While most of the world was thrilled to get a glimpse the new royal baby, I was getting teary-eyed about something else — Kate Middleton’s postpartum bump.
Among the many luxuries afforded to the Duchess of Cambridge for her debut as a mother was a hair and make-up team to assure that her tresses were shiny and smooth and her complexion dewy. These magicians, whoever they are, did a marvelous job of erasing any signs of fatigue and physical stress that pregnancy and labor, no matter who you and your vagina married, brings on. Well, everything except the bump.
The fact that you still look quite pregnant for a couples of weeks after you give birth is something I failed to understand before I had a baby. Shortly before my due date I sent my sister links for non-maternity dresses I could wear to the bris, wondering if I should get a small or medium. If I could time-travel my way back to that Gchat, I would write rows and rows of “hahaha’s” just so we got the point. (I wrote more about the perils of dressing during and after pregnancy here.)
Many news organizations, who will never let Kate do something as prosaic as blowing her nose without comparing her to Diana, have pointed out that both ladies donned polka dot dresses when leaving the hospital. Though what they are failing to notice is that Diana’s dress was more of a mumu, thereby tenting her midsection, whereas Kate’s is a form-fitting and actually emphasizing the fact that only days ago a whole human baby was living in her uterus.
Kate is known for her classy, even meticulous, sense of style. There are never mistakes or accidents in her clothing choices. Ever. This is to say that if she had wanted to minimize the bump with an empire waist, some careful ruching and Jessica Alba’s corset, she could have and we would have all marveled at how amazing she looked. Instead, she decided that, when it came to her postpartum body, she had nothing to hide. Thanks Kate!
Follow Elissa Strauss on Twitter at @elissaavery.
Elissa Strauss has written for the Forward over a number of years. She is a regular contributor to CNN, whose work has been published in a number of publications including The New York Times, Glamour, ELLE, and Longreads.
In Praise of Kate's Postpartum Bump