WHAT did we learn about the Duchess of Cambridge from her appearance in the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with Giovanna Fletcher?
There were some new admissions, among them that she found showing her newborn babies to the world on the steps of the Lindo Wing in London ‘terrifying’ and that her severe nausea in pregnancy, a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, was debilitating. Not surprising but in a world where so many celebrity mothers claim to be some kind of superwoman, it was certainly human.
It was the candour with which Kate spoke about the difficulty she has with ‘mum guilt’ – she said it was a universal bugbear and that any mother who denied its existence was ‘actually lying’ – that was the most revealing. ‘It’s a constant challenge,’ she said. ‘You hear it time and time again from mums, even mums who aren’t necessarily working and aren’t pulled in the directions of having to juggle work life and family life.’
She went on: ‘You’re always sort of questioning your own decisions and your own judgements and things like that, and I think that starts from the moment you have a baby.’
She is right, of course. While everyone’s experience is different, in speaking about her everyday role as mother, Kate masterfully – whether consciously or not – reminded us all of the importance of motherhood. Parenting is so casually outsourced these days, all too often out of necessity rather than desire, that it is good to hear somebody in the public eye speaking up for the role of mothers.
In truth, there is almost a limit to how much she can contribute to the debate around this subject despite the many tales she shared. Just a few minutes after the podcast aired, a backlash began online, critics saying her account was an exaggeration given how much support and crucially, money, she has had in the rearing of her children. There has even been criticism of her own ‘very happy’ childhood.
Undoubtedly, Kate is in a hugely privileged position, but to stop at that is to miss the point. For one thing, in speaking this way, she debunks the myth that those who are privileged simply delegate their problems away.
A few weeks ago, TCW suggested that Kate’s dogged determination and conscientiousness in the role of a senior member of the royal family deserved our praise. This week, she will no doubt have won herself even more fans.