorry For Kate Middleton

When I'm with a labouring mama I get to peep into her private life for the 12 hours I am with her. I get to see how her partner responds to her as the labour progresses or how he (or sometimes she) reacts when an emergency arises. Sometimes I'm able to catch a glimpse of amazing true love between them and other times I can tell that the partner does not really care. Often I'll get the inside scoop on which family members are pressuring them with constant text messages for baby updates or which obnoxious family member or friend posted the details on Facebook before the new parents even had a chance (major faux pas people!).

Sometimes I've gone to open the door of the delivery room and found a mass of excited family members with their ears pressed up against the door. I'm not talking about 1-2 extra family members, but more like 10+ with all the cousins and brother-in-laws and maybe a next door neighbour too. I've even experienced running out of the room to grab extra birthing supplies and have been met with a wall of women asking me questions. 'When is the baby going to be here? When I laboured I pushed for 1 hour. This is hour 2!'. Really, people? Really?

The truth is, I don't love having a crowd of extended family members waiting around to hear the baby news. I totally get how exciting and life changing it is to welcome a new baby into the family, but the pressure of having a mob waiting for you to push out your baby can often be too much. We know there is a wide variation in birthing times for women and I feel like the crowd of family members can sometimes unintentionally put constraints on how things unfold. So, when I started to see the 'Labour Watch' reports for England's Kate Middleton I instantly felt a bit of sorrow for this first time mum.

I totally get that being in the public eye changes how normal events, like childbirth, will unfold and be reported. That this particular mum-to-be should expect the public wants some knowledge of her personal events. However, I really wish that she was afforded the privacy to birth on her own terms. Without the constant media watch of what was happening with her cervix. Did Kate lose her mucous plug? Is she dilating?

Just like the excited family members I mentioned waiting outside the birthing room doors, the attention for Kate's birth comes from a kind place but it's truly over the top. Just like any birthing mummy, I wish the very best for Kate and her experience but feel sorry that her birthing experience is so widely broadcast and monitored. I feel sorry for the pressure that must exist around her pregnancy and even through to her birth. Which we all know is apparently happening today. It's hard to avoid the reports of her birth.

Birth is a uniting force for women; it doesn't matter if you are a crack addict with a surprise pregnancy, a regular joe or the Duchess of Cambridge. Contractions and labour don't care if you are rich or high society. The welcoming of new life happens to be grossly routine all over the world, yet it is still an intimate experience for each and every birthing mama. Hopefully amidst the media drama, Kate will also get to experience the private personal moments that will become her own birth experience..on her own her own way.

Are you excited for the Royal birthing announcement?


Carla said...

I was just saying the same thing to my sister! So much pressure! I hope that they can block all that out & enjoy this intensely personal experience as individuals & as a couple.

July 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM  

I feel the same way! I know she is a public figure but I feel so bad that so many people are obsessed with this. I found out this morning that she is expected to go to the hospital steps the day after having the baby to show the public!

I'm sure you have some horror stories about families in the waiting rooms! We've been pretty clear both times that we did not want to have anyone waiting for us. It's important to me that we get to experience the birth of our children without any pressure! Although when Elise was born, a friend of the family was texting my mom to see if she should just show up and wait for her to be born. A friend of the family but not a personal, close friend to me! We were a bit shocked, but luckily, she did not come to the hospital.

July 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM  

Great post sis. I was thinking the very same things this morning as I woke up to reports that she was in labour. The media loves to distract us from real issues by invading famous people's personal lives. I did a poll on the globe and mail about my anticipation, clicking NO for "do you care about the royal birth". 75% of readers agreed with me! And just think how it was the crazy tabloid media that chased down princess Di causing her car to crash. No boundaries.

July 22, 2013 at 6:09 PM  
Beck said...

Standing in a line to buy food I saw a magzine coverage with her being pregnant. Since then I've basically tried not to read or look at articles about her pregnancy because I felt that it must be horrible to be going through pregnancy and for the first time and having it so publically discussed. Much like you wrote here. I wish more people felt this way so that she could have the privacy she should get. I hope that they get to hide away from all the camera lens and nosey people for a few weeks as they adjust to their roles as parents. :) Wonderful post.

July 22, 2013 at 9:23 PM  

Like you, I feel a bit sorry for her. It was reported this morning that her hair stylist was seen heading into the hospital. Imagine the pressure of also having to look good leaving the hospital. I know I still looked pregnant and left in my lulus.
I only wanted my hubby in the room for my labour and I asked family members to only come to the hospital after the baby was born.
Great post. I always love reading your blog.

July 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM  
Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for her too. That said I also give her MAJOR credit for everything she's done over the past few days. I hope she can now relax and enjoy baby George in peace.

July 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM  
Kristin said...

I LOVE when you post about your work. I also feel the same way about this. Just too much. As you know, the experience of birthing in all aspects can be very unpredictable and I felt like there need to be space for that all to unfold without such high expectations. Reading your post, I was reminded of just how lucky I was that both of my girls came over a week before my due date, both in fast labour and delivery, and as the sun was coming up on each day. No one but but my husband and I knowing what was going on, really. It was so great to then call our family and announce our girls, when we were ready! Awe Baby LOVE!

July 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM  
Kristina said...

This is a bit off topic... but as I'm the first to have a baby of both my parents and my in laws I haven't experienced labour or the hospital experience yet. When my youngest sibling was born my dad took me and my siblings to meet him but no other family waited or saw the baby until my mom was back at home a few days later. Is it still appropriate now that woman rarely stay more than one night in the hospital after the baby is born to ask for no one to visit until we are back at home? My in-laws and I have a tense relationship as is and them being at the hospital both during or after is my biggest fear of childbirth!

I also loved your post. I saw magazines reporting on her labour story before she'd even had the baby!

August 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM  

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