Why the World’s obsession matters
Ask any woman who has ever been pregnant or who is pregnant and they’ll likely tell you that as soon as you announce you’re expecting; your body becomes public property! Anyone and everyone is willing to depart their wisdom on you – regardless of whether you asked for it or not and especially if you didn’t.
Suddenly, lining up at your local café becomes fraught with the possibility that a complete stranger will ask you when you’re due, before telling you that you’re too big, too small or too something for their liking. Or you find yourself dodging that strange old lady Carol from the accounts department who now thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to give your stomach a playful pat. Ahhh, no thank you!
Not to mention the frequent trips to the toilet, waves of nausea, feeling so tired that you could sleep for a week, that cute and fun time at the end of pregnancy when you can’t wait to go to bed only to find out that there is literally no comfortable position to lay in anymore, the cravings, the swollen ankles, weird body changes no one talks about, perhaps a few odd hairs sprouting in places you haven’t noticed before….pregnancy is a very physical experience that takes its toll emotionally and mentally as well.
Now imagine going through everything that pregnancy entails while the whole world is watching, along with a set of rules that must be adhered to!?
This week, I wanted to look at the phenomenon that is a Royal pregnancy, in particular, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex AKA Meghan Markle.
While her pregnancy and day-to-day activities are so far removed from the reality of our everyday lives, the fact is she is still pregnant and going through the same things every other woman does. I think it’s interesting to reflect on how the world and in particular the media react and respond to every move she makes is and how this is reflective of the way society treats pregnant women in general. Of course, in Meghan’s situation, it’s greatly magnified, but there is definitely something to be said about the way women’s bodies and pregnancies become public property open for discussion without invitation.
I know, I know – in a sense I’m doing the exact same thing and being slightly hypocritical by writing about her! However, I won’t be making up any crazy theories or speculating, just commenting on a few of the stories I’ve come across and why I think it’s important that we can openly discuss what this obsession means for the average woman.
With about a month or so to go until the world meets this highly anticipated royal baby, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the interesting and down right crazy stories that have been written about the Duchess’s pregnancy – and why we need to talk more openly about the fact that a woman’s body, pregnancy and birth experiences are personal and shouldn’t be up for public discussion unless she wants them to be.
Royal wardrobes are always under a lot of scrutiny, but especially so when they are pregnant!
Meghan and Harry announced their pregnancy when they arrived in Australia for their tour last year and it seems like every single one of Meghan’s outfits since then has been photographed and analysed.
Here is a great gallery if you’re into that kind of thing.
Personally, I wonder how much pressure she must be under to look that amazing all the time. And how much pressure she feels to emerge from the hospital, baby in arms looking as glamorous as The Duchess of Cambridge has done with all three of her babies?!
Even Meghan’s off duty, sporty pregnancy looks seem like they would take more effort than what I wear into the office most days! There is no doubt she looks incredible and granted she’s naturally a knock-out, plus has a team of people around her to help her look amazing at all times but still – you’ve got to admit, travelling and appearing in public whilst pregnant has got to be tiring? Especially when you know you’re going to be photographed from every conceivable angle?
Why are we all so fascinated by what she’s wearing, especially while she’s pregnant? Questioning why she’s wearing heals or why her dress is fitted or not. She’s even been criticised for holding and touching her tummy too often!?
Was looking good a priority for you in your pregnancy? Or was it comfort? Or both? Did you ever have anyone comment on what you were wearing?
Twins and Triplets
There have been a number of news stories that seem to have been completely fabricated about the possibility of Meghan carrying twins or in some news outlets, triplets.
What I find so fascinating if not slightly disturbing about this is that all of the stories are based on nothing more than outsiders speculating whether or not she looks ‘big’ given her approximate due date and drawing the conclusion that she was obviously carrying more than one baby based on her size. Which is ridiculous!
One article used a ‘Royal Fan’ as a source who said that Meghan looked about her size at 6 months as she did when she was pregnant with triplets. Sounds like a very reliable source to me!! I imagine Meghan doesn’t read the gossip magazines all that often, but even so, being told that you look big is never helpful or kind, even when you’re pregnant.
Telling a pregnant woman that she looks tiny is not a good idea – because she might worry that there is something wrong with her baby and that she’s not growing enough, something she would be highly aware of if there was a problem.
Telling a pregnant woman that she looks big is not a good idea – she’s well aware of how big she’s getting and doesn’t need you to point it out for her. Also, it’s not wise to ask if she’s sure there aren’t two babies in there, trust me she would know!
The best thing anyone can tell a pregnant woman is that she looks beautiful! It’s just such a shame that the media and complete strangers feel like it’s totally acceptable to comment on a woman’s size at any time, especially when she’s pregnant and especially doing so to make up stories that she’s carrying more than one baby. Let’s just let pregnant women be and keep our opinions (which are exactly that, opinions) to ourselves.
Going even further that the twins and triplets’ rumours that have circulated around Meghan’s pregnancy, some have even gone on to speculate that the entire pregnancy is fake.
Based on a few quick searches online, I couldn’t even work out what this rumour was founded on aside from some people (who clearly have nothing better to do) suggesting she was wearing a fake bump.
While most women aren’t subjected to being told they’re faking their pregnancy, regardless of whether or not she’s a royal you can only imagine that having those types of rumours spread about you is hurtful.
What I think is important to take away from this is that we just never know how off-handed comments could affect someone. Especially when it comes to pregnancy, birth and babies. While you may have the best of intentions, even a simple a question such as ‘when are you going to start a family?’ or ‘when are you having another one?’ could be upsetting for some. Really, it’s no one else’s business.
We still have a long way to go on this one because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a male being publicly asked when they’re going to have a family or more children or why it is that they don’t want a child or want more. As women I think it’s important we feel completely comfortable and confident to tell people it’s none of their business if we are asked these questions – don’t feel bad for making them feel uncomfortable!
Probably the most controversial moment of her pregnancy so far, Meghan has been given a very hard time for her lavish baby shower in New York recently. After all, the Royals are very particular about ensuring that they don’t appear to have too much cash to splash – even though we all know they do! And, she broke one of the Royal rules I mentioned earlier.
There are plenty of stories online if you’re keen to go into the details (it’s rumoured to have cost $AU 700,000 !!!) of the lavish affair. Let’s just say it doesn’t sound anything like a backyard baby shower with a cheese board, cupcakes and Pinterest inspired Baby Shower games!
The baby shower phenomenon is an interesting one though. Why do you think it is that they’ve become such a huge trend and getting more and more over the top? Not to mention gender reveal announcements and parties, photo shoots and more.
I believe each woman and her family should feel completely comfortable to do what feels right for them, celebrating bringing in a new life into the world in a way that makes them happy, with memories they can treasure forever. I just hope that the influence of social media and celebrities with their baby extravaganza’s aren’t putting too much pressure on Mums-to-be and new Mums, when at the end of the day the most important thing is that Mum and Baby are healthy, in every sense of the word.
While putting so much effort into researching the perfect Baby shower colour scheme and Vogue Interiors-worthy nursery, my wish is for all Mums-to-be to put just as much effort into preparing for childbirth and parenthood beyond the celebrations and Insta-worthy photos.