Kate Middleton gave birth to her third child this week. Bless her heart, she walked out of the hospital a mere few hours later looking absolutely stunning.
I’m not a fan of celebrity demagoguery nor royal worshipping. I don’t get it guys. I just don’t get it. In a way, this is yet another blog post regarding this matter but it’s not necessarily about her dress or hair or heels. It won’t be this dramatic…
But since you asked….
I have watched a torrent of judgment and nastiness unleash itself as if she had publicly murdered a puppy. Holy crap girls. Really? I could kind of get behind it were it yet another picture of a Kardashian’s veejayjay for their collective poops and giggles and the never ending extension of their allotted 15 minutes of fame but this is hardly the case here.
God help me, I actually read an article on the comparative body language of the royal couple with each respective child and what it all means. I’d like those brain cells back that the headline robbed from me. Why do we care so damn much?
If any of us were scrutinized/criticized/judged/labeled/berated/mocked/questioned….or otherwise, we’d be screaming to the high heavens and recruiting our Facebook army to defend our honor; to fight for womb and country. Oddly enough – it seems that because she is someone in a public position who has conducted herself with dignity and grace, we feel that we can freely comment; like it’s our divine right to rip her to shreds. Interesting…
We too could leave a hospital looking like a supermodel if we hired the beauty armada equipped with everything from spackle to epoxy to luminizer that it probably required to get that result. We won’t because it’s not feasible or affordable or even logical. But I’m not a public figure. I don’t know about you, but there was no paparazzi lurking when I left the hospital after giving birth.
I’m pretty sure she’d rather have been in sweatpants and no bra with an ice pack resting gently on her nethers, but the public demands she be seen and that her baby be seen and/or intimate knowledge of how many stitches were involved in the episiotomy. I have no idea how jolly old England works in it’s healthcare timeframes but we basically have drive through mastectomies in the States soooo…are we any better?
It seems to me that this endless cycle of comparing ourselves to other women without knowing their backstory creates a loathsome circle of coming up short in our own estimations because we don’t know what the history or intent of the person we’re so busy measuring ourselves against.
I wish I had that Cartier love bracelet she’s wearing
It belonged to my mother. My Dad gave it to her as an anniversary present. She died from a massive heart attack when I was 28 and pregnant with my first child. I haven’t taken this bracelet off my wrist since my Dad gave it to me the day after her funeral. But I’m 45 now and I miss her so much. She never even got to see my kids. I’d give anything to hear her laugh again.
God, she’s fat. Doesn’t she care about her appearance?
I’m just starting to feel like myself again after a divorce and my brother dying within six months of each other. I was depressed for two years and started drinking heavily. A glass of wine became a bottle, then two. I lost my kids because I was a full blown alcoholic and it was so awful. I feel like I let everyone down…my kids…my parents…my job…everyone. But you know what? I’m ready to start again. I want to get back to being me. I want to be happy again.
In short…I think we could all display some empathy. We never know the full story unless it’s happening directly to us and even then it often takes us years to process whichever event is in question if it’s significant enough. As life hands us more experience or we learn something new, another level of understanding glows enough to shed more light on past experiences. I’m noticing more and more, even in my own line of thinking, this unnecessary judgment has become pervasive; and I don’t like it. It’s too Mean Girls for me. It’s too much of living up to the stereotype that women revel in bitchy.
There has been a multitude of cattily coy comments pitying her while simultaneously whipping out their own birthing horror stories in this awful and competitive compare and contrast. I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t care; nor should she. I wouldn’t – then again?? If someone squared off on me after literally heaving my entire psyche and body and life to bring forth another life with their throw down of a how they had a harder/better/leaner/meaner/prettier birth, I would be so hurt. That was my accomplishment, my pain, my miracle and my story of awe not only in myself but the force of life. It’s one of the most inspiring and amazing moments in a person’s life to see what they created. It’s humbling and often brings a sense of clarity, of peace – however brief – to the woman who toiled to make this marvel. Why would someone take that away? Leaving the hospital may have been a royal tradition or a hospital mandate or a personal choice; but it doesn’t make her some outdated wilting victim who should rise up and fight against the patriarchal society about three seconds into the postpartum experience. She just gave birth and was gazing in absolute adoration at the little bundle of life she had been cooking in her EZ bake oven of a womb for nine months and probably just wanted to go home and enjoy her expanding family in private. Maybe her husband was there seconds before that door opened to say, “Once more into the breach, dear Kate. Once more.” Then again maybe, in reality he whispered privately, “Seventeen steps my love. That’s all I’ll ask of you today. Seventeen steps. We can do this together. Look at our beautiful son. We can do it for him.”
I have a friend who just lost her mom. It’s not up to me to compare my father’s illness to her mother’s death or throw down as to who is in more pain. It’s up to me to support her and love her and try to make her laugh/let her cry/lift her up/and just be. Sometimes, we’re not meant to insert ourselves into situations that are not of our making. Own what’s yours and give the rest up to God or whatever power you believe in. Sometimes it comes down to I’ll take care of mine and you take care of yours and we’ll all be the better for it. Support comes in many forms and sometimes it’s just as simple as wishing well from afar.
We are our own yardsticks and only we can measure who we are and where we’ve been and what we’re worth. There is a constant undercurrent in women which mandates that we sell ourselves short as a gender. This cattiness, I’m sure, has more to do with our own brain droppings than with the target in question. I wonder if this collective self doubt that perpetuates the need to be the judge and jury of other women is fostered by the ease and anonymity of the internet which ultimately makes us the bulls eye in our own target of said self doubt. Our self esteem is ultimately the price paid. I wonder, if instead of comparing ourselves to every other woman out there and immersing ourselves into this harpy cycle; what if we dedicated that energy to loving, accepting and embracing ourselves and therefore each other?
I wonder, what would that do?
In short, all the best to Kate. All the best to the moms who had an easy labor or wound up looking like a water buffalo in mesh boyshorts when it was all said and done because they birthed so hard. Hats off to you if you had a kid at 20 or at 40. Kudos to the moms that went natural and kudos if you sedated yourself silly. You did an amazing thing. Don’t let anyone steal your thunder.
Currently reading: A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gayor / Life at the Dakota by Stephen Birmingham / Forever by Pete Hamill / Absolute Power: How the Pope Became the Most Influential Man in the World by Paul Collins
Weight: Still a glorious, Rubenesque 165