Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Kate's Maternal Mental Health Roundtable

Saturday, November 4, 2017

By now you all know the pattern--Kate bunches her events. At the very least she schedules them in the same week, but more often than not, she does them back to back. So, after her Halloween tennis event, (even though nothing was on her public schedule for Wednesday, November 1st) we all were waiting to see where she would turn up. By mid-morning it was announced that the Princess hosted a roundtable on maternal mental health at Kensington Palace. 

Kensington Palace
I love to see Kate getting involved in charity work where she can really bring her own experience to the table. Tennis and children are an obvious fit, but maternal mental health is relevant to Kate, too. She launched Best Beginnings "Out of the Blue" series on maternal mental health earlier this year, and in her speech referenced some of her insecurities as a mom. What she didn't speak about, but what I believe to be the case, is that she herself suffered from some post-natal blues. 


Some of you may remember my post from 2014 titled Kate's Tough Five Months with George, where I hypothesized that the early days of motherhood were no doubt wonderful, but also a little rocky. 


Although women have extraordinary capacity for empathy, I think there is added value when you have shared a common experience. I hope Kate continues to focus on this sometimes overlooked issue.


The Duchess debuted a new label for her meeting, wearing Moschino. This is a cardigan with big bows down the front and bold black trim. It looks cozy and cute, and provides Kate with a little bump coverage. Just as it is styled online, I suspect Kate was wearing black trousers and cute flats or black heels. 

Moschino
It looks like Kate is wearing pearl earrings, but the picture is a little too blurry to make out. What is visible is Catherine Quinn at the end of the table enjoying a little cup of tea. I thought that was a cute moment to get in there. Everyone else is talking, but she is listening cup in hand. The lady has her priorities straight. 


This is a big win. It is a more casual version of her New York Tory Burch/JCrew ensemble, which we discussed last week (above). I posited that was her most successful styling of quasi-casual wear while pregnant, so I am very excited to see Kate follow that pattern for this event. Softer sweaters (structured or not) are really great for layering without adding too much bulk, so this was a great substitute for her favored blazers. Although we didn't get any full-length shots, I am sure she looked super chic and I hope she keeps it up!  

22 comments:

  1. Aw. That's a really unflattering picture of her getting out of a car. The other pictures from that engagement are really sweet. I think it's a bit unkind to continue to posit on anyone we don't know and their post natal health --much less to focus on one unflattering photo in a field of others that are not nearly as awful.
    Sorry to seem grumpy but the post referenced makes plenty of unsubstantiated wild guesses
    about her as well. I think she looked beautiful at the Tusk event after her son was born. Most of us don't look like that at our most shined up. This kind of silly speculation doesn't advance the topic of maternal mental health or care. Postpartum depression is not indicated by the time a woman has had time to cover her roots.
    Round tables with participants who are true experts; who provide care and promote good research are helpful so good on them for taking that small step.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I said this in the post referenced, but I will repeat quickly here for ease of conversation:
      First, I don't think that is an unflattering photo. I think she looks tired, but lovely.
      Second, the post doesn't make wild guesses. You may not have been following at the time, but there was a universal sense that Kate was off her game, and the royals themselves confirmed it was a tough few months. Certainly, I drew on these various observations together to make a claim, but I didn't draw the theory from thin air.
      Third, yes, many of us don't look that good at our most shined up, but a woman rarely considers that. It is really where does she compare in her head to what she is comfortable with. I think I did make that point in the post. We can think Kate looks perfect all day long--what matters is how does Kate view herself, and I think she didn't feel on her A game, which is hard when you are in the public eye.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jane,

      JMO, but I think your coverage is fair and various sources connected with KP said that Kate and Will were both struggling to adjust to being on George's schedule. The picture is one that I personally connected with-- I have to go somewhere but I'd really like to be soaking in a bathtub.

      S

      Delete
    3. In the Heads Together table discussion with her husband and brother-in-law, Kate talked about how overwhelming that change with new baby George was. That nothing really prepares you. Several of her speeches allude to that as well (the Out of the Blue speech comes to mind).
      I see what you’re saying GrtLakes, but Kate herself has admitted openly that those first few months were very trying. I don’t think it’s wrong to discuss it here. I feel her whole point is to open up and discuss these struggles.

      Delete
  2. Good post. I may be going out on a limb here but I think Kate's mental health may have been compromised during the first 6 month or so of George's life. And I think it's normal. Babies are a huge physical and mental demand and George appeared to be a bit of a grumpy baby. My first born was the same. She is devoting time to the cause of maternal mental health and it wouldn't hurt for Kate to be a bit more open about her own ups and downs IF she did struggle. We all have our struggles, no matter what our financial situation or social standing is and I think plenty of women can relate to feeling overwhelmed or depressed with motherhood at times or in general. What I like about this website is that Jane addresses possible issues diplomatically and doesn't simply drink the royal Kool Aid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a beautiful smile on her face at that meeting! Thankful to see her feeling better. As a mom of four who just suffered from mild morning sickness, I know it just hits you out of nowhere sometimes...so God bless her these past few weeks...I’m sure she’s had some moments where she was fighting hard! �� What a wonderful thing if all new mothers (and mothers who have had more than 1 already!) could have a mental health support network. I think especially for moms of more than one, the world expects you to bounce back more quickly, and the support is oftentimes less than with a first baby, yet the mental and emotional struggles are oftentimes worse. Glad she can now speak, with experience, of both! As for the fashion, tunic-style tops and tailored pants are just perfect. Now and immediately after baby!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry to comment again but I really disagree here.
    Re-adjusting to having public engagements after a new baby is not having a postpartum depression. And a postpartum depression is not a "compromise of your mental health." It is a very common condition that demands good research.
    Why do people feel totally comfortable making these kinds of comments about someone they do not know by stringing together anecdotes and calling it evidence? For example: How in the world can anyone speculate about what the Duchess of Cambridge felt at an engagement where she was engaged and correctly dressed in formal wear. And brightly smiling? Jane with all due respect you are making a projected guess about how she "felt" at the Tusk engagement because she actually looked to you like she had a child. This sounds more like your own projected thinking than hers.
    The Cambridges were hardly the kind of people to crow constantly about their "perfect" baby in public greeting situations- their goal was not to put up a perfect plastic front about having a baby who sleeps all night and does not cry, it was to make small talk. Any new parent can tell you crowing about a good baby is not good small talk.
    This does not mean that they did not have the usual adjustments all new parents make but honestly the palace has never commented on their early parenting anywhere.
    We have no idea really what their son was like. No idea really what their early experience was in total. We did not see their child in public much at all the first year therefore we had no idea then what he was like despite his parents making small talk on a public handshake lines. They were not heartfelt revelations.
    I think that being an advocate for good maternal/ early child care is not a small responsibility and the Duchess of Cambridge has spoken in her advocacy work about making adjustments as a new parents and meeting challenges in short exchanges and speeches. This is all we know about people we have never met in our lives. Not a goofy soap opera guess from our arm chairs because a child cries like many do on his first car seat ride after sleeping soundly through a massive photo call. We are probably not going to see her give a huge overly personal exposee of her years with with her children nor does she ever owe it to anyone.
    That isn't drinking the royal kool aid it's reality that we don't know these people.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I ever suggested that her readjustment was the postpartum. I said that her rocky readjustment suggested more might be going on. I stand by that.
      I often speculate on how the Duchess feels. I think I have a reasonable foundation to do so, but you are free to disagree. I would only note that your rebuttal is nothing more than speculation from a separate perspective.
      The Palace has not commented on their early parenting, but they (William and Kate) have.
      I won't comment on the goofy soap opera remark. :) I can only say that I write what I think and what interests me, I base what I write about on human nature and a decade of observing the Duchess of Cambridge, and you are free to take it or leave it.
      JCB

      Delete
    2. I assumed based on both William's and Kate's comments and some other observations that George was either a colicky baby, which is very very hard to deal with or an extremely fussy baby. Kate and William's first year of adjustment to me appeared to be along the lines of dealing with a baby that was not easy. I had 3 kids, one was super easy, one very very fussy, probably also
      colicky, and one in between. The difference in how difficult that first year was was huge between the three of them:):).

      Delete
    3. I agree that we do not know if Kate had postpartum or not. But, we do know that George was not an easy baby during the first six months, as spoken about by both Kate and William. Also, we know that W & K shunned a nanny and then finally got William's old nanny who could only stay for a few months as she was already retired. We also know that W & K stayed with the Middletons right after the birth for almost a month.

      I don't think the "shock" of being a first time mom after living a carefree and glamours life was necessarily postpartum for Kate. But, George was a fussy baby. No fault to the little guy, either.;)

      Delete
    4. GrtLks, It doesn't take a mental giant or a high social IQ to realize that George was a bit of a grumpy baby/toddler. One only needed to look at all his photos and the Cambridges appearances with him to see that. How do I know? Because I had one just like him and I recognize the expressions and mannerisms (Charlotte is not this way). I also know that is is very challenging to have a baby with this type of an infant temperament. They eventually grow out of it for the most part luckily and abdominal issues can also play a part. I could be completely wrong about George and so what? I am entitled to my opinion. As far as your comment about "not owing it to anyone to give a personal expose" well that's a very old school attitude that lacks sincerity. Leaders who are more forthcoming tend to be much more effective leaders and gain public respect more than those who only offer superficial tidbits about themselves.Diana was a good example of this. Although we don't know these people we are still entitled to give our impressions or opinions about them. They are public figures supported by public funds and last I checked I live in a democracy where I can state my opinions right or wrong. I don't think Kate is too worried about my assessment. She's a great mother and represents England wonderfully.

      Delete
  5. I hope you are right Jane that Kate is wearing black trousers but all I can picture are the usual black jeggings! Hope we get full-length shots when she does wear actual trousers in the future. I think it would be a great look for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me both Lizzie. For some reason--maybe lack of interest in style, maybe lack of money--I doubt that Kate was wearing smart black trousers; I expect that she wore the usual leggings/jeggings.

      Still, I DID like the sweater/jacket very much and it would've looked fantastic with a pair of lined, black wool pants.

      JC

      Delete
    2. I'm betting (knowing our duchesses fondness for recycling) that she had on the same black maternity pants she wore in New York. This sweater is brilliant and very Chanel-like which, for me, is a great big win! I will imagine (since we can't see them) she had on classic black flats, a la Chanel quilted ballerinas, and that if she had been out and about she would have carried my dream purse, a Chanel iconic black quilted handbag. A girl can dream.

      Delete
  6. Sensitive and insightful post Jane, thank you. I happen to agree with your insights regarding Kate - and Will - during their first months of parenthood. Even if I didn't it would remain evident that you are sensitive, insightful, and sharing your opinion with respect. Love this blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This totally makes me think of the Swedish princesses. Very similar to the style we often see them wear.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Interesting post, Jane. After all most women don't escape pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year completely unscathed. For me, it was the first six months, postpartum. The realization that I was responsible for this new being hit me like a ton of bricks; I went into a state of shock--the only way I can describe it, because I didn't feel depressed, just terrified. I remember telling my step-mum a few years later, that I really couldn't remember much about it, just snippets. Happily, she was a very good baby, and slept well--I do recall that--and probably because she did, I got enough sleep to regain myself.

    So yes, based on the law of averages, and Kate's body language at the Tusk event, you may be quite right, Jane, re Kate's postpartum blues. What nailed the possibility down, however, was this interest in maternal mental health. After all, isn't this what many of us do? support a charity because it has meaning to us? maybe breast cancer because someone dear to us died of it? Etc.

    JC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you JC as I was also scared to death. My mom stayed with us for a week and when she left I felt a little panicked because now I had to do this on my own - which is really not my personality! I've often thought that having a child and feeling the responsibility for parenting them into decent human beings is daunting enough. I can't even imagine compounding that with raising a future King of England under the scrutiny of the public eye. If I were Kate I would have wanted lock myself in while figuring out how to bear this huge weight of responsibility.

      Delete
  9. The gold glittering evening gown she wore to the Tusk event was absolutely stunning. Only a handful of her evening dresses look that amazing and it was a winner. If she didn’t realize it then, I hope when she sees it again with fresh eyes, she appreciates what a “wow” dress that was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it a "wow" dress too. She looked fabulous in it and I thought it really showed off her figure- so enviable that soon after a baby! A real princess moment for me!

      Delete
    2. Count me on on that too! One of my favorite Kate gowns. I thought she was dazzling that evening.

      Delete
  10. If releasing a picture of the behind the scenes work that Duchess does help dispel the "she doesn't work enough" dialog, then I applaud the KP office for it. For every public engagement and tour, there are plenty of briefings and meetings that go into it to make them a success. If this is the work of the Duchess's new secretary, Ms. Quinn, then she'll be a great asset to her. I think her breadth of experience will do wonders for Kate as she steps up her public presence in the coming years.

    ReplyDelete

The rules for commenting are simple: be polite. Please be respectful of the BRF/Middletons, even in criticism; please be respectful of your fellow readers, even in disagreement. Vulgarity will disqualify a comment.

Debate is welcome, direct and personal insults are not. Topics we tend to avoid here: "does Kate work enough?" and "Is Kate too skinny?" Everything is subject to approval.

I (Jane Barr) moderate all comments. If a comment is live, I approved it. If you find something offensive, or think my approval was an error, please email me at princesskateblog(at)gmail.com.

At times, an acceptable comment just goes missing. If you felt your comment should have been approved, but did not show up within five hours, again, pop an email to the above address.

Happy chatting!