Can you imagine being a pregnant celebrity? Would you like to have your not-so-flat stomach constantly analyzed for a bump? What about having your 9 month outfits reviewed by fashion experts? Think about how much judgement new moms feel over things like natural childbirth vs. c-sections. Can you imagine having your birth plan come up for conversation on Good Morning America?
There's no doubt that all of this will happen to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Interestingly, though, her world-famous pregnancy will also have the affect of drawing increased scrutiny to commoners, who just happen to be pregnant at the same time. Many of these women are used to the extra eyes. After all, they got married around the same time as Kate as well.
Heather Lynne Vickery of Greatest Expectations Event Planning in Chicago is in a unique position to see this effect. As an event planner, she saw how the royal wedding both inspired and intimidated engaged couples."Well, it isn't the royal wedding, but it will still be nice," was a common phrase for weddings in 2011.
Currently, though, Vickery also happens to be pregnant and, like Kate, she suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum. Unlike Kate, this isn't new for Vickery, it's her fourth child and her fourth bout with the debilitating illness. "I can't say it makes it any easier knowing that she's going through it, too, I feel bad for her, but at least now people understand what I'm talking about," says Vickery.
Kim, a graphic designer, got engaged in January 2011, shortly after Will and Kate. She says that because she's older, not as rich and not as thin as Kate, she didn't take too much wedding inspiration from the royal couple. But, she feels that the royals may be indirectly responsible for her not receiving a sapphire engagement ring. Kim believes a sapphire was her husband's original plan, but that it was derailed by Will and Kate making the idea too trendy (Kim's husband denies this and Kim also hastens to add that she loves the ring that she does have). Kim is also now pregnant and finds it odd, but sort of fun, to be on the same path as the royal couple.
The connection pregnant women feel to Kate makes perfect sense to Julia Beck, owner of Forty Weeks, a marketing agency that specializes in maternity businesses. "The bond between new and expectant mothers is quite essential and empowering -- creating community and building confidence. It is this feeling of connection and care that builds confidence in expectant mothers that is uniquely bolstered by having their very own Princess of Pregnancy at the helm," says Beck.
Of course, many newly pregnant moms may feel less "bolstered" and more "pressured" by being compared to a pregnant princess. I was pregnant in a much-less celebrity-pressured time and was still brought to tears one day by a perfect nursery layout in a catalog that I could never afford (hey, hormones, remember).
For many people, being a parent touches on all sorts of anxieties about income and status. We all want to do the best for our children. As much as we may logically know that "the best" doesn't necessarily involve money, it's hard to remember that when faced with page after page of perfectly decorated baby rooms, supplies and parties.
But, one of the many advantages of NOT being the Duchess of Cambridge and the future Queen of England is that your every pregnant and new-mom moment is not being documented by the world. Your baby's room does not have to be magazine-ready every minute of the day, because no one but your sister-in-law is going to analyze it and make snarky comments.
Do you feel a bond to the royal pregnancy or does it make you feel pressured? Share your thoughts in the comments.