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.