The Duchess of Cambridge spoke yesterday at the Royal College for Obstetricians about the joys and challenges of motherhood.
Kate Middleton,mother to 20-month-old Charlotte, and three-year-old George, spoke at the institution as ambassador for the Heads Together charity she supports alongside her husband, Prince William, and brother-in-law, Prince Harry.
She was there to help launch a series of films which promote mental health in parents and children.
The Duchess began by explaining how despite having a large support system at home, she has still struggled at times with the challenges of motherhood:
“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.
You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.
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 lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.”
She continued by addressing the two in ten women who go through mental-health issues before and after their child is born.
“Many of these women also suffer in silence, overwhelmed by negative feelings, but also afraid to admit to the struggles they are facing due to the fear or shame of what others might think if they aren’t coping,” she said, reports The Telegraph.
“Some of this fear is about the pressure to be a perfect parent; pretending we’re all coping perfectly and loving every minute of it.
It’s right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains.”
The Duchess concluded her speech by reiterating the importance of asking for help, and not seeing that as a sign of weakness:
“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. Conversations are crucial for mental well-being 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.”