OK, this post will probably garner all kinds of negative reactions and I’m sure it will make me sound sanctimonious and priggish (and maybe a hypocrite for saying anything at all) but I need to come right out and say it: everyone needs to back right off of the royal birth story. I mean it. Back off. Walk away. Leave Kate Middleton alone until she’s ready to do another public appearance.
For those of you who haven’t logged on to Twitter or Facebook or turned on the news today, Clarence House, apparently the official mouthpiece for the Duchess and her husband Prince William, confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge is in Labor. Yes, this is news the world has been waiting to hear. Yes, the birth of a member of a royal family is actually new. But this? This tweet right here? This is ghoulish and invasive:
Live updates? Of someone’s birth? Without her express consent? No. No. no, nononononono. No.
I was really private about both of my births. I wasn’t on social media when my son was born so I didn’t update anyone but my mom, my boss and maybe my sister when I headed to the hospital. I gave no updates to anyone during labor either. I called or emailed family when my son was born. My daughter was a planned c-section and, though I knew the date weeks in advance, I told almost no one when I’d be delivering even though I was blogging for Babble Baby by then and had a perfect platform for sharing. Nor have I ever published my birth stories and I never intend to do so. I simply don’t care to put what I consider an enormously intimate experience into the public eye, even though for me “public” means the handful of people who read my Facebook updates.
I can’t even imagine how it would feel to have a leading online news source hovering over the refresh button while I was in labor. Or having hordes of photographers camped out for weeks waiting for my car to arrive at the hospital. Or have every person with a Twitter account talking about my birth while I was actually going through it.
I have a huge stick up my ass about the habit of turning celebrity pregnancies and births into media spectacles. I was actively nauseated last week when a news program did a feature of the Duchess and showed repeated shots of her that started with a close up of her belly then panned up to her face. I hated all the coverage of Jessica Simpson’s body changes during her first pregnancy. I loathed the constant, gleeful sniping of Kim Kardashian’s choice of clothes during her pregnancy (And I’m am positively cheering that Kim and Kanye have been totally invisible since their daughter was born – good job protecting your baby from the media, guys!). These are women. Their pregnancies are just as real as every other pregnancy. Their symptoms and appearances and thoughts and dreams and fears are no different than anyone else’s. We have no right to gawk at them as if they’re engaging in a performance for our benefit. Pregnancy is natural, most women do it in their lifetime, and all women deserve respect and privacy during pregnancy and birth. Princess, pop star, and commoner alike.
I certainly wish Kate well today and I look forward to the official announcement of the baby’s name. But I will be avoiding the social media frenzy about the process of bringing the new baby into the world out of respect for the parents and baby.
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