As the world celebrates the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby son – and eagerly awaits news of his name and the first glimpse of the little Prince (who weighed 8lb 6oz) – it got me reflecting on some of the wonderful things parenthood has brought me so far – endless love and cuddles, snot bubbles and tantrums, new friends and new experiences.
For celebs and royals, I wonder how different, or isolating, becoming a new mum is.
Do they really get to feel like they’re a part of the ‘club’ when they don’t (I’m guessing)really get the opportunity to mix with other new mums like us civilians do?
I doubt they just go along to their local mother’s group at the local clinic where they can meet other mums with bubs of similar ages, and ask questions about all things relating to baby’s latch/nipple shields/ reflux/ poop frequency/ sleep cycles/ neck control and when to start solids.
Does a mother’s group for the upper class exist? Or would people like Kate, sorry, Catherine – Duchess of Cambridge, result to using an alias on one of the gazillions of parenting forums where she can anonymously ask away and share her joy?
After my firstborn arrived, I couldn’t wait to get along to the local mother’s group to meet the other new mums from my area and to start enjoying play dates.
When my daughter was two weeks old I actually enjoyed the marathon effort it was to be organised enough to get out of the house and to put on my trainers to jog with the pram up a hill to get to the local weekly meeting on time (or at least before it ended).
And since my son was born, our network of parent friends has expanded even more – and will continue to grow as we meet up with multiple groups when our twins arrive.
When the Duchess of Cambridge is discharged from hospital, I wonder, aside from all the helpful advice from family, friends, and paid help, will she really be able to form new friendships.
And, can she, when she feels like it, veg on the lounge with leaky boobs, in her tracky dacks with bub asleep on her shoulder without feeling judged?
I, and other mummy-friends, are thankful for the services and support available to us here in Australia if required, and the opportunities to meet like-minded people and enjoy play dates and watch our children grow and learn to socialise.
Here’s why I’m glad I’m not Kate Middleton (as much as I think she’s totally fab with great style, lovely personality and superb hair):
1. The WHOLE world is watching
When I was in labour with my first, my husband and I loved only having select family members knowing that I was in labour. Poor Kate had hundreds of photographers waiting outside the hospital and everyone is on the edge of their seat (well I am) waiting to hear further details surrounding the little Prince’s name and arrival.
2. The birth
Even if Kate wanted to, I seriously doubt that she would have been able to have a birth photographer on hand to capture those special moments. What would happen if those photos ever got into the wrong hands?
And knowing that the staff, despite all the confidentiality agreements, would know intimate details of you/your birth etc, is a bit creepy. I imagine Kate will be hoping that they won’t spill the beans to friends/media that she possibly yelled “I hate you Wills, we’re not having sex ever again” during labour.
3. 24-hour nannies
Obviously Kate isn’t one of my BFFs so I can’t call her to ask what her plans are, but assuming she’s following the lead of other royals, we can assume she’ll have an army of helpers on call 24/7 to help out with the newborn.
But for me, there’s nothing sweeter, even in your sleep deprived state, than getting up to attend to your newborn at all hours. The hormones are so amazing early on that, for me, it’s really not considered a chore, as I just couldn’t wait to see their cute little face again and have that bonding time as you get them back off to sleep.
Will Kate be forced, by well-meaning people, to ‘get some rest’ or to allow them to take care of the bub, when really it’s important bonding time?
With our firstborn (daughter)
4. Fumbling and seeing your man be a Dad
Part of the fun of becoming a parent for the first time is the fumbling and mistakes. Will Kate and Wills have time to themselves with bub to try and work it all out themselves?
For example, when we got home from hospital and I placed our firstborn in her bassinette, I incorrectly positioned her on a baby safety pillow. The pillow is meant to be either side of the bub’s middle to stop them from rolling, however I positioned it incorrectly so that the pillows were either side of bub’s head for 10 minutes til I realised my ridiculous rookie error and safely repositioned her.
I loved seeing my husband be a Dad, change nappies and help out as much as he could (he would even get up for night feeds to keep me company or to change bub’s nappy so I could go back to sleep).
Hope Kate gets a chance to see Wills in action as it’s certainly one of the most special and appealing things.
The pillow thing that is NOT supposed to be near bub's head — I realised after a few minutes & quickly repositioned our daughter.
5. Prams, products, clothes and more
The whole world will be looking to see how quickly Kate loses her baby tummy (though she looked absolutely amazing throughout her pregnancy), what pram she decides to use, how she dresses the Prince, and her parenting choices (eg breastfeeding Vs formula or whether the Prince will remain intact or undergo a circumcision).
Most new mums have enough pressure so hopefully Kate and her people are able to block it all out so she can just get on with it.
6. Mother’s Group /play dates
Forget the stories you’ve heard about mums competing (‘oh your son was walking at 12 months, wow, well mine started at 4 months, before he even crawled’), because, for many, mother’s groups, are such a great support.
Sharing the trials and tribulations of surviving when your baby won’t sleep longer than a 45-minute sleep cycle and discussing tears and tantrums (yours and the baby’s).
I have a lovely little group of ladies who I have caught up with most weeks since our babies were six months old (when I moved to the area). We’ve witnessed our children (and each other’s) master crawling, walking, eating, talking, toilet training, and now climbing the play equipment and answering back (and they’re only 3!).
In the early days, it’s also fun meeting other new mums, and trading birth stories.Obviously Kate has her sis Pippa, and other friends from school and university. But unless there’s a high society club or group for Kate to turn to, I wonder if Kate has Crown Princess Mary of Denmark on speed dial to chat all things babies?
It's fun to be able to share your experiences, advice and memories with others, an experience I wonder whether Kate will get to enjoy.
And who can forget all the extra social activities/ birthday parties/ invites.
7. The joy of dry-heaving when removing mouldy bananas and sausages from the car
Toddlers are messy. Even though I swore I’d never allow my children to eat in the car, over time, it is something that has slipped through the net. And in the hustle and bustle of getting the toddlers in and out of the car, racing from baby rhyme time at the library to small sports, I admit a few food items have remained unaccounted for at the end of the day, only to make itself known after a few days thanks to a not so pleasant aroma.
Hubby and I have shared many laughs about the gross-ness. An experience Wills and Kate probably won’t get to share as their outings will probably be limited, and hey, why would you clean your car when you can pay people to do it!?
8. Visiting the park
When I’m not working (part time), I love just being able to pop the toddlers in the pram and walk down to our local play park whenever I feel like it. There, as a civilian mum, I can also enjoy seeing my children interact in the park with other kids, and hey, get all sandy/muddy. My kids are only 1 and 3; however, it gives me great pleasure when I see them chatting to other kids at our local park, sharing, and just interacting in general.
I doubt Wills and Kate’s offspring will get to experience just hanging out on the local swings/slide/monkey bars while getting to know fellow members of the community. But it’s so much fun.
9. Dealing with a number 3
Aah, a good old poo explosion.
You haven’t lived 'til you’ve had to clear up mustard-coloured baby poop that has been spread from ear to ear (how do they do it?!).
I spent plenty of time in the parents' rooms of the local shopping centres dealing with such scenarios. But it’s all character-building and you learn so much (like, to pack 5 outfits and spare plastic bags).
10. Driving with a screaming baby
Oh, the number of times we had to pull over to breastfeed bubs or do nappy changes in the boot of the car.
11. Mums and bubs bootcamp
Once I was given the all clear from the Doctor and able to get back into exercising, I relished being able to join other mums and bubs for Stroller Group/ Mums and Bubs Fitness sessions. It was fun to get out and enjoy the fresh air while socialising with other mums with bubs of all ages.
Obviously many people – myself included – would love to live the privileged life that Wills and Kate have. But sometimes it’s the little things that remind me how happy I am to be living my middle-class life in suburbia.
This post originally appeared on Lauren's blog Gold Coast Mum, and has been republished with full permission.