Why It’s Great Meghan Is Going Against Royal Tradition And Doing Childbirth Her Own Way
We might be desperate to know all the details, but no woman should have to pose for cameras in heels and a dress hours after giving birth
14 April 2019
All Credits: PA
Breaking with royal convention, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they will be keeping the details about the birth of their baby private.
This means Meghan probably won’t give birth at St Mary’s, nor will she appear on the steps of the hospital’s exclusive maternity ward The Lindo Wing to present her newborn to the world. It comes as a shock to those used to seeing the Duchess of Cambridge cradling her new baby just hours after giving birth, a tradition she carried on from the likes of Princess Diana and Princess Anne.
Kensington Palace said in statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby. Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be keeping the details of the upcoming birth private (Chris Jackson/PA)
What we can expect is a low-key photocall a few days after the birth, where we all get a glimpse of the proud new parents and their baby.
As southern Californian girl who doesn’t come from royal stock, Meghan’s decision to do things her own way isn’t out of character. She’s something of a maverick in the royal family, and not parading herself in front of the media so soon after the birth is in line with her forward-thinking feminist principles.
Even though she risks backlash for bypassing this royal tradition, here’s why we’re actually glad Meghan won’t be appearing on the hospital steps a few hours after giving birth.
Every Woman Is Different…
This is Meghan’s first child (Yui Mok/PA)
Ever since she married Harry, Meghan has won praise for being a breath of fresh air to the royal family. As a biracial woman who has spent years forging her own career, she brings a new perspective to the traditional monarchy. The royal family stays out of politics, and yet some of Meghan’s speeches seem to almost go against this – such as speaking out about the #MeToo movement and feminist activism, which could be seen by some as erring a bit too close to political matters. She even breaks with royal convention on a much smaller scale, such as sporting dark nail polish and opening her own car door when arriving at events.
Meghan’s decision to not do the traditional photo op immediately after giving birth is in line with her stance as a royal – she’s modernising the institution, and doing things her own way. Plus, every new parent has a different experience, making it almost impossible to predict how Meghan might feel post-birth.
Medicspot GP Dr Farah Gilani says: “It cannot be denied that no matter how well she is coping with being a new mother, the pressures to face the world perfectly coiffed, hours after birth, can add both physical and mental stress to this time.”
New Mothers Are Physically And Mentally Exhausted…
Last year the Duchess of Cambridge was ready for her close-up just seven hours after giving birth (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Even though childbirth is different for everyone, there’s no denying it is extremely stressful – particularly as this is Meghan’s first time. Even if things go smoothly, it’s still an intense experience women need time to recover from.
“The immediate postpartum period can be a blur for new mothers,” says Gilani. “The physical and mental exhaustion from late pregnancy, labour and birth are setting in. Hormone levels are fluctuating and there are new wounds to heal from, be they from a natural delivery or caesarean section.”
It’s a strange time for new mothers – the elation of bringing your baby into the world has to contend with your own tiredness and physical pain. With your hormone levels being all over the shop, you’re likely to feel these emotional ups and downs even more acutely – which is why Meghan’s decision to not immediately face the world makes so much sense.
The First Few Hours Are Key…
The Prince and Princess of Wales after the birth of William in 1982 (PA)
As Meghan won’t need to immediately do her hair and make-up and go outside, she can focus so much more on her baby. This is good news, because at this time “mothers are adjusting to tending to the needs of a newborn baby,” Gilani says.
“The first hours are a crucial time for mum to bond with baby, and to establish feeding. Frequent, early skin-to-skin contact plays a key role in this. It has multiple benefits, not only helping with feeding but also calming both mum and baby and promoting maternal attachment. Interrupting or hurrying this along can cause problems later on.
“Even having visitors can interfere with this healing and bonding time,” adds Gilani, “and for the royals, the pressure to face the world so rapidly will no doubt make this busy time more difficult.”
As the royals enter a new, modern era, hopefully Meghan’s decision for privacy will set a precedent and allow women in the family to make their own decisions based on what’s best for them.