Saturday 15 December 2018

'It's days like these that I just feel sad for new mother Kate Middleton - even princesses deserve a break'

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their newborn son outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their newborn son outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London
Laura Bourne at home with her six month old son Noah in Greystones. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Laura Bourne at home with her six month old son Noah in Greystones. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Prince William and Kate Middleton became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photo: Chris Ison
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Abbey following their marriage ceremony, on April 29, 2011
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge attend the Irish Guards St Patrick's Day parade at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow
The Duke of Cambridge holds the hand of his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as he carries their newborn son from the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London

Laura Bourne

First there was the Lindo Wing photoshoot that made every soon-to-be or new mum want to curl into their pregnancy pillow and weep.

Now, when Prince Harry weds Meghan Markle tomorrow, all we'll be subjected to is the bounce back commentary alongside a phrase that should be banned from the English language: 'post baby body'

The Duchess of Cambridge will tomorrow attend the wedding of the year and in a way only princesses can, will have all eyes on her despite it not being her big day.

While I am a fan of the royal family, living up to the standards set by the Windsor institution can veer into the wholly unrealistic.

Laura Bourne at home with her six month old son Noah in Greystones. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Laura Bourne at home with her six month old son Noah in Greystones. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Yes, it was sweet to see Kate and William proudly show off their precious Prince Louis to the world last month, nut all it really did was cement an idealistic and unattainable image of life post-birth.

It's been 27 days and we will see Kate make her red-carpet comeback without a hint of a bump, a glossy mane of hair still as a thick as ever and a glow that will just make you want to cry into your breast pump.

The Duchess will turn out as suitably dolled up as the rest of the guests, most of whom aren't brand new mothers, and there will be the inevitable cameras zooming in to scrutinise her figure.

Every inch will be examined, all the while the royal correspondents and the Kay Burleys of the world will be critiquing her down to the most minute details.

The Duke of Cambridge holds the hand of his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as he carries their newborn son from the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London
The Duke of Cambridge holds the hand of his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as he carries their newborn son from the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London

I imagine she will be thrilled to toast brother-in-law Harry and his bride on their big day, but I’m sure deep down Kate would rather be doting on little Louis in the comfort of her home, wearing her Bridget Jones knickers, fleece pyjamas and a milk-stained t-shirt.

The fact that Kensington Palace confirmed her attendance at a press briefing noting it would be her first public outing only intensifies the situation for her, there is no guessing game now - she will be there and she will be expected to look the part.

This only adds to the pressure on us normal mums to be as perfect as a princess in those early weeks, when hormones are running wild.

I don’t think I looked too shabby after giving birth to my son. I got my nails and eyelashes done the day before his arrival so that they’d last a few weeks.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Abbey following their marriage ceremony, on April 29, 2011
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Abbey following their marriage ceremony, on April 29, 2011

I also put some false tan on, knowing I wouldn’t be anywhere near a make-up bag and wanting to look somewhat human when the visitors descended.

But under no circumstances was I up for curling my hair, painting my face or squeezing into a dress that would be seen the world over.

Getting on a fresh nightie was #winning because a month after my baby arrived, I was just about functional. Just.

I was surviving on a maximum three hours sleep due to constant feeds and expressing in between.

I was wearing the same nursing bra and leggings for at least 10 days in a row because the thought of lifting the laundry pile down the stairs was too much.

I remember going to the local café when my son marked his one-month milestone and it literally took several hours of preparation.

I blow-dried my hair, put some mascara on and shimmied into a pair of jeans; but instead of feeling elated to be out and excited to see people outside my living room, I wanted to nap from the sheer exhaustion of getting ready.

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge attend the Irish Guards St Patrick's Day parade at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow
The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge attend the Irish Guards St Patrick's Day parade at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow

Until your new family unit settles into a routine, it’s largely fight or flight mode with a newborn.

And to be expected to be somewhere, even keep a doctor’s appointment, can be an ordeal that takes planning of military precision.

So, four weeks postpartum, Kate will show up tomorrow like the glamazon we all know she is and us regular mummies will be thinking, ‘Christ, why couldn’t I look like that?’

But we will also feel sorry for the Duchess – even if she does have a team of aides to steadily steer her through the sleep-deprived fog.

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