The Duchess of Cambridge’s Speech on Motherhood
The Duchess of Cambridge gave an impassioned speech about the difficulties faced by mothers to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues. In her role as Patron of multiple charities aimed to normalize and strengthen mental healthcare, Catherine spoke movingly about the need to support parents. As mother of the heir to the throne of England as well as a royal princess, the former Kate Middleton admittedly has more help at home than most, and yet chose to reveal intimate details of her own struggle with the role.
Even a Princess Struggles with Motherhood
The Duchess spoke about how being a mother brings many joys, but also many stresses. She spoke how she herself struggled with a lack of confidence, anxiety, feelings of ignorance, and exhaustion – a humanizing speech that almost all new mothers can relate too. Most new moms aren’t married to a Prince and future King of England with a staff and loyal family to help.
Kate openly caveats her experience with the fact that she has substantial help at home that most don’t, and struggled with these challenges in spite of help. The aim is to show every mother that it is normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless, lost, or sad, and it is equally normal to seek help and speak about your problems. Even a princess isn’t perfect, and even a duchess struggles with the emotions, exhaustion, and demands of being a mom.
Best Beginnings & Heads Together Educate About Mental Health
The emotional speech, delivered just ahead of Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom, was to launch a series of educational films created by Best Beginnings. Heads Together, a charity that the Duchess has long supported, is a partner of Best Beginnings which raises awareness of maternal mental health challenges. You can watch the full video below, just click the play button.
The Full Transcript of Catherine’s Speech
The Duchess of Cambridge stands at a podium at the launch of the ‘Out of the Blue’ film series with mental health advocates Best Beginnings and Heads Together, at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Before I begin, I know you would all want to join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to all those sadly affected by yesterday’s terrible attack in Westminster. We will be thinking of all the families, as we discuss the important issues we’re here to talk about.
I would like to thank Best Beginnings for inviting me here to introduce the ‘Out of The Blue’ series. This collection of films highlights how vital it is to be open about our mental health especially in the early years of parenthood.
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 you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother.
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 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 lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.
Sadly, for some mothers, this experience can be made so much harder due to challenges with their own mental health. Two in ten women will suffer mental health issues that can occur during pregnancy and in the year after birth, often clouding their moments of joy with a real sense of darkness and isolation.
Many of these women also suffer in silence, overwhelmed by negative feelings, but also afraid to admit to the struggles they are facing due to the fear or shame of what others might think if they “aren’t coping”.
Some of this fear is about the pressure to be a perfect parent; pretending we’re all coping perfectly and loving every minute of it. It’s right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains.
It’s ok not to find it easy. Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.
If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor. Getting help with our mental health is no different – our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.
Conversations are crucial for mental well-being and they should be part of everyday family life. Talking about a problem with a friend or another trusted person can be the beginning of getting better.
This week, as we look forward to Mother’s Day, I would love to see everyone celebrate and value the fundamental importance that mothers play in family life.
Mothers take on an overwhelming responsibility of caring for their families.
Their role is vital in providing unconditional love, care, and support at home, particularly in the early years of a child’s development. We therefore should do everything we can to support and value their hard work.
The work of Best Beginnings is vital. By providing tools and resources to help parents establish their own confidence and their own self-awareness, Best Beginnings enables mothers and fathers to do the best they can for their families.
The Out of the Blue films you are about to see are also an amazing example to all parents, that starting conversations and asking for support is a real source of strength. They have been created with real parents, talking honestly and openly about their own experiences of parenthood.
I am now delighted to introduce two brave parents who have contributed to the films, Jessica and John Warne.
What Do You Think?
Did Kate’s speech resonate with you? How has your experience of motherhood, or of having a mother, impacted your life? What are some ways you plan to celebrate mothers and your own mom this Mother’s Day? Do you have any special traditions around motherhood? Tell me in the comments below!