I rarely dream, but last night I pictured a future Daily Mail sidebar image of Kate cradling her baby with the words “The future king’s mother flaunts her incredible post-baby body in this figure-hugging dress.”
Hardly an enlightening, uplifting dream, then. More like a sad certainty, something that many of the trash rags will already be salivating over, with their eagle-eyed minions being told to watch out for signs of Kate’s trim-ness, togetherness, and contented mother-ness.
Since Kate’s emergence from the hospital yesterday, she’s been called ‘still fat’ ‘un-shaggable’ and, ‘five months pregnant’ on Twitter. One guy very kindly, tweeted ‘I’d fuck Kate with or without her afterbirth.’ How pleasant and generous of him, though I’d question his desire to shag the afterbirth. Where would he put his small penis?
A small minority on Twitter (men and women) feel it their public duty to scrutinise Kate Middleton's body. She’s committed a crime by showing that not even a woman with a lithe, athletic frame can lose the baby weight in just twenty four hours. Terrible. A small bump – totally normal for the not-Heidi Klums-and-Natalia Vodianovas of this world – is as common as cracked nipples following the birth of a baby. But she chose to wear a dress that did not disguise the fact that she still looked a little pregnant. How dare she? A sack would have been far less vulgar.
I think it’s time some people were educated on the ins and outs of pregnancy, so here’s my inexpert guide to things you might need to know:
Amazingly, you put on weight when growing a baby
If you have a near 9-pounder (as I have done on three occasions) then the weight will not simply ‘drop right off’ once you’ve pushed out both sprog and afterbirth. If you ate 500 quarter pounders with cheese over nine months, would you step on the scales after a very large poo on your first day of fasting to find you’d dropped all the excess weight you’d gained? No.
New mothers don’t usually give a damn whether they are ‘shaggable’ or not
Yes, we may like sex (that’s how babies are conceived) both before, during and after giving birth (but weeks or months rather than days after labour) but never with people who insult our body shape, or tell us they want it a day after we’ve passed the equivalent of a scorching hot gala melon through our vaginas (or, in the case of C-sections, through an sizeable incision in our stomach).
Eating regularly is vital both during and after having a baby
When I was heavily pregnant for the second time during a rare British heatwave, the most enjoyable part of my day was when I put on my Demis Roussos kaftan and plonked myself on a park bench to eat an Almond Magnum. When my son was born, I did still look pregnant for a couple of weeks after labour. But I still treated myself to Magnums, because the pain of fever inducing mastitis had to be counteracted by something lovely and delicious.
Thinness is usually viewed as a virtue by those who have body hang-ups themselves
A few months after the birth of my third baby I became really ill with a virus. I dropped nearly two stone over a few weeks and was underweight. I was still breastfeeding, working and trying to manage a family of five. Doing all of this was murderously gruelling when I felt so weak. And guess what? More than a couple of people I didn’t know that well said how great I looked. How had I shed all of that baby weight so quickly? Could I tell them my secret? I nearly wrote down the name of the slimming pill I was taking on a piece of paper: a virus available from toilet seats near you.
Women are not a homogeneous species
'Real' women are not simply ones who have large bellies after giving birth, any more than 'perfect' women are the ones who slip back into their normal jeans the day after having their baby. Bodies work differently, they store fat in different places. And who really cares? All these labels simply relate to appearance, and frankly, when a woman becomes a mother her physical appearance is only a very small part of her world that has changed forever. What about the emotional upheaval, or the shift in priority, or the fact that the bits that you can't see (personally I could talk about my semi-incontinence here, for I'd give up a flat stomach for a more functional pelvic-floor any day) might not work quite as well as they did? For most mothers, the inflated tummy eventually disappears, but so much else changes forever.
Those unfulfilled idiots who dream up perfect lives for celebrities, namely female ones, and wait like hawks in the shadows for them to show signs of weakness so they can shame them, display little wisdom. It doesn't take a mother to see that unnecessary scrutiny of a new parent's postpartum body is ridiculous and unintelligent - after all, when Kate's body goes back to the shape it was after gruelling hours of training (see OK Magazine's detailed insider break-down of this) the very same people will probably be criticising Kate for being too thin. But hopefully she won't care a jot, because she'll be enjoying her baby.