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As Duchess Kate Middleton's due date approached, the world waited with baited breath. People debated the gender. Bets were placed on the name. But for tired new moms everywhere, only one question mattered: "Will Kate rock a post-baby bump like she did last time?"
When His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge was born in 2013, Kate and William appeared on the hospital steps just hours after his arrival, debuting the 8 lb, 6 oz fellow to the world. The only thing more exciting that the arrival of a new future monarch? The fact that Duchess Kate's tummy wasn't immediately washboard flat. Today? We saw her in a gorgeous floral dress (above) with the baby blanket strategically hiding her post-baby bump. She beamed at the cameras, a picture of health. The dress is free flowing - no lycra here!
Because that's what we see now: "Pregnancy Abs Mom" Sarah Stage posted picsto social media of etched abs just four days after delivering son James Hunter.Actress Rosamund Pike is "close to a six-pack" three months after giving birth. Alessandra Ambrosio was strutting in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show sooner than most moms finish their maternity leave. When real women see these pics, it hits us in the (still a bit pouchy) gut. It's as if we've forgotten that after a female gives birth, it typically takes months for her stomach to deflate. The uterus needs to contract (hence those killer cramps while nursing in the first few days), skin has to return to its upright and locked position, the water weight needs to drain out of all those swollen nooks and crannies.
Maybe that's why Kate was such a body image heroine when she showed her son off to the world wearing a blue dress that not only revealed her postbaby bump, but almost seemed to highlight it. I remember Kate actually cradling it with her hands. Perhaps it was just a holdover from the prior 40 weeks of pregnancy; old habits die hard. (Just ask any mom of a toddler who still sways side to side when standing up, even with no baby in her arms.) But one thing's for sure - It definitely added to her "I'm just like you!" appeal: "Princess Kate – She recycles her outfits, Just Like US! She has a post-baby bump, Just Like US!"
Maybe this is a start of a new trend – one we haven't seen since, well, since when women weren't pressured to snap back to a size two before their milk came in, whenever that was. Jill Duggar was recently spotted looking like a post-partum mother with a normal tummy. And lately we've seen a good amount of "this is what mom bods really look like" photo campaigns going viral.
As we await the debut of the 8 lb 3 oz royal daughter, let's send our best wishes to momma: I hope you're enjoying a bite of your favorite-but-off-limits pregnancy food; I hope you're still flying high on a combination of painkillers and joy; and I we're so glad you didn't feel the need to wear your pre-baby skinny jeans home from the hospital. In other words: I hope you're just like us.