Parenthood can be messy, stressful, and downright frazzling at times—and, as it turns out, even royals aren't immune to the pressures of raising little ones.
Kate Middleton—mother to the adorable Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, 1—spoke candidly about the "overwhelming experience" of motherhood at a recent mental health advocacy event. In her refreshingly honest speech, Middleton admitted that while being a parent is "rewarding and wonderful," it does have its challenging moments—even when you have the royal support system that she does. "Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience," Middleton said in her speech. "However, at times it has also been a huge challenge. Even for me, who has support at home that most mothers do not."
"Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother," she continued. "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 the fact that "there is no rule book" can only add to the stresses of being a new parent. "You just have to make it up and do the very best you can for your family," she said. "For many mothers, myself included, this can at times lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance."
Middleton went on to highlight how this experience can be even more difficult for the two in 10 women who struggle with mental health conditions—either during pregnancy or in the first year following giving birth. She emphasized how important it is to remove the stigma from these issues and to encourage people to seek the help they feel they need. "It is right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains," she said. "It's OK not to find it easy, and asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.... Our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need."
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This is not the first time Middleton has spoken out about mental health issues. In January, she encouraged those who are suffering to seek out help—without shame or stigma. "Fear or reticence—or a sense of not wanting to burden another—means that people suffer in silence, allowing the problem to grow larger and larger unchecked," she said.