Friday, 24 March 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge on being a mum

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Best Beginnings event where she spoke about being a mum
(photo Kensington Palace Twitter)

Kate likes to talk about her children - there have been several engagements in recent times where we've heard snippets of life with George and Charlotte - but on an engagement in London this week, the focus was on the other part of the parent/ kid dynamic. In a speech at an event supporting better mental health care for parents, Kate talked about the experience of being a mum. And it wasn't all sunshine and smiles.

The Duchess of Cambridge was at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on March 23rd to launch a series of films on parental mental health. The films have been made by the charity, Best Beginnings, and as part of the Heads Together campaign it aims to get people talking about the mental health issues that can come with being a new parent, however many times you've done it before.  And that's where Kate got started - motherhood, she said, was a wonderful thing but it also brought its own stresses and strains.

The Duchess of Cambridge told her audience that ''nothing can really prepare you for the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother''.  The duchess, whose own children are now approaching four and two, went on to say that '' it is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love and worry, all mixed together'' and Kate added ''there is no rule book, no right or wrong - you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family. For many mothers, myself included, this can, at times lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.''

Kate's message was clear - being a mum is hard work and there's nothing wrong in asking for help. She underlined the point that around twenty per cent of women encounter some kind of emotional or mental health issue during pregnancy and in the year following that and getting help was important. Kate went on to say that ''if any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor. Getting help with our mental health is no different - our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.''

It's one of Kate's most personal speeches to date and all the better for it. Her words on how hard it can sometimes be to be a mum struck a chord with many and it was clear that this is an issue she feels really passionately about. The call for more conversations about mental health, a fundamental part of the Heads Together campaign, resonated more when placed within a lengthy speech about how everyone - even, as Kate admitted in her discourse, someone with more help than most at home - questions whether what they're doing is good enough.

The Duchess of Cambridge also had a chance to chat to some of the parents who had made the #OutoftheBlue films which focus on many different aspects of being a parent and the challenges that brings. She met mums who shared their experiences of difficulties they had encountered and how they had got the help they needed.

It was a positive day and one that showed Kate's commitment to Heads Together in a very clear and direct way. By opening up, the Duchess of Cambridge made her message stronger and turned this into an important speech in the Heads Together campaign and in her royal career overall.

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