Tuesday 24 April 2018

Should We Be Worrying About Kate's Pelvic Floor?

A press release arrived in my inbox this morning to tell me that Kate really needs to start working on her pelvic floor. Kate Middleton is just one day postpartum and already PR professionals are wondering about the state of her pelvic floor - and not privately, they’re doing this in the form of a mass email. This isn’t a discrete nod from your community midwife, it’s an email with the title, ‘Kate needs to protect her pelvic floor now!’ Did you see the exclamation mark? This is clearly a matter of urgency.

I know a lot of people will say she knew what she was signing up for when she married into the Royal family, and I suspect that’s true in many ways, but I’m not sure they would have gone into specifics like how soon after giving birth she’d be expected to appear in heels and a dress for the press. I don’t know that they’d have sat her down and explained that her pelvic floor would become public knowledge, that people would be joking about the state of her Royal regions mere hours after the birth.

I’m not saying that she is a put-upon woman, clearly, she has it much better than most. She has a staff of people around her who will no doubt help her to have a bloody lovely postpartum period. She has a chef to prepare her meals, a nanny to keep the older two entertained, and enough money to not worry about buying new clothes for the baby. I know that. I know she has it easy. And I know she belongs to an outdated tradition that holds little value in modern society. But she’s still a woman.

She still gave birth yesterday, whether she did that in a fancy private wing of a world-renowned hospital or not. She still summoned up all of her strength to give birth to her child. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many designer dresses you own, you give birth like anybody else. Ok, she probably had a nicer room to give birth in, and she probably ate from fancy china instead of the scratched hospital plates everybody else is used to. She still gave birth, she’s still likely to be feeling tired, emotional and just a little bit shell-shocked.

She doesn’t have the luxury of anonymity. She didn’t get to escape the hospital ward in her comfiest jogging bottoms. She didn’t get to take those first few steps out into the real world again by herself, instead, she had the world’s media waiting for her at the front door. And not just the media, apparently there were ‘fans’ too, people who had camped out for days on end just hoping to get a glimpse of the Royal baby. Now, I don’t know who these people are so I don’t want to make assumptions but I’m guessing the kind of people who camp outside hospitals waiting to get glimpses of babies are not exactly the kind of people you’d want anywhere near your newborn baby.

She didn’t even manage to labour in secret. The news that she had gone into labour appeared on every news site within minutes of her arriving at the hospital. If you’ve ever dealt with the harassment of receiving ‘Any signs yet?’ messages from well-meaning friends every morning at the end of your pregnancy, imagine having the entire world waiting with baited breath. And then, once the ordeal was over, having to walk straight out in front of the press and present your baby to the nation.

There seems to be a lot of discussion about how she looked too good, it was unrealistic and didn’t do much to help the portrayal of new mothers. Well, yeah, she looked way nicer than I did on my wedding day and she’d just pushed out a baby, but I don’t really look to her as an example of a normal woman. She’s been criticised for not enjoying her newborn, for forcing herself out too quickly, and for loads of other things that seem to be based on assumptions rather than fact. She was in a hospital and there was a crowd of paparazzi standing between her and home. She probably just wanted to get the press over and done with so she could go home and hibernate with her new baby, and who can blame her?

Yeah she looked amazing, yeah she wore heels, no, the average woman doesn’t have to look like that and anybody expecting them to should probably have some kind of psychiatric examination. It would be great if we lived in a world where Kate could have John Wayne-d it out of there in yoga pants and an oversized hoodie, but then she’d have had hundreds of articles written about how shit she looked and how she didn’t seem to be coping with the fact she had recently given birth. If I knew there were going to be hundreds of comment pieces written about me when I was probably feeling like a hormonal, vulnerable delicate mess, I’d way rather they accused me of being too glamorous than looking like a walking bag of shit (for what it's worth, my tabloid headlines would have read Waddling Princess Dressed In Blood-Stained Maternity Jeans Can't Stop Crying As She Carries Giant Baby Home).

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

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