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A handful of hours

Here in England, we love the royals—much like you all do over in the U.S., and last week we had the wonderful birth of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. And the world press exploded. A mere 12 hours after Princess Kate went into hospital, the new princess was in our world and mum and...

Here in England, we love the royals—much like you all do over in the U.S., and last week we had the wonderful birth of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
And the world press exploded.
A mere 12 hours after Princess Kate went into hospital, the new princess was in our world and mum and dad, Princess Kate and Prince Will, were posing for pictures outside the hospital before going home to Kensington Palace. Will was wearing a royal blue jumper (a sweater), and Kate was in a yellow dress and heels looking far too beautiful for someone who had just squeezed out an 8-pound baby. I mean, this was only a handful of hours after birth, and she’s posing for pictures. That’s amazing!
Or is it?
a few hours afterI was thinking about this the other day. A handful of hours isn’t a long time postbirth for a mother to be out for the press in heels. I thought about those few hours after Ben was born and what we were doing. It certainly wasn’t welcoming the world press.
This made me feel a little sad for the Princess, a mother’s time after her baby is born should be with the baby—bonding, loving, forgetting everything else but what has happened and the miracle that has arrived (not spent caring about image or makeup or preparing for the world to see you and your tiny addition to your family).
Our son, Ben, was born at 7:32 p.m., so a few hours would take us to maybe 1 a.m.? At 1 a.m. I was still in hospital scrubs and was bleary eyed, looking terrible, but my partner—I know she won’t mind me saying—looked worse.
But that is how it should be, right? I mean, child birth is pretty intense!
She had not showered because she hadn’t even been able to get up out of bed, so a catheter was still attached. She still had tubes in her hands and blood pressure monitors on her arms. Her hair was post-childbirth wild, no make-up was on, and she was still in her birthing nightgown, which was stained. But again, that’s how it should be—because hair and make-up and even showers didn’t matter one bit in the first few hours. For us it was about finding the calm after the storm that was Ben’s birth. It was about meeting him properly and cradling him through his shock of what had happened to him. I guess it’s similar for most families out there. Child birth is chaotic and scary and messy and so, so difficult for a mummy. Trying to find the balance is what should matter, being able to not care about anything but your baby is what should matter, and that’s how it was for us, as it would have been for most of you.
None of us had to think about entertaining strangers or looking good for anyone.
But Princess Kate knew she was going to be judged on how she looked. She knew the world was impatient to see baby Charlotte … and that she had to oblige.
The first handful of hours should be about a mother and baby and the impossible and miraculous battle they both had, which changed both of their lives. Those few hours is the time when mums and their babies bond, where the mum can feel like a mother and the baby can feel that unconditional love and safety mums radiate.
Sure, Kate is a Princess for the United Kingdom, but surely she’s a mother first?
It makes me feel lucky that my princess is only a princess for me (and now Ben).

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