Duchess Catherine gets candid about motherhood: from hypnobirthing to ‘mum guilt’

The royal mum-of-three made her podcast debut, opening up about parenting and those “terrifying” post-birth photocalls.
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The Duchess of Cambridge is continuing to encourage discussions about children’s early years, making her podcast debut on an episode of Happy Mum, Happy Baby where she opened up about motherhood and her landmark survey 5 Big Questions.

During the episode with author and blogger Giovanna Fletcher, Duchess Catherine spoke about her experience suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute form of morning sickness, during her three pregnancies, explaining that the difficult pregnancies made her keen to learn how to make the births smooth as possible, leading her to ‘hypnobirthing’.

Duchess Catherine suffered from acute morning sickness during all three of her pregnancies. (Image: Getty)

“It was through hyperemesis that I really realised the power of the mind over the body because I really had to try everything and everything to try and get me through it,” the 38-year-old revealed.

The duchess said she instantly connected with hypnobirthing, which can involve a range of relaxation and meditation techniques to help relax the body before and during labour.

“There are levels of it,” Kate said, “I’m not going to say that William was standing there sort of chanting sweet nothings to me – he definitely wasn’t!

“I didn’t even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself. I saw the power of it really, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that – that they teach you in hypnobirthing – when I was really sick and I realised that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labour.”

Adding, “It was hugely powerful and because it had been so bad during pregnancy, I actually really liked labour! Because actually, it was an event that I knew there was going to be an ending to. I really know some people do have really, really difficult times, and it’s not for everyone.”

While Duchess Catherine doesn’t have the typical 9 to 5 job, her royal duties do at times see her travelling up and down the country as well as overseas, and she admits that just like other parents, leaving her three children – Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1 – at home is a “constant challenge”.

When asked by Giovanna if she feels mum guilt she replied: “Yes absolutely – and anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying.

“Yep, all the time. Even this morning, coming to the nursery visit here – George and Charlotte were like ‘Mummy how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?’

“It’s a constant challenge,” she says.

“You hear it all the time from mums, even mums who aren’t necessarily working and aren’t pulled in the directions of having to juggle work life and family life.”

She adds that at times she also feels guilty about her parenting decisions saying there are many times she questions her own decisions and judgements, but says a “very wise man” once told her: “The more people you have around your children who are safe and loving and caring, the better.”

Catherine admits she feels mum guilt when she’s unable to spend time with her children because of work commitments. (Image: Getty)

Along with the birthing techniques and mum guilt Kate got incredibly frank about those post-birth photocalls outside the Lindo Wing, confessing that it was a “slightly terrifying” experiencing after her first birth with Prince George in 2013.

“Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly, terrifying, I’m not going to lie,” Catherine said of the photocall, but added she wanted to do the traditional photocall as “everyone had been so supportive”.

“William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about. And, you know, we’re hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important.”

She added, however, that as new inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty that held, there were a lot of mixed emotions.

Catherine’s appearance on the podcast was to help promote her 5 Big Questions survey which she launched at the end of last month.

The survey aims to spark a UK-wide conversation about raising the next generation of children as part of the duchess’ work to highlight the importance of early childhood development and children’s mental health.

Catherine admits that her first photocall outside the Lindo Wing was a “pretty terrifying” experience. (Image: Getty)

Duchess Catherine’s candid confessions come just months after the Duchess of Sussex also opened up about her struggles during her pregnancy with now nine-month-old Archie in a documentary last year.

Opening up to ITV’s Tom Brady in the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the 38-year-old spoke of how the pressure of royal life and the constant media scrutiny had affected her, admitting that behind-the-scenes she had been struggling.

WATCH: Duchess Meghan admits she’s ‘not okay’ amidst the media scrutiny. Story continues below…

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“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable. So that was made really challenging,” Meghan said at the time.

“And, then when you have a newborn, and especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So, you add this on top of just trying to be a mum or trying to be a newlywed…”

Meghan also thanked Bradby for asking her how she was doing, saying: “Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m okay.

“It’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

Listen to the full episode of Duchess Catherine’s appearance on ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’ here.

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