The public rarely gets to hear the voice of the Duchess of Cambridge, so when she recently gave a speech at the at the launch of the Out of the Blue film series with Best Beginnings, a U.K.-based charity that helps parents “give children the best start in life,” everyone listened. Duchess Kate literally let her voice be heard at the Royal College of Obstetricians and
Her entire speech perfectly captures everything every mother wants to say, from gushing about motherhood being a rewarding and wonderful experience to admitting that it too is a challenging ordeal, even for women like her who find support at home. “Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together. Your fundamental identity changes overnight,” she says. “And yet 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
“Two in 10 women will suffer mental health issues that can occur during pregnancy and in the year after birth, often clouding their moments of joy with a real sense of darkness and isolation.”
She explains further that these challenges are made even more difficult when a mother has to deal with her own mental health issues, stating that “two in 10 women will suffer mental health issues that can occur during pregnancy and in the year after birth, often clouding their moments of joy with a real sense of darkness and isolation.”
While postpartum depression and other mental health issues related to pregnancy and motherhood are common, many women still opt to stay silent about these issues due to fear or shame or the judgment that they can’t cope, she adds. “[Part] of this fear is about the pressure to be a perfect parent; [we are] pretending we're all coping perfectly and loving every minute of it,” she says. “It's right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains. It’s okay not to find it easy. Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.”
“It's right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains. It’s okay not to find it easy."
She encourages women to speak up and have the strength to seek support and advice about their mental health, as they would seek the help of a doctor when they get a fever during pregnancy, for instance. “Conversations are crucial for mental wellbeing and they should be part of everyday family life. Talking about a problem with a friend or another trusted person can be the beginning of getting better,” she says.
We may not hear her talk that often, but this speech proves that when the Duchess of Cambridge speaks, her words are wise.