There are a lot of things about Kate Middleton, that I don’t know.

I don’t know how she manages to volunteer as much as she does, while being a dutchess AND a mother.

I don’t know where she gets her fabulous hats—nor do I know if I could pull off wearing said fabulous hats to soccer practice and Trader Joes, but I would like to.

And I definitely do not know her well enough to make snap judgements and criticisms about her, especially when it comes to her body and her pregnancy.

Yet it seems there are many in the world right now who do feel they have the right to publicly comment on shame her for the way her body is growing her third baby, stating that she is “too thin” to be pregnant.


And there, I step in.

I have been a midwife for seven years. I have seen a lot of pregnant ladies. So while I don’t know Kate, I do know this—

Kate Middleton is a person. That she is royalty, that she is famous, that she is pregnant and that she is a woman does not grant anyone permission to judge or comment on her body.

That should be the end of the discussion. In case it’s not, here are a few things to consider—

Maybe it’s because she’s sick

Kate has been quite open about her struggles with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), severe pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting that affects about 2 percent of pregnant women. Not only do women with HG suffer from stomach upset (to put it mildly) pretty much all of the time, they can also experience weight loss, extreme exhaustion, emotional changes... in other words, it is MIS-ER-ABLE.

I’ve never had the honor of meeting Kate, but I think I can safely assume that having hyperemsis gravidarum is not her first choice. So let’s not make her journey harder by criticizing her for it.

Or maybe, this is just how her body grows and carries babies.

Ask any woman who has ever been pregnant, and she’ll probably tell you that at least once (and probably much more frequently than that) someone has commented on how big (or small), her belly is.

“Are you sure it’s not twins?” “You have to eat! That baby is so small!”

Women carry babies differently. Some start “showing” as soon as they see that little blue line, while others never have to buy maternity pants. Some women carry round and high, others carry lower and in their hips. The same size baby may “look” very different on a tall woman than it does on a short woman.

Our bodies are just different.

What’s not different is that we are all trying as hard as we can to grow healthy babies. Our bodies are doing amazing work—let’s stop critiquing them for it.

And maybe we should just not comment on other people’s bodies at all.

Being pregnant is an incredibly vulnerable time in our lives, whether it’s our first or fifth time doing it. Our bodies are hard at work growing life, and our minds are hard at work making sure we’re doing everything as perfectly as possible for our babies. Remarks that make women second-guess their tremendous efforts are just unnecessary.

We have enough to worry about, without adding “what other people think about my body” to the list.

And while we’re on the topic, can we actually just stop commenting on women’s bodies IN GENERAL?

Women were placed on this earth to change it and make it better. Some women invent things. Some women start companies. Some women decide to become mothers. None of those women are here to be shamed, mocked or ridiculed. Including Ms. Middleton.

So Kate—from a midwife, woman, and mother, please, please just ignore them. Please continue to nurture your body the way that you know best. Please marvel at how strong you are.

And please, tell me where to get those hats.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."


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