While newspaper columnists are debating the fact that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is already pregnant, it’s worth looking at how a royal baby tends to affect all women who are pregnant around the time of a royal birth.
First – names. George and Charlotte have topped the polls in the last couple of years – it will be interesting to see if Louis does the same. In the year after a royal baby’s birth, British women tend to opt for more traditional names, not just the name of the new baby, but also the names of the baby’s parents, so both Kate and William get a boost in the name rankings each time a new baby arrives!
Second – merch. In 2015, when Princess Charlotte appeared in public wrapped in a GH Hurt & Sons shawl, their website crashed and they continued to receive 100,000 hits an hour for months. Similarly, the clothes that Meghan wears through her pregnancy are likely to become top sellers and High Street chains will be grabbing screen shots of her every appearance to turn around her clothing for their customers. If you like a bit of royal merchandise this is fun, but for some women it’s more of a burden. It can really push up the ante for some expectant woman, who are now likely to feel they under groomed and underdressed for pregnancy. Our maternity nurse team says that one thing they focus on when working with mums to be is to help them have realistic expectations and to celebrate the great things about pregnancy such as the lustrous shiny hair and strong nails many women find to be an unexpected benefit of their hormone shifts.
Third – photos. Thank God for honest women! When most of us presented our child to the world for the first time we didn’t look like Kate, or Diana, or any of the other royal mums. We looked … worn out, ill-dressed, overwhelmed and emotional – in other words, like most new mums a lot of the time. And the reason we know this is that social media was flooded with ‘me just after I gave birth’ photographs from women around the world, who were generous enough to share their reality so the rest of us didn’t feel too inadequate. Of course, for those who are lucky enough to have a maternity nurse on hand, photo opportunities are likely to be a lot less hit and miss, because a maternity nurse gives a new mum the chance to spend a little more time on herself and the things that she feels she values about herself.
Four – isolation. While royals seem to live in the public eye, most new mums feel they disappear. There’s nothing as wonderful, nor as potentially isolating, as giving birth. While at some times it can feel as if we’re never being left alone, at other times, particularly at night, it can feel as if we’re as alone as if we were living on a desert island. Once again, it can be invaluable to have a maternity nurse who can explain these feelings of isolation are normal and help define strategies that limit their effects and allow a new mother to enjoy her rare moments alone.