Since the moment Kate Middleton strolled out of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, hair and makeup impeccable, pink newborn in arms, it is literally all the internet can talk about.
In case you live under a rock or have more pressing matters on your mind, Kate labored, delivered, recovered, and met with her glam squad in about a seven-hour time frame. After all of that, she stepped outside, in an instantly iconic red dress, smiled and waved a few times, and got in the car with William and the baby to head home. And then we all lost our minds.
Let me be clear. I am not about to judge Kate Middleton for her choices. Because girl looks amazing, and if I looked like that seven hours after I gave birth, or really ever, I would run down the street naked.
For all the critics pointing out medical issues or concerns that keep most women and newborns in the hospital at least 24 hours post-birth, let’s remember that she is married to the FUTURE KING OF ENGLAND
I’m pretty sure she could quite literally have the entire staff of any hospital in the United Kingdom flown directly into her living room at a moment’s notice. I think they’re fine.
However, as an average human woman who has given birth twice now, I think it is my duty to make something very clear. This is not normal. Not even a little bit. I’m pretty sure there is only one other woman who could do what Kate Middleton did, and her name starts with Bey and ends in Oncé.
So please world, do not start expecting this of us. Most women, after pushing a watermelon out of their nether regions, whether via C-section or vaginally, look more like the bloated, sweaty love child of Gary Busey and Nick Nolte than a magazine ready cover-model.
At the seven-hour mark after both of my babies, I was still mostly numb from the waist down (thanks to the sweet, sweet magic of epidurals), totally sleep deprived, bleeding heavily, and hadn’t yet gone to the bathroom without the assistance of a catheter.
If I had sauntered out of the hospital at this point to smile and wave at the adoring crowds, I would have promptly fallen into the bushes because of the epidural fentanyl still fresh in my system. Unlike Kate and her effortless promenade (in heels no less!), I would have waddled, due to the burrito sized max-pad in my stylish mesh undergarments.
Kate stood gracefully, babe in arms. I would have teetered with the slightest movement as my lady parts exploded in soreness, due to the fact that a physician had only hours before been stitching a place that should never be stitched, a place that had also been subjected to multiple people’s hands shoved inside to help “turn the baby,” as well as a lovely detour into forceps land.
Kate wore a stunning Jenny Packham dress as she emerged from the maternity ward. Seven hours after my births, I wore an almost equally stylish hospital gown, covered in a collection of human bodily fluids.
Kate Middleton has a baby and looks better than most people do on their wedding day. The rest of us, however, have babies and look like we got run over by garbage trucks, who then backed up, ran over us a second time, and emptied their trash-filled contents all over us for good measure.
Of course, I understand why the world prefers the Kate Middleton version of labor and delivery. It’s so glamorous and old-fashioned, a call back to the days when men stood outside smoking cigars, women were put under with laughing gas, and the only person privy to the messy truth was the doctor and maybe a nurse or two. Back then they handed the parents the baby for a quick hello, rolled them down the hall to spend the next two weeks in the nursery, and just pretended the whole tawdry business had never happened.
Of course, anyone who has actually experienced the unique hell of modern childbirth knows that for the rest of us, labor hurts. Most women, after birthing a baby, are exhausted, bleeding train wrecks who can barely muster the energy to change into sweatpants and put on a little lip gloss, much less get a full face of makeup and a put-on pantyhose.
I’m truly sorry to burst the bubble. I wish I could tell you that all babies are born as regally as royal babies, that all women emerge from labor looking like they just enjoyed a day at the spa, that having a child is just something you do for a few hours, like a really challenging spin class.
Kate Middleton is a queen among women. She deserves all the praise and admiration in the world. She is poised, classy and beautiful.
But she is not normal. This is not normal. Do not expect the rest of us to emerge from our own labors like a butterfly from a cocoon, to smile beatifically in our designer gown as we stride confidently away from the hospital.
The rest of us will be over there in the recovery room bathroom, exhausted, half-naked, sweaty hair piled on top of our head, letting our nurses help us pee.