You probably saw the news. There's a new royal in the world, all 8 pounds, 3 ounces of her, bundled in a sweet designer white blanket and matching cap. And now we know her name -- Charlotte Elizabeth Diana -- a nine syllable linguistic romp of royal endurance and intrigue.
Twelve hours after checking in, Kate Middleton stepped out of the hospital, cuddling her new baby, waving and smiling to the crowds. Kate's long hair was beautifully blown out, her make-up flawless, pearl and diamond earrings in place. The palace reports her yellow and white dress (more white than yellow) is by a British designer, and I can only hope those sleek taupe pumps were not new, but broken in and ready for her feet, whatever shape they might be in.
My heart aches for Kate, those first hours staged for public consumption. I've had three babies, and I don't remember when my hair got washed, but I know it wasn't in those first few hours. I slept and cuddled and tried to nurse my new baby. I was elated and exhausted and a hot, sweaty, emotional mess. If I'd been asked to wear any pump other than a breast pump, a hormonal explosion would have landed me in lock-down. And a dress, more white than yellow? Behind that radiant smile and royal wave, the poor woman must have been hoping the cameras would subside before the volcanic reactions of the new mother's body made white a most dangerous choice.
Defenders of this ritual, parading the new family just hours after the birth, say it's just part of the job, that Kate knew what she was in for when they exchanged vows. No doubt she did, or at least thought she did, and she has performed brilliantly in this royal post. She went through the same ritual with little George, but with a little less bling. This time, it seems the knob was dialed up, the expectations higher, along with the heels.
Bringing a new baby into the world is not part of the nine-to-five. It is a private and special life-changing moment, followed by intimate hours together, discovering this new miracle. The bedding ceremony -- where special guests accompanied the newly married royal couple to their bedroom to consummate the marriage -- is no longer a thing. Someone, somewhere in time, concluded it was unseemly, inappropriate. Some moments are private and are meant to stay that way.
I hope that Kate is now tucked away in a royal enclave, wearing the same yoga pants most new mothers prefer, and that she can skip the make-up and hair and performances for a while. She's earned it. And the rest of us can just be patient. This little girl will grow up under the scrutiny of royal watchers the world over, just as her father did before her. For these few days and weeks, she deserves privacy, alone with her mum and dad and big brother, without the prying eyes of the world demanding a perfectly coiffed Kate and royal press releases detailing designers and feeding schedules. Mother and daughter and father and son will be shared with the world for the rest of their lives. This is their time.
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