As Kate Middleton stood proudly on the steps of the Lindo Wing yesterday with her new baby, she chose to wear a cornflower blue polka-dot dress—remarkably similar to the one William’s mother, Diana, had worn when she appeared from the same hospital carrying her first son.
But whereas Diana had stepped out of the hospital in a dress that would have been more use on a camping trip than at a cocktail party—a huge, figure-shrouding gown that hid her post-pregnancy body—Kate, as we should have expected, had other ideas.
Kate emerged in a light Jenny Packham dress in silk crepe de chine, with a gathered empire waist that actually belted above her tummy, making no effort to hide her changed body shape.
Given the microscopic level of scrutiny of this young woman’s body over the past nine months, one could hardly have blamed her if she had held the baby protectively in front of her to shield her body from the cameras, but no. This thoroughly modern royal was apparently determined to lend a helping hand to women everywhere who have just given birth, and shatter one of the last taboos of pregnancy: the post-baby belly.
It was all the more brave of her as Kate has not been seen in public for six weeks, meaning that there are actually no pictures of Kate looking full term. She had just given birth, but, ironically, this was the most “pregnant” we had seen Kate looking.
It takes at least two to three weeks for the uterus of a woman who has just given birth to return to anything like its pre-pregnancy shape, and the effect on the outside of the body is obvious. But this fact is little acknowledged in modern Western society. Instead, many women, just like Diana did, still hide the fact that their tummies still stick out—and strive to get back to “normal” as soon as possible.
British motherhood guru, Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard, told the Royalist: “In a couple of minutes on the steps of the Lindo Wing, Kate has done more for new mums’ self-esteem than any other role model. Sadly too many celebrities often have ultra fast tummy tucks or strap themselves down to emerge in tiny size 6 jeans, leaving everyone else feeling inadequate. Kate shows what a real mum looks like—and natural is beautiful. Undoubtedly over the coming weeks the Duchess will work hard to regain her figure, but on her first appearance as a new mum she’s proved herself a healthy role model for real mums around the world.”
Jade Beall, a photographer and mother who “celebrates the stories and the unphotoshopped bodies of women especially the bodies of mothers,” says: “This is a historic moment for women around the world. Kate has chosen to confidently show what our bodies can look like after undergoing one of the most life-changing feats a human can experience.”
However, Justine Roberts of the British parenting website Mumsnet, disagreed with that view, telling The Daily Beast: “Was it a brave decision? Where the heck do you hide it anyway—under a bush? It‘s completely natural to have a baby belly the day after giving birth and it’s a great shame that the world is so obsessed with women’s body shape that Kate’s belly is deemed worth commenting on.”