When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital yesterday afternoon it wasn’t just the baby the world was interested in seeing. Let’s be honest, a newborn baby is a newborn baby; most of them look quite similar, a bit like grumpy old men.
The world was interested in seeing what the Duchess of Cambridge looked like.
And she didn’t disappoint. Earlier in the day her hairdresser’s arrival had garnered more news coverage than all other current affairs combined – really? A hairdresser? – and speculation was rife over what was in the garment bag an aide was toting.
When they finally emerged (I spent the evening with News24 and baited breath) it was pleasing to see K Mid still rocking a little bump like a normal woman – though it doesn’t look such a flabby all-encompassing spare tyre like mine was (and still is if I’m honest) – but the woman looked incredible otherwise. Her gorgeous hair and immaculate makeup! The beautiful Jenny Packham dress! The heels!
We can forgive her for she is a member of the royal family and is being paraded in front of the circus that is the world’s media, though it would have been nice for the Duchess to not perpetuate the myth that women look perfect after giving birth. And to be fair if I was visited in hospital the day after I gave birth by a hair stylist and make-up artist I wouldn’t have turned them away.
But unforgivable is the cover of OK magazine which spread like wildfire yesterday evening on Social Media:
Because what new mums need after birthing a human out of their bodies is further pressure of the Duchess’s ‘weight-loss regime’, the ‘Duchess Diet & Shape-Up Plan’. We really need more reasons for our mum tums, stretch marks and wobbly bits to make us feel inadequate don’t we?
No, we don’t.
Rather than dedicating precious brain space to thoughts about how much we weigh and how flabby we are we need to be thinking about our new baby, getting our rest and bonding with our babies.
How about coverage of women who don’t worry about shaping-up days after giving birth? How about column inches for the women who wear their post-baby body confidence with pride (and I’m not talking about negative coverage, eh Daily Mail)? How about we celebrate the fact we grew a person rather than beating ourselves up for the fact our bodies have changed?
So here’s me. Here’s me having just given birth with a squinty, make-up free face and no contact lenses. Here’s my mum tum that proudly grew two beautiful children for nine months. Here’s what a real woman looks like post-birth, and if at least one person feels better about how they looked as a brand new mother then showing the internet these not-so-flattering photographs would have been worth it.
The day after giving birth to Elfie / The first outing
The day Hux was born
Hux at a couple of days old. Where’s that make-up artist?
First photo at home with Elf / Hux at 2 weeks old and still in maternity shirts