Dear Kate: What to Expect After You Get That Royal Baby Out

What Women Really Think
July 22 2013 11:34 AM

Dear Kate: What to Expect After You Get That Royal Baby Out

170601377
Despite this, it will still hurt to pee, Kate.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Dear Kate,

Jessica Grose Jessica Grose

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

Congratulations on your imminent royal spawn! As he or she makes their gilded way down your no-doubt red carpeted birth canal, I would like to give you some unsolicited advice on what to expect in your postpartum days. In some ways, your delivery will be unique—how many regular ladies share not one but two gynecologists with their grandmother-in-law?—but in other ways, your after-labor experience will be as hormonal and fluid-filled as the rest of ours.  

Advertisement

There were a bunch of things no one told me, a first-time mom, would happen right after I gave birth. One was the night sweats. Lo, the night sweats. Your body has to get rid of all the extra (bejeweled) fluid you retained while incubating the future king or queen. I imagine your sweat smells like wisteria, or possibly, marmalade, but just be prepared to wake up completely drenched for several weeks after you pop. (Since you probably have at least four ladies-in-waiting to change your sheets, this will be only a minor problem.)

In addition to a few extra 2,000-thread-count sheets, another thing you might want to keep handy is milk of magnesia. If you had an epidural—and Christ, hon, I hope you had an epidural, as I imagine a scepter is hard to eject—going to the bathroom will be … an experience immediately after you give birth. I won’t give you the real talk on the squeeze bottle filled with water you might need in lieu of toilet paper for the first week or so, but you can read about that here.

I bet everyone is going to be all up in your face about breast-feeding. Since you have the milk of a commoner, it might not matter as much whether you’re giving the wee royal nourishment from your nonaristocratic bosom. But I recommend you find an explanation for whatever you decide to do and stick to it, because somehow it’s become appropriate for strangers to ask every new mom how she is feeding her infant. If you don’t actually get this question, that means everyone’s talking about your lactation decisions behind your back (which, by the way, is probably the only part of you that doesn’t look weird right now).  

What else? Well I’d make Wills change those brocade diapers from day one, because if you don’t make him a full partner in child-rearing you’re going to be stuck resentfully lugging the royal Gucci diaper bag across the moors near Balmoral Castle. Don’t silently curse Will as you watch him ride away on one of those damn fox chases—make sure he’s cutting the royal baby’s fingernails, too.

But most of all I hope you can enjoy your child in relative peace and privacy, at least for the first couple of months. Those early days of parenthood are full of the widest range of deeply felt emotions that I had ever encountered. Completely blissed-out joy one minute, exhausted, full-body fear the next. You should be able to experience these, and any other feelings about your babe, without ninnies like me knocking at your door, telling you about boob sweat.

Happy Birthing!

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They just aren’t ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 2:11 PM Spare the Rod What Charles Barkley gets wrong about corporal punishment and black culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.