I’m just going to call you Kate, since Jess and I are on a first name basis it seems only fair. And now you’re pregnant, we’re part of a sisterhood, really.
The reason I’m writing to you is to give you some advice. Ironic, since my advice is all about unsolicited advice and how to avoid it. Ha ha, I know! Now I’m pretty famous too (hey, at least three people think I’m all that. Yes, I gave birth to them, but let’s not get caught up in details…) so I know what it feels like to be bombarded with unsolicited advice when knocked up. You, my dear, are in for a trailer-load of the stuff. You are going to be told you have to have a natural birth, unaided by drugs and in a pool of dolphins wearing tie-dye. You will be told this earnestly by a team of gurus. Before you can nod or shake your (perfectly styled) head, the next group of experts will tell you that you cannot under any circumstances wreck your lady bits by going the primitive and disgusting natural birth (icky icky) route and you’ll get a list of compelling reasons for a Caesarean Section.
Your head will spin. You’ll cry a lot (even those castle walls can’t keep those delightful pregnancy hormones at bay), you’ll scream and call WIlliam rude names. You’ll tell everyone to
fuck off! kindly mind their own business and let you figure this pregnancy conundrum out for yourself.
But you’re not that naive, are you? Of course not.
We both know that the minute you became pregnant, your body became public property. Don’t feel special, though – even us common peasants have this problem. People just can’t help themselves.
You’re going to hear gory birth stories from everyone (I’d avoid the Queen at all costs, I hear she’s a talker). You and William are going to be shown photos of your friends’ vaginas (because apparently it’s okay to show people photos of your vagina if there’s a baby emerging from it). You are going to be told horror stories about people losing babies/dying in childbirth/switched babies – you name it – because these stories are totally helpful and really don’t freak out hormonally-charged-crying-in-Huggies-ads expectant mothers.
Kate, I know when you signed up for this Princess gig, you were envisioning horses and carts, tiaras and A-list parties. You may not have thought out this whole public pregnancy thing, though. Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: if you gain weight, you’ll get slaughtered in the media. If you don’t gain weight, you’ll get slaughtered in the media. If you get ugly (it’s scary what hormones can do to faces. Yeesh.) you’ll get slaughtered. Everyone from Ellen, to David Letterman, to (very important and knowledgeable) bloggers like me will give you advice. Advice you didn’t ask for. Advice that will either help you massively or drive you into a hormone-charged rage of gargantuan proportions.
The good news is that you only have six months to go. Then you can relax (not that that’s really possible with your debilitating nausea, haemorrhoids, backache, varicose veins and Braxton Hicks contractions, but try, by all means.) Because we both know that when your little prince/ess arrives, you’ll have to figure out how to ward off the how-to-breastfeed/sleep-train/potty-train/discipline/educate your baby advice barrage.
My advice (since you asked) is this: Since you’re going to be judged, regardless, don’t try to be Gwyneth Paltrow Perfect because you’ll fail. Even Gwyneth fails. She just won’t admit it but I know she has to have cry-in-the-bathroom moments like the rest of us. Don’t listen to anything or anyone – listen to your gut. You are going to fail. You’re going to fail so many times and sometimes so spectacularly, you won’t quite believe it. Failing is okay and it’s what makes us better parents. No mistakes mean no opportunities to be better. Spend time together as a family – just the three of you. No media. No nannies. Forget the cameras and the demand that you snap back to your skinny figure five minutes after the birth. No human being should have to entertain this thought, let alone follow through with it. Spending time with your baby vs Spending time with your trainer… not such a tough call, really. Love yourself. Love your body. Don’t let the world own you, your body or your baby. I know they think they do, but they don’t.
Kate, from one Mum to another, I wish you only happiness. I also wish you the guts to tell those gossip magazines exactly where to shove their unsolicited advice.
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