Dear Kate Middleton ...
Dear Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Person with Possibly the Most Enviable Hair Ever:
So I hear you're in labor. And I'm not even going to pretend I know what that's like to experience as a royal. But I know what it's like to experience as a woman, and a mother-to-be, and it's a crazy enough time for a "normal" person - let alone someone with thousands of people literally camped out in waiting.
I mean, I was worried that I'd crap on the table during childbirth. I can't imagine the fear that such a mortifying event could be leaked to the entire world. I can just see the tweet now: "Confirmed: the Duchess of Cambridge DOES indeed poop. #royalbaby #ew"
You might have a couture hospital gown (slightly less degrading and backless than those we commoners are forced to wear) and a luxury birthing suite and other fantastic amenities (i.e., the hunky Prince William at your side), but when it comes right down to it, you're just a woman doing what we women have done for eons. And just like the rest of us, I'm sure you're nervous and slightly self-conscious and worried and wondering about what the next few hours - and then beyond that - will hold. We may each have different details, but the experience itself is universal.
I hope those around you realize that and let you, just for a bit, be not Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Mother of the All-Important Heir to the British Throne, but simply Kate Middleton, Woman in Labor. And New Mother. I hope your gorgeous hair goes uncurled for a bit, and that you don't feel pressured to keep your noble bearing, and that you can poop right there on the table and barely bat an eye. Labor and childbirth isn't pretty, but it's beautiful. I hope you are allowed to experience all the normal labor-y things without worrying about being proper.
My wish for your new little family is this: from today onward, as much normalcy as you can possibly have. As much hands-on parenting as you can possibly do. I hope you - not your nanny or your maid or whatever help your position entitles you to, but you - grapple with diaper explosions of epic proportions, and zombie around for a while from lack of sleep. I hope you get a little irritated when your husband sleeps right through the middle-of-the-night crying. I hope you sport a blouse stained with spit-up or sticky fingerprints without even realizing it. Stand over the crib making sure your baby is still breathing. Stay up all night worriedly checking on a fever. Watch in disbelief as your little angel throws a crazy tantrum resembling a demonic possession - over, like, a cracker or a deflating balloon. Clean up the endless toys, the crusty messes, and the variety of bodily fluids that will inevitably stain your carpet (and give you a constitution of steel, the ability to deal with grossness on a level that only parents can handle).
Because as much as I gripe about it - and ohhhh, how I gripe - I've learned that it's the messy moments of motherhood, the "I-Can't-Handle-This-Any-More" moments, the "OMG-WTF-is-That?" moments, that make the sweet moments infinitely sweeter. And the experience of parenting a child - the overwhelming, frightening, amazing experience - that much more universal. You're a part of that now. And no matter how much help you have or how much professional advice you're privy to, nothing can compare to bumbling along doing it yourself, trial-and-error, feeling like you're doing a terrible job - and then the wonderful realization that you have actually been doing okay. And that despite a setback here and there, you've got this parenting thing.
You might be raising a monarch, but at least for a while, he or she won't have any idea of that and will just be a regular baby.
I sincerely hope you get to be a regular mom, too.
All my best wishes,