Keira Knightley has shared her childbirth experience in an essay entitled “The Weaker Sex” for a book called Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies). Keira spares no detail of the birth of her daughter Edie in May 2015. Gag reflex trigger warning: unless you like your brunch frittata with a side of umbilical cord, skip the essay and stay for the shade of it all, because after giving us the gory/wonderful details of giving birth, Keira had something to say about how Duchess Kate turned from an Autocrat into a Decepticon when she presented a perfect image of herself to the world just hours after giving birth to her second child, Princess Charlotte.
Refinery29 paraphrases many excerpts from Keira’s essay. Hold onto your chopsticks and get ready to dig in to this visceral tidbit:
“My vagina split,” the first line reads. “You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming.”“You latched on to my breast immediately, hungrily, I remember the pain. The mouth clenched tight around my nipple, light sucking on and sucking out.“I remember the shit, the vomit, the blood, the stitches. I remember my battleground. Your battleground and life pulsating. Surviving. And I am the weaker sex? You are?”
The day before the birth, she remembers feeling her waters break during a walk on London’s Clerkenwell Road and the fluid running into her favourite shoes (“brown lace-up brogues”, which ended up “crusted and sticky” with amniotic fluid). On the day, Knightley remembers the “blood soaking through the sanitary pad wedges between [her] legs” and “exposing [herself] to the men in the room, blood running down [her] thighs, arse, cellulite.” She recalls drinking champagne and eating Chinese food.
Chinese food, you say? Pass the menu- suddenly I’m starving! Bravo to Keira for highlighting with utmost precision the details of her birth- she nailed it. Sometimes the body ain’t pretty (if you’ve ever had to use the Honey Bucket at a music festival or sat next to the toilets on an International flight, you are already well aware of this fact), but birth is a miracle, and with a few stitches and a few tubs of hemmorhoid cream, the body almost nearly bounces back to at least 50% of where it was before.
That is, if your name is not Duchess Kate, who according to Keira, was back to her nearly perfect self immediately after giving birth, which Keira was not here for. After Keira relived the scene of her own delivery, she laid into Kate for tricking the public with her perfect facade of motherhood just hours after delivering her second child, Charlotte.
Her daughter was born the day before Kate Middleton gave birth to Princess Charlotte on 2nd May 2015, she flags, before railing against the burden on high-profile new mothers to be camera-ready virtually immediately after labour. “We stand and watch the TV screen. She [Middleton] was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see.
“Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don’t show your battleground, Kate. Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don’t show. Don’t tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers.”
This is what Duchess Kate looked like that day:
Nobody show Keira those pics of Duchess Kate after giving birth to Prince Louis…
I see the point Keira is making, but let’s hope she went straight from the hospital to the palace and changed into her favorite pair of Prince Williams‘ oversized sweatpants like us peasants would have done. I think Keira would have liked it if Kate rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair wearing an oversized teddy bear sweatshirt, basketball shorts and Crocs with her hair on a messy topknot like a peasant. Yes, childbirth fucks with your body, but it doesn’t automatically take away your sense of fashion- that happens one spit up stain at a time. And well, duty calls! In this case, royal duty calls!