ICYMI, this royal tradition calls for the brand-new parents of a very-fresh baby to showcase their bundle of joy for a photo call, like, as soon as everyone’s toweled off and clean-ish. Princess Anne did it after the birth of her son Peter Phillips, while Princess Diana and Prince Charles formally posed on the Lindo Wing steps of St. Mary’s Hospital for the births of Prince William and Prince Harry. Most recently, Kate Middleton posed immediately after the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, which has stressed me out every single time.
It’s not because the Duchess of Cambridge hasn’t looked incredible each go-around, because, duh, she absolutely has. Rather, she seems so absolutely exhausted on those steps. You know, like she just delivered a child and was forced to smile for the cameras, fully dressed, and immaculately coiffed. The nerve, right?
Obviously, I’m not the duchess of anything other than my own Netflix queue, but if I just had a baby and somebody even dared to take an Instagram of me, I’d use my last bit of strength to kick them in the face. Even if you’re gifted the world’s smoothest delivery, I think we can all agree that pushing a human being out of your vagina is exhausting enough to warrant a nap, right? So, brava to Markle for putting herself and her new family first and forgoing all the fanfare. This, folks, is peak royal JOMO, and it’s something worth celebrating.
Furthermore, if something goes not according to plan, the stress associated with not showing up for that royal photo call may be just as avoidable and extra as the photo call itself—because fact remains that so many complications can happen during childbirth. Between 2006 and 2015 alone, severe labor complications such as sepsis, kidney failure, and shock skyrocketed by 45 percent, according to a report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. And complications with the infant also aren’t out of the question.
When I think about all the things that can go wrong during labor, and then about being paraded around like a Topshop-wearing show pony hours after a long, maybe-scary delivery, and then about the ridiculously short expected bounce-back rate for a postpartum woman (considering maternity-leave duration for us non-duchesses), I JUST GET ANGRY. HOW ANGRY ARE YOU ABOUT THIS?! LIKE I JUST…having nothing to say that’s not littered with aggressive expletives.
Meghan and Harry break royal protocol. It’s what they do. And not every instance is worthy of a royal dissection (like when they want to kiss in public or she wants to wear a messy bun). But whenever a woman decides to reclaim her body, her agency, and her right to privacy following one of the most traumatic things that could happen, GOOD. You do you, baby.
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