Baby & Me

Royal Baby

Let me raise my hand and admit here and now that I was affronted by how good Ms Middleton looked, just 10 hours after “being delivered” of a child that was just a couple of grammes shorts of 4kgs. Who does that?

After I pushed Adoti’s big ole head out, it felt as if I had been delivered of my limbs. Hand-eye coordination was nil. I could barely walk. My legs felt like jelly. My ‘birthing area’ felt like I had laid it down on a track and rolled a train over it. And I was as tired as hell.

The breastfeeding coach was trying to get me to nurse the child but my eyes would not remain open. Luckily for me, it has been quite a journey for Adoti as well, so we were both exhausted. We slept for the better part of three days.

Had someone asked me to wake up, leave alone go walkabout, I would have thought they were bonkers. I mean, hey. Who expects a new mum to leave her bed and do anything at all, just hours after she’s given birth?

Well, apparently, we do. As in, we the world. There must have been an enormous amount of pressure for the Duchess of Cambridge to ‘stiff upper lip it’ and present the royal baby to the masses almost as soon as the little princess was born. Why else would she put on a pair of heels – heels! –and walk out into a theatre of flashing lights, with a huge smile on her face, and a baby held quite securely in arms that should have been limp with fatigue? Come on, Kate! That bar has been set way too high.

Then again, we’re not royals. So we can have our babies in peace, without the expectations of a commonwealth forcing us to keep up appearances. Isn’t that a relief! If ever you dreamed of being a princess as a child, now you can see what a nightmare it can turn out to be.

That said, we’ve all heard the stories of those sturdy African women who go into labour in the morning, deliver themselves at midday and then return to the fields in the afternoon. It’s usually the aunt or great-aunt who has 15 children, all of whom were delivered by her own hand somewhere in the village, with nothing but some hot water, clean linen and a razor.

The stuff of legend, I tell you. The Duchess, however, did none of that. Going into it, she had been labelled ‘Lazy Kate’ for not racking up the numbers in terms of royal engagements and public appearances. So that criticism was probably an added impetus to show the world that she was “…strong enough to bear the children then get back to business”, if I may borrow the words of Her Ratchet Highness, Queen of the Commoners, Beyoncé Knowles.

That’s line from her single Who Runs the World? If Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is anything to go by, then for sure, women are running the world. But behind every powerful woman, there is a glam squad.

Kate wore a bespoke Jenny Packham dress, carefully designed to disguise her post-delivery belly, and nude Jimmy Choo pumps. Her hairdresser was spotted going into the hospital about five hours before Kate emerged, and she was no doubt responsible for those wavy, impossibly healthy-looking tresses.

Kate’s nails had been done beforehand, and painted in a natural, clear colour. Several outlets have reported that she did her own makeup.

All that took care of her appearance. But how did the new mum seem so poised and pain free so soon after birth?

We can deduce that she must have had a pretty uncomplicated delivery. Sources say the Duchess gave birth without an epidural, assisted mostly by midwives. Midwives have a variety of ‘non-scientific’ techniques that they use to preserve the vaginal opening and prevent undue tearing. So I will assume that Ms Kate was not walking around in heels with stitches in her lady parts. And epidural or not, we can also assume that she was on some kind of pain medication when she presented Britain’s newest royal – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana – to the planet.

All told, it is always a miracle when a mother delivers her baby without incident. The new Princess will have a more privileged life than most of our own kids, after all, “…mungu akileta mtoto, analeta sahani yake”. But for now, she’s just a cute, little newborn and the Duchess, is just a mother who went into labour and came out of it alive.