Remember when Prince George was first introduced to the world? The Duchess of Cambridge looked like she was leaving a garden party, not the birth suite. Dressed in a beautiful blue gown, she was a literal picture of radiant perfection and I remember thinking, “HOW DID SHE JUST GIVE BIRTH??”
There were no bags under her eyes, no giant maternity pad sticking out of her gown, no leaky milk spots on her dress.
But behind her freshly blow-dried hair and confident smile was a whole set of new mum jitters. Turns out, like every other new parent on the planet, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had NO idea what they were doing.
Duchess of Cambridge podcast for #AlltheMums
She admits that walking out of the hospital to present her baby to the world was “slightly terrifying”. She even shares that the couple practiced swaddling with a baby doll in the lead-up to the real deal.
Don’t even get her started on what looked like the effortless attempt to put a swaddled George into the car seat for the first time (with the world all watching, of course).
In her own words, the Duchess admits,
We were like ‘What do we do?… in a swaddle?’ ‘How’s this supposed to work?’ We’d even tried to practice with a little baby, like a little doll, at home. But you know it just never works out the way you planned it…”
Kate Middleton opens up
These are only some of the many completely relatable gems that the Duchess shares in her first-ever podcast.
During the 30-minute interview with Giovanna Fletcher, Kate chats eloquently and casually about her childhood, her passion for the early years, her own children and her newly launched UK-wide survey, ‘5 Big Questions on the Under Fives’.
The Duchess of Cambridge podcast has been celebrated for its honesty and has been described as “some of the most open and candid words we’ve heard from the Duchess of Cambridge”.
What were some of the other stories she shared? We’ve transcribed some of the Duchess of Cambridge podcast below, but we highly recommend listening to the whole thing. Kate shares heaps of private moments and inspiring words in a way that is refreshingly honest and open.
Utterly rotten pregnancies
It’s no secret that the Duchess struggled with hyperemesis gravidarum during her pregnancies and she freely admits, “I’m not the happiest of pregnant people.”
I was really sick. I wasn’t eating the things I should be eating. But yet the body was still able to take all the goodness from my body and to grow new life, which I think was fascinating.
It was definitely a challenge, not just for me but also for your loved ones. William didn’t feel he could do much to help. It’s hard for everyone to see you suffering without actually being able to do anything about it.”
The royal births
Labour was a lot easier on the Duchess, who admits that ending the pregnancy journey was a HUGE relief.
Because it had been so bad during pregnancy, I actually really liked labour, because it was an event that I actually knew there was going to be an ending to.
I really realised the power of the mind over the body, because I really had to try everything and anything to help me through it.”
She used techniques of hypnobirthing, including meditation and mindfulness, to overcome her symptoms during pregnancy and throughout labour too.
I saw the power of it, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that, that they teach you in hypnobirthing. I realised that this was something I could take control of during labour. It was hugely powerful.”
Was William on board during the hypnobirthing experience?
I’m not going to say that William was standing there, sort of, chanting sweet nothings at me. He definitely wasn’t. I didn’t even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself.”
One of the things the Duchess is most honest about is how hands-on of a mum she tries to be. While she wants to be there for her kids, she is also very committed to her work, and, thus, mum guilt often seeps through.
I totally underestimated the impact and the change [having a baby] had on our lives. [It’s a] constant challenge, there’s always something, [you’re] always questioning your own decisions and own judgements.”
She admits that realising that “it’s not totally my responsibility to do everything” has actually helped her let go of some of that guilt.
The simple life
For Kate, the good life is a simple one and we love this about her. It’s such a contrast from the royal princess we see in the media.
The things that really resonate with me most are the simple things. Life now is so busy, so distracting, like watching a fire on a really rainy day, I find such enjoyment.
I actually remember that from my childhood, doing the simple things. That’s really what I try to do with my children as well because it totally strips away all the complications, all the pressures.”
On being a mum
As a mother of three, Kate knows how chaotic things can get. Even physically getting all three kids out of the car at the same time is a massive feat, she tells Giovanna.
She also admits that being a mum means “compromise” but since having her kids, she’s “found a new enjoyment out of life.”
Kate ends the podcast by explaining when she’s the happiest.
I’m happy when I’m with my family, outside in the countryside, and we’re all filthy dirty.”
What a lovely notion to end on. We highly recommend having a listen to the full Duchess of Cambridge podcast and make sure you also check out her survey at www.5bigquestions.org.uk.