The XX Factor

Dear Kate: What to Expect After You Get That Royal Baby Out

Despite this, it will still hurt to pee, Kate.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Dear Kate,

Congratulations on your imminent royal spawn! As he or she makes their gilded way down your no-doubt red carpeted birth canal, I would like to give you some unsolicited advice on what to expect in your postpartum days. In some ways, your delivery will be unique—how many regular ladies share not one but two gynecologists with their grandmother-in-law?—but in other ways, your after-labor experience will be as hormonal and fluid-filled as the rest of ours.  

There were a bunch of things no one told me, a first-time mom, would happen right after I gave birth. One was the night sweats. Lo, the night sweats. Your body has to get rid of all the extra (bejeweled) fluid you retained while incubating the future king or queen. I imagine your sweat smells like wisteria, or possibly, marmalade, but just be prepared to wake up completely drenched for several weeks after you pop. (Since you probably have at least four ladies-in-waiting to change your sheets, this will be only a minor problem.)

In addition to a few extra 2,000-thread-count sheets, another thing you might want to keep handy is milk of magnesia. If you had an epidural—and Christ, hon, I hope you had an epidural, as I imagine a scepter is hard to eject—going to the bathroom will be … an experience immediately after you give birth. I won’t give you the real talk on the squeeze bottle filled with water you might need in lieu of toilet paper for the first week or so, but you can read about that here.

I bet everyone is going to be all up in your face about breast-feeding. Since you have the milk of a commoner, it might not matter as much whether you’re giving the wee royal nourishment from your nonaristocratic bosom. But I recommend you find an explanation for whatever you decide to do and stick to it, because somehow it’s become appropriate for strangers to ask every new mom how she is feeding her infant. If you don’t actually get this question, that means everyone’s talking about your lactation decisions behind your back (which, by the way, is probably the only part of you that doesn’t look weird right now).  

What else? Well I’d make Wills change those brocade diapers from day one, because if you don’t make him a full partner in child-rearing you’re going to be stuck resentfully lugging the royal Gucci diaper bag across the moors near Balmoral Castle. Don’t silently curse Will as you watch him ride away on one of those damn fox chases—make sure he’s cutting the royal baby’s fingernails, too.

But most of all I hope you can enjoy your child in relative peace and privacy, at least for the first couple of months. Those early days of parenthood are full of the widest range of deeply felt emotions that I had ever encountered. Completely blissed-out joy one minute, exhausted, full-body fear the next. You should be able to experience these, and any other feelings about your babe, without ninnies like me knocking at your door, telling you about boob sweat.

Happy Birthing!