Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The Royal Baby? The Wrong Focus!
Unlike the many, many, many facebook and twitter friends who have updated their statuses with vehement denials of their caring for the royal baby's birth, I genuinely didn't care. Having read through a million and one 'who cares about this?', 'why is this all over the news?', etc. - counterproductive, I might add, since they were all adding to the general conversation about the bloody thing - it still didn't strike me as anything, as an Irish person, to be particularly interested in. I wasn't even uninterested, because that would imply being actively involved in ignoring the situation - it would tie me to the facebook disavowals of my vocal friends. I was, to the highest degree anybody can be in such a limbo state, completely disinterested. Ah, but then...
Sitting down to watch some stupid post-work TV on Sky, the terrible programme I was watching was interrupted by a 'breaking news' scroll across the bottom of the screen...the Duke and Duchess were about to leave the hospital! Out of idle curiosity, I switched it over...and then out of journalistic interest kept watching, because the commentators were absolutely hilarious: 'There's some movement'; 'Sorry to interrupt you, but it looks like they're coming out'; 'What's the procedure here, Tom?', etc. etc. - a 24-hour news cycle in all of its awful glory as they scrambled for something new to say on this momentous occasion. Of course, there was nothing new to say, and nothing to hope for except that they would bring that baby out as soon as possible! And here's where it got interesting for me - when those doors finally opened, and a couple the same age as myself and my boyfriend strolled out the door with their babe in arms to cheering crowds. They looked every inch the average couple - though better put-together than most after labour - with the beaming 'look what we have created' looks I've seen on every new parent's face. But what interested me the most was not their commoner-ways and modern monarchy. Not the ever-so-obliging chat with journalists, nor even the bundle of joy in their arms, could distract me from Kate's body. Here, proudly on display for the entire world to see, was the ACTUAL aftermath of birth - a distended belly!
I absolutely applaud this woman, who is held up as the epitome of style and grace, for standing in front of a bank of photographers looking absolutely stunning (her hair, her dress, her shoes - everything about her spoke of poise and wealth), and cupping her arms around a body that has clearly just been through the rigours of childbirth. Granted, we may have to see endless articles about how she'll get her 'beach body' back on the likes of Heat and Hello (in fact, OK was already running an article on this in the lead-up to the birth, if memory serves me correctly), but at the moment I can hold her up as a fine example of womanhood. Somebody who accepts and displays the fact that a woman does not go from having a baby inside of her, swelling her breasts, belly and feet, to a flat-stomached bikini goddess in the blink of an eye. For too long this side of life has been hidden, and women everywhere are made to feel that somehow you HAVE to return to the figure you had before birth in order to be a real woman, and a 'young' mother (no matter what your age).
Jade Beall did an amazing photographic diary of women, kids, and their post-baby bodies to show the beauty of the female form, in all its incarnations. The photos are stunning and well worth checking out - on her website, here - and add to my amazement that anybody would buy the types of magazines that make you feel as though your body is less than it should be. There might be a ton of other commentary on Kate's decisions - the polka-dot dress so reminiscent of Diana, the fact that she's so generally thin and model-esque, her coiffured hair 24 hours after giving birth, etc. etc. - but for now I want to bask in the glory of the future King of England being displayed by a mother who accepted her bodily changes as part of the baby she was holding, and told the world's women that it's a natural and beautiful thing. And if that changes one woman's mind about her own bodily perception, and eases some of the emotional stress many women go through as they feel flabby and destroyed after birth, then it's worth every moment.
Welcome to the world, royal belly!