Royal watchers are delighted by the news that Kate’s pregnancy has progressed to the obvious bump stage, but others are much more keen to focus her recent excellent work on mental health awareness and support.
Today The Duchess of Cambridge visited King’s College London and The Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital to find out more about the challenges and issues surrounding maternal mental health. The Duchess received a briefing on work being done in perinatal research, spoke to professionals about how they support new mothers, and spent time with patients undergoing treatment. 📸PA
Spotlight on mums and mental health
It’s a huge year for the royal family, with Kate and William’s baby due in April, Harry and Meghan marrying in May and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank set to marry in October.
Amidst all the excitement, it’s business as usual for our second favourite royal mum (after The Queen, of course!). Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, just visited a Mother and Baby Unit at London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital, taking time to chat to the mums being treated there – and highlight the challenges of post natal depression.
Pregnant Kate is now back at work in full force after an early battle with a severe morning sickness-like illness called hyperemesis gravidarum.
We’re glad she’s feeling so much better, and heartened by her push to highlight mental health issues – and her particular focus on mums, children and babies.
“Today The Duchess of Cambridge visited King’s College London and The Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital to find out more about the challenges and issues surrounding maternal mental health,” Kensington Palace reported on Instagram. “The Duchess received a briefing on work being done in perinatal research, spoke to professionals about how they support new mothers, and spent time with patients undergoing treatment.”
The Duchess of Cambridge today launched 'Mentally Healthy Schools', a @heads_together initiative to equip teachers with the right resources to support children's mental health at school. In her speech at Roe Green Junior School, Her Royal Highness discussed the vital role that teachers play in tackling children's mental health issues, and how the new @heads_together online resource can transform schools’ access to high-quality information.
“A huge challenge”
Mother and baby units are designed to support the physical and mental health of women and babies, mostly to treat women with baby-related depression and anxiety.
This delightful royal has been as candid as she can about her own experience of motherhood, proving that challenges around pregnancy, childbirth and parenting do not discriminate.
“Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” Kate said in a March 2017 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 the sheer, overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It’s full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together.”
Kate also voiced her concern for women who were unsupported or struggling, and noted she too felt out of her depth, a lot of the time as a mum.
“Your fundamental identity changes overnight, you go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual to suddenly being a mother first and foremost,” Kate said. “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 a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance. Sadly, for some mothers, this experience can be made so much harder due to challenges with our mental health.”
The Duchess was also refreshingly informal in a speech to launch Mentally Healthy Schools this week. She didn’t stand on ceremony or adhere to protocol, instead chummily saying that “William, Harry and I” are pleased to be involved in a campaign to connect teachers to much-needed resources that support student mental health.
Despite some rude types dubbing the Duchess “Waity Katie” and implying she spent much of her time polishing tiaras and taking cucumber sandwiches with the Queen, Kate’s actually working very hard with royal initiative Heads Together on issues that truly matter. De-stigmatising mental health conditions, and creating resources to support kids and adults in crisis are near the tip-top of her priority list.
“At Roe Green Junior School, Her Royal Highness discussed the vital role that teachers play in tackling children’s mental health issues,” a palace rep explained of the Mentally Healthy Schools program, “and how the new Heads Together online resource can transform schools’ access to high-quality information.”
Excellent work, Kate! (Oh, and her bump has popped out! So there’s that!)