OK, I have no idea exactly what’s in store for Kate but news stories are speculating that she will stay with her mother when her baby is born, shunning maternity nurses and nannies initially. Speaking from experience, (and if you’re close to your Mum of course and she’s around), that is quite frankly the best place to be. I was far from family in Leeds when I had my first baby, Oliver in London 3 years ago and it was pretty lonely and isolating in all honesty. Most of my close friends were not yet mothers and the new friends I made were finding parenthood hard themselves.
Becoming a new parent is not always the easiest of times yet first time mothers often feel scared to admit this. It is as if our wombs will be handed into the nearest baby clinic if we dare utter that we’re struggling, that things can get tough. It is the most wonderful, life changing, life affirming miracle though and my kids are and will always be my biggest success of all (now give me my womb back)…it just isn’t always smooth swimming so let’s be honest about it!
As first time parents you are often hit by the shock (in equal measure to the love you feel), of actually becoming guardians to a tiny baby who needs demand feeding and round the clock attention… and of course sleep deprivation is utterly, eye wateringly horrendous-no wonder it’s a form of tortue. Suddenly what is, hand on heart, the best thing in the world, can often descend at times, into the worst.
OK before you never procreate again, things can and often do improve usually as soon as you sleep for more than a few hours at a time and I must say, second time parenthood felt easy peasy in comparison. I had a great birth (none of the trauma of an emergency section first time, with my elective) had my family nearby as we’d moved to Leeds from London by then along with a baby born full term, without colic, who slept well which made a massive, humungous difference in how I felt emotionally and physically. However stressless the birth though, parenthood can be difficult. Hormones are on overdrive, your world has irrevocably changed and with your first, you are often trying hard to grasp at the remnants of your old life, the only point of reference pre babies, finding that a fruitless, disheartening pursuit!
Yes of course having the money to pay for support such as doulas, maternity nurses and nannies can help and will do for you and Kate if/when she chooses to go down that route but there’s nothing quite like the comfort of being able to be yourself and have the support of the one who knows best, your Mum or close family/friends, in those early days and weeks.
Here are a few things, joyful and not, that await Kate and any of you as a first time Mum:
1. Babies are tiny. Generally (not counting that 12 pounder the midwife told you about minutes before you pushed), so small in fact that you might be nervous to hold/bath/feed them at first. It’s still a shock second time round but you soon get used to it.
2. Sleep deprivation is a nightmare (well it would be if you could sleep long enough to have a nightmare). Colic is definitely not fun either. Six hours of non stop crying anyone? Take help from anyone you trust who offers and please sleep when the baby sleeps. I never did and always said I would. Facebook is not your friend when you should be sleeping. Equally if your baby does cry for any long periods, get him or her checked out immediately. Always best to be safe than sorry.
3. Yes the pressure mounts for mothers from the minute their offspring are born and of course breastfeeding is best but it’s not always possible or something everyone wants to do. It’s easy to say follow your gut when it’s your firstborn, be it to perservere with nursing when it’s hard and there aren’t enough cabbage leaves left in Sainsburies, or to stop entirely but be strong in what you want to do and don’t let others backseat mother you or your kids on anything from weaning to weightloss.
4. Yes I wrote it. Weightloss. Why is everyone obsessed with how soon you lose your baby weight? You created life in there, a house for a baby to live, grow and breathe for 9 whole months. It’s OK to take your time and lose your weight slowly, healthily. 9 months on, 9 off or whatever. Some women naturally lose it the day the kid is born but for the majority of us it takes it’s sweet old time. Erase all images from your mind of VB in Louboutins leaving hospital. That’s better now.
5. Releasing pictures of your newborn is down to the individual. I’m personally not a fan of seeing scan pictures on FB and twitter or birth pictures for that matter (yes some things should be just for you and your partner). I just feel it’s all a bit too intimate. I also believe in the freedom of choice though so if you want to that’s fine too, just remember social networks mean pictures are social, out there and can be copied. I know celebrities and media personalities often release a first picture just so the paparazzi and world media won’t hound them for one everywhere they go and as public figures, releasing pictures of the heir to the throne will be expected of them and no doubt, as soon as possible.
So, not only will Kate be dealing with all of the above but the media’s glare will be ever present, the pressure on her more than Wills, particularly paramount. I hope she does go to her Mum’s and shuts that door for as long as she feels ready because those early days are hard enough without the paps in your face.
What else does Kate need to be prepared for before baby?