Obviously, no one is perfect when it comes to motherhood. No one has everything figured out. No one is a walking Instagram feed of perfection and poise. No one is immune to the messy realities of childbirth. We know this. We know this in our brains. And yet...if there is one human who can sometimes make us doubt that knowledge and make giving birth and all the motherhood milestones that come after it look easy, that person is Kate Middleton.
She is, after all, the woman who emerged just hours after labor looking like this:
And, most recently, this:
The actress, who gave birth to her own daughter a day after Kate welcomed Princess Charlotte in 2015, wrote about her issues with the image of childbirth put forth by the royal in a new feminist essay collection Feminists Don't Wear Pink (And Other Lies). Keira's piece, "The Weaker Sex," attacks the issue head-on, holding nothing back.
Here are two of the most relevant passages from the essay. First, the one that takes aim at Kate:
We stand and watch the TV screen. She was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see. Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful, look stylish, don't show your battleground, Kate. Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don't show. Don't tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers.
And second, the one in which Keira shares the bloody details of her own experience with childbirth:
My vagina split. You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming. You latched on to my breast immediately, hungrily, I remember the pain. The mouth clenched tight around my nipple, light sucking on and sucking out. I remember the s—, the vomit, the blood, the stitches. I remember my battleground. Your battleground and life pulsating. Surviving. And I am the weaker sex?