‘Look beautiful, look stylish. Don’t show your battleground, Kate’
Kate Middleton is one of the most talked about women in the world, making heading news in April when she gave birth to Prince Louis - now fifth in line to the throne - leaving the hospital just hours later in heels with perfect hair and make up, smiling for photographs.
While many praised Kate for her composure, some argued that it did women a disservice, spreading misconceptions of what childbirth is really like.
A-list actress Keira Knightley recently wrote an open letter to her daughter, Edie, who was born just one day before Princess Charlotte, comparing the two experiences in an essay that she entitled, 'The Weaker Sex’.
‘We stand and watch the TV screen,’ Keira wrote in her essay that she addressed, 'To My Girl’.
‘She [Kate] was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see. Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don’t show your battleground, Kate. Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don’t show. Don’t tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers.’
Going on to recall her birthing experience, Keira continued: ‘My vagina split. You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming. You latched on to my breast immediately, hungrily, I remember the pain. The mouth clenched tight around my nipple, light sucking on and sucking out. I remember the shit, the vomit, the blood, the stitches. I remember my battleground. Your battleground and life pulsating. Surviving.’
Concluding her letter on a strong point, Keira posed the question to her daughter, ‘ And I am the weaker sex? You are?’
Kensington Palace has yet to respond.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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