If you don't bounce back like Princess Kate

The fact that Princess Kate made an appearance a mere seven hours after giving birth looking fabulous and WEARING HEELS has harried mamas chattering today.  

"I can never get over how she manages to get up and get in heels hours after birth!" one friend texted me. "And she doesn't waddle. I had the worst time walking afterwards." 

"I know!" I texted back. "I was examining her skinny little ankles." 

The duchess gives new meaning to the insidious phrase "bouncing back." 

I recently read an Instagram post by a mom of four who challenged this notion with a lovely-and-real (a.k.a. no high heels) picture. She shared this quote from an article someone had DMed her: 

"We're not meant to 'bounce back' after babies. ...We're meant to step forward into more awakened, more attuned and more powerful versions of ourselves." 

The quote, she added, is one "that I remind myself of daily and because it’s so uplifting and true and encouraging and all moms need to hear it and know it. Stepping forward aka stop dwelling on who you were before kids because being a mom is really beautiful and really soft and probably the most important job ever. #ownityaknow

So today, as we make our predictions on the royal baby's name (I'm going with Henry!) and marvel over Charlotte's waves to the crowd (#hairgoals), let's remind each other that if we don't bounce back like Princess Kate, it's OK. It means we're normal. 

People's account of Kate's super-human hospital appearance isn't encouraging to the rest of us moms: 

Just seven hours after giving birth to her third childKate Middleton appeared (in heels!) on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital on Monday evening with Prince William by her side to introduce their new baby boy to the world.

 Kate looked stunning in a red dress with a white collar by Jenny Packham...She paired the look with nude suede heels.

I prefer to imagine a more realistic scenario:

Seventy two hours after giving birth to her third child, Kate Middleton was spotted behind the McDonalds on Shaftesbury Avenue with no one by her side.

 Kate looked exhausted in an oversized hoodie and yoga pants. She paired the look with tattered Uggs. 

With each baby I have been blessed with, I have grown more sensitive to all that the protracted, multi-faceted postpartum stage involves. It is not meant to be raced through. It should not and cannot be rushed.

For me, being postpartum -- feeling that I'm in that stage, giving myself permission to be off and tired and more taxed than usual -- lasts at least as long as a pregnancy. It may extend as long as you're breastfeeding. Or as long as you're wearing larger clothes. Or as long as you're not sleeping through the night. Or as long as you feel necessary. 

Take your time. Let yourself be postpartum, with all the permission slips it entails.  

 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at christina@mnparent.com.



Photo credit: People magazine and E! News.