A Right Royal Fuss

Well, hasn’t Meghan Markle caused a kerfuffle?!

Apparently, the Duchess of Sussex (to give her her proper title) has decided against giving birth in the same London hospital where her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, delivered her three children.

Instead, it’s been claimed that she wants a home birth, using water, and she has appointed a female obstetrician to lead the team looking after her.

“Meghan Markle ‘snubs the Queen’s doctors for her birth because she doesn’t want “men in suits” delivering her baby’,” screamed one particularly horrified headline in the Daily Mail.

I know, incredible, isn’t it? Imagine a woman in this day and age having her own opinion and doing just as she pleases.

I understand that, being Prince Harry’s wife, she will be in the spotlight and there will always be a fascination about what she does, what she wears, what she says.

But criticising her for making her own choices about what happens to her body at one of the most profoundly personal moments a woman will ever experience?

Catch yourself on!

If Meghan wants to give birth in a Prada ballgown with her midwife dressed as Mr Tumble and Tibetan monks chanting in the background, then that’s up to her.

The fact is, nothing will be left to chance when it comes to Meghan giving birth, so over and above it being none of our business how she plans to handle this deeply private event, you can be absolutely certain that neither she nor baby will be put at risk.

I have to say, however, I wish I had been given as much say over the arrival of my two babies as the Duchess of Sussex will have over the birth of her first child.

I’m sure like most people reading this, my experience was a little more budget airline than flying first class.

So, with D-Day fast approaching how else will Meghan’s journey through motherhood differ from the rest of us mere mortal mummies?

As a self-employed freelance journalist, I didn’t really have the luxury of proper maternity leave.

I was actually writing emails on my phone while in the delivery suite during the birth of my second child.

Does the editor of a daily newspaper care that you’re in the middle of a contraction when he has pages to fill?

It turns out the answer is a resounding ‘no’.

And taking months off work to build a bond with my son, recover from the labour and ease my way through the sleepless nights was also something I simply couldn’t afford to do – it was more snatching half an hour between feeds to do a telephone interview than leisurely afternoons sipping tea in a coffee shop.

Of course, those mummies who are employed will be paid while on maternity leave, but even that can come to an end a lot sooner than they would like.

I have one friend who was forced to go back to work when her child was a few months old or she would have missed out on a fantastic promotion.

Sure as day follows night, Meghan will be criticised for whatever length of maternity leave she takes, but at least when she does return to royal engagements it will be to fulfil her role as Prince Harry’s wife rather than a painful necessity just to be able to pay the mortgage.

Staying up all day cleaning the house, pushing an errant trolley around Tesco, washing sick-covered clothes, making dinner and doing the school run, then staying up all night tending to your baby who spends all day sleeping.

Oh yes, it’s a glamorous life being a mummy.

I’m not saying that Meghan doesn’t plan to be a hands-on mum, but I’m certain she won’t be scrubbing the toilet in between feeds.

And when she needs half an hour to get her head down, I’m sure there will be no shortage of offers to keep an eye on baby.

Getting back to the birth – how many of us have been given a choice of where we want to deliver our baby, let alone who will be there at the time?

When it comes to welcoming her little darling into the world, I’m sure Meghan will have vetted and approved everyone who is involved.

When I think about the birth of my children, I couldn’t tell you who was there, let alone all about their qualifications and experience.

The first time I met my midwife was when she was getting ready to do a very intimate examination and I definitely didn’t have the best obstetricians in the world lining up to look after me.

Selecting a nursery and school for your little one is absolutely an anxious time for parents.

As far as I’m concerned, getting your child into the right school, is so, so important.

Not only is it important for their education but it’s the place where they will (hopefully) make life-long friends – I know I did anyway.

Locality to the school, where the first letter of your surname appears in the alphabet, whether there is an older sibling already there, they can all have a bearing on whether your application is a success.

One principal even told me he didn’t care if my daughter came to his very oversubscribed school (needless to say the feeling was mutual after our meeting).

I’m sure Meghan and Harry won’t sweat like the rest of us when it comes to getting their child into school.

And now for how things will be exactly the same…

So, Meghan has apparently chosen a crack commando team of professionals who will guide her through the birth.

It’s been claimed she wants a water birth, at home, and minimal pain relief.

And while I’m all for that, there’s one very important person who might not be in on the plan.

Short of a caesarean section, the only person who can decide when and how they come into the world is the baby themselves and even being a member of the Royal Family can’t override that.

We’ve all been there – the glances from the mother-in-law, the well-meaning advice from the stranger in the supermarket.

When it comes to raising your child, it can sometimes feel like everyone has an opinion.

And the Duchess of Sussex will not be immune from unsolicited advice as she raises her family.

Meghan has already had a taste of what’s to come, with people she’s never met voicing their concern that it might be dangerous for her to give birth at home.

In fact, as a member of the Royal Family she is likely to face more scrutiny over her parenting choices than the rest of us can ever imagine.

The aftermath of pregnancy isn’t exactly pretty – the raging hormones, heavy bleeding, saggy tummy muscles and leaking nipples are not exactly pleasant.

We all have to deal with them and Meghan is no exception.

While she might get help to fix her mummy tummy, there’s no magic cure for the likes of baby blues, so Meghan will have to ride them out just like the rest of us.

There’s no love like the love you feel for your children – sometimes I look at mine and feel like my heart might burst.

And once her baby arrives, all the things Meghan believed were important will suddenly fade in comparison to the love she has for her child.

Her priorities will change, she will beam with pride when they take their first step, she will hurt when they hurt, she will be wracked with guilt when she leaves them for work, and she will question whether she up to the job.

By marrying Prince Harry, Meghan is undoubtedly leading a life of privilege and luxury, but none of that will ever come close to the riches she will enjoy as a mum.

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