parents

Prince William says he cries more now. I know exactly how he feels.

Whatever your position in life is, there is an eternal truth to being a parent. Having a baby shatters your psyche, your old-world view.

You feel things more, and you feel them harder. You see more nuance in the world, there are many more shades of grey and there’s really very little that could ever be black and white ever again.

Seeing parents who lose their children, seeing children endure suffering, placing yourself in the shoes of those parents, imagining that those children are your own children, accepting the bad things that happen in the world becomes much harder.

In a new interview, Prince William has described the worries and vulnerabilities he feels as a parent.

“I’m a lot more emotional than I used to be, weirdly,” William said.

“I never used to get too wound up or worried about things. But now the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around the world or whatever a lot more, I think, as a father.”

The feeling that something might happen to you, that something might render you unable to care for your children or unable to be there for their future, is a new and stronger consideration after you have children.

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“Just because you realise how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective. The idea of not being around to see your children grow up and stuff like that,” William said.

Watch Prince William discuss fatherhood after the birth of his son Prince George (Via YouTube/CNN):

Video by CNN

Some reporters are referencing the death of his mother Diana here, and it’s unimaginable that this wouldn’t be in his mind. But, there is something about having your own children that also inspires an understanding of the preciousness of life.

When you think about your own death, you worry about your children, about how their world will be changed, about how they will cope and how they will grieve. You mourn the fact that you will miss seeing them grow, you’ll miss your pride in their achievement, the love they will offer you.

Babies. (A completely unrealistic but very nice photo.) (Said photo taken by the lovely @sophiefiskphotography)

I don’t want to romanticise parenthood. Being a parent is hard and it’s hard work. It’s an unending grind of laundry and tantrums and cooking uneaten meals and nappies and sarcastic brats and unimaginable exhaustion.

But despite the cliché, I think your heart grows bigger, filled with a love you never knew existed.

For me, when I looked into the faces of my babies for the first time, it was as if I reached into my chest, pulled out my heart and offered it to them, for them to hold. It was as if my soul said, “Take my heart. It’s yours.” I became entirely vulnerable to two people who couldn’t have been less aware of it. I still am.

It was as if my soul said, “take my heart. It’s yours.”

So, yes, I see more, I hear more, I feel more. The thought of dying leaves me breathless in the middle of the night. The evening news bring me to tears. The pictures of children in desperate circumstances, the stories of mothers left childless are so heartaching I can barely look.

But I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. And I’m sure William wouldn’t either.