Many aspects of her royal life may be a world away from ours but, as a parent, the Duchess of Cambridge has revealed she too finds motherhood to be a “huge challenge”.
Speaking at the launch of the Best Beginnings ‘Out of the Blue’ film series this week to raise awareness of maternal mental health challenges, the mother-of-two gave a rare insight into her feelings as a parent.
Motherhood: “Joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together”
Together with her husband, Prince William, and brother-in-law, Prince Harry, Kate founded the campaign, Heads Together, to raise awareness and tackle stigma around mental health. She used her speech on Thursday to encourage women to treat their mental health during pregnancy and parenting in the same way they would their physical health.
“This collection of films highlights how vital it is to be open about our mental health, especially in the early years of parenthood,” she says. “Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. 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.”
Her full speech was shared by Kensington Palace on Twitter.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 23, 2017
There’s no royal parenting rule book either
Despite the home help Kate has, her royal privileges don’t extend to having a manual for raising a prince and princess. And the mum to three-year-old Prince George and almost two-year-old Princess Charlotte, admits nothing can fully prepare you for how life changing becoming a parent can be.
“Your fundamental identity changes overnight, you go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual to suddenly being a mother first and foremost,” Kate says. “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.”
Mental health support in Australia
If you are pregnant or feeling overwhelmed by parenthood, BeyondBlue has a range of information available that covers everything from bonding with your new baby to identifying signs you might need help with anxiety or depression.
You can even call them 24 hours a day, seven day a week, on 1300 22 4636 to access the support you need.