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It's okay. Most women do not look like Kate when they've just had a baby.

A new standard of post-natal glamour has been set by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. But just remember, knackered new mums: we are not her.

What were you doing, 10 hours after you gave birth to a baby?

Didn’t look like this when you left hospital? Well, don’t worry, nor does anyone else.

If you were lucky, you might have been sleeping.

Maybe you were crying, maybe you were feeding, maybe you were healing.

Maybe you went straight home and cleaned the house.

Maybe you were bleeding. Maybe you couldn’t walk.

Maybe you were sitting by a humidicrib, praying.

Maybe, unthinkably, your arms were empty with your world irreversibly broken in pieces around you.

Maybe.

But chances are, you were not wearing a designer dress, with freshly styled hair, a full-face of make-up and high heels, smiling for hundreds of photographers.

And thank God for that.

“But chances are, you were not wearing a designer dress, with freshly styled hair, a full-face of make-up and high heels, smiling for hundreds of photographers. And thank god for that.”

This morning, Catherine,the Duchess of Cambridge left hospital, 12 hours after she arrived, looking for all the world like she’d just been in for a pedicure.

And women all over the world sighed, and said, ‘Wow. She’s amazing. Why didn’t I look like that after I’d had my baby?’

We marvelled over her shiny hair, the absence of eyebags, her easy smile… her slender ankles for Christ’s sake.

On Mamamia’s Parenting Facebook page, women said things like this:

 “Next pregnancy I think I’ll scrap the birthing classes and put my money towards a hair and makeup artist instead! I don’t think I managed a shower the day I left hospital, and I was there a week lol!”

“It was hard enough walking 10 hours after giving birth. Imagine having to look so glamorous and face the world press…”

“So jealous of her the media would of lost interest by the time I got to leave hospital and at 10 hours I was high as a kite on Morphine!”

“I’m so insanely jealous of how good Kate looks just hours after giving birth.”

On Twitter, people said things like this:

‘Kate’s had a baby literally a few hours ago and she already looks prettier and skinnier than me on a GOOD DAY #isthisajoke.

‘How is it possible that Kate looks that good after having the baby? she’s only ten hours old….did someone else have that baby for her.’

And just like that, thousands of women felt just that little bit worse about themselves.

Thousands more made a promise to themselves that when they have a baby: They too will look awesome and flawless immediately afterwards. Otherwise, well, they’d just be failing.

Stop. Everyone. Just stop.

BTW, Mamamia has a parenting podcast, hosted by Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright. Listen to them talking about poo in a bag, here:

Subscribe in itunes. Listen in soundcloud. Get the RSS feed.

The Duchess of Cambridge is a remarkable woman. And she is as ‘real’ as they come, in that she has red blood pumping through her veins, has a heart no doubt bursting with love for her two beautiful kids, and probably swore like a trooper as she pushed out that baby.

But she is not us. We are not her. We can’t hold her up as some sort of mirror to our own experiences.

Because her life is extraordinarily strange. And let’s never forget that.

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Getting this glamorous took every ounce of my being a few hours after the birth of my second child. I refused to be photographed in full-length for a good six months…

Four hours after her second baby was born, Kate’s personal hairdresser was summoned to St Mary’s Lindo wing on an urgent blow-drying mission to prepare the Duchess for facing the press.

Imagine that. Your tiny, precious baby is less than four hours old and you are forced to worry about your HAIR.

The dress that Kate was wearing would have been chosen well in advance, with an eye to how the colour would pop on a front page, how flattering the cut would be (remember all the endless talk about her tummy last time around?), and how different it was from when she made the same journey to those hospital steps, cradling George.

An entire staff handle all the little details, nothing would have been left to chance.

Hell, when I had my last baby, I forgot to pack a spare pair of pants. When the midwife told me she’s thrown away the pair I arrived in with disgust, I couldn’t blame her. I just had go commando until emergency pants could arrive from home, and just hope nothing slipped out in the meantime. I sincerely doubt that happened to Kate.

A few hours after my first child arrived. Boobs. Wrinkles. Shell-shocked expression. This is what a lot of new mums look like in the first 24 hours.

Birth can be an earth-shaking, universe-altering and just plain dangerous business. It isn’t easy, and a message to women that the ‘right’ way to behave just after you’ve had a baby is to act and appear as if nothing at all has happened is not helpful, or realistic.

Because birth isn’t easy.

Not even for royalty. Because, as you look at those images of Kate and Wills on the hospital steps, and wonder how she did it, just remember that she HAD TO do it. Imagine the headlines, the rumours that would spread, the concern that would be mounted, if the royal mother had said, ‘No, I want to go out the back door. I don’t want to share my fragile self with the world right now, and I don’t want to share my baby daughter with them, either.’

Equally, what a PR disaster if she was hobbling, wincing or teary.

She has no choice but to make it look easy. It is her job to be reassuringly calm, capable and serene.

Kate and William take home baby George back in 2013. Another Jenny Packham dress, another brilliant blow-dry.

Right now, Kate is probably on the lounge in yoga pants, ordering William to bring more chocolate biscuits as she tries to get used to breastfeeding all over again, and worrying about how she’s still going to be able to read George his bedtime story when her newborn decides it’s witching hour.

Or, as Emma said on our Facebook page this morning:

“It makes me feel better though to think that under all that glamour, she’d still be wearing massive maternity pads like the rest of us!!”

Amen to that.

How did you feel in the first 12 hours after having a baby?

A book of photos of mothers holding their children on their very first day paints a more realistic picture of what new motherhood looks like. By  Jenny Lewis. CLICK THROUGH:

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