Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

To Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Lindsey Smallwood

Dear Kate,

Congratulations on your sweet baby girl!

Btw, can I call you Kate? I feel a bit like I know you since I watched your wedding in my living room and regularly browse your vacation pictures in magazines.

We actually have a bit in common you and I – we were both born in 1982, setting us solidly in our mid-thirties. We’re both married to swell guys. We both love sporting the wrap dress – aren't they just the best? Flattering on everyone.

And now we’re both mothers of two! I know, two! Can you believe it?

One other thing we share: we both have sweet little blonde-headed boys born on July 22, 2013.

It’s true. We became mothers at the same moment, you and I.

Was it wonderful for you?

Every time I think of that day I smile as I remember the unparalleled wonderfulness of seeing Bobby for the first time, holding him to my chest, smelling his head.

I’m sure you know what I mean – since you got to do it again on Saturday – don’t their sweet little baby heads smell amazing? Fresh from heaven, yum.

At some point, as we were being moved to a recovery room after Bobby was born, someone turned to me and told me “You know, Kate Middleton just had her baby too. A boy.”

Knowing we shared that day, you and I and our sweet babies, gave it a little extra magic.

Which is funny because I used to kind of hate you.

Well, hate is a strong word.

Envy is probably truer.

You see, the summer before Bobby was born I had a miscarriage.

It was awful. Losing that longed for little life.

But it was living through the weeks that followed that were most difficult of all.

The sadness about the loss –

Remembering the tiny body outlined so clearly on the ultrasound, knowing that I’d never meet this person I’d dreamed about.

The fear about the future –

Wondering if we were starting down a road of losses and infertility treatments and struggle.

The regret about the past –

Feeling shame for the drinking and drugs and poor health habits of my youth and anguishing that I’d somehow ruined my eggs and my chance at motherhood. Mostly feeling that somehow I deserved this loss, that it was my fault.

Then in November, the day before my husband and I left for a three-week trip to Australia, I took a pregnancy test on a whim and discovered we were expecting again.

What should have been good news was met with fear and anxiety, which I had plenty of time for since instead of the hurried distractions of work and home life, we were on a twenty-two day holiday down under.

And so we saw the sights and celebrated a wedding and tried to make the most of it, all the while I was lost in my fears.

Would this pregnancy end like the last one?

Was that twinge the beginning of a miscarriage or the normal stretching of early pregnancy?

Did my nausea come from our trip or from new life doing what it does?

And this thought I just couldn’t shake: Maybe the baby was already dead inside of me.

On the last day of our trip, reading the newspaper in our Melbourne hotel room, there you were, plastered across the front page.

“Will & Kate Announce Royal Pregnancy”

My eyes welled up with tears as I read the article.

You were sick, it said. Really sick. You needed fluids and hospitalization.

I was jealous. Because I’d read more WebMD than I cared to admit and I knew you sickness meant that your baby was thriving.

I felt fine and it scared me.

And now, there’d be you, in my news feed, in my magazines, in conversations with co-workers. Your royal pregnancy, progressing along like normal, while mine, I’d convinced myself, would end again in grief.

I was afraid to hope.

Even after seeing a heartbeat at 7 weeks, getting a clean genetics test at 13 weeks, and hearing a good report at 20 weeks, I still couldn’t let myself believe that my baby would be ok. That I would be ok.

It was easier to prepare myself for the worst.

Every time I saw you, read news of your pregnancy or bulletins on your maternity style, I felt this cold fear – that for the rest of my life, I’d watch your child grow up in the public eye while I would mourn another lost little life.

I don’t know when the fear started to fade exactly.

I think it was in May, with about two months to go in my pregnancy, when it occurred to me that everything might turn out ok.

That our baby could live.

That my dreams of being a mother were about to come true.

I was hoping, living in the unknown with joy.

All of a sudden I found myself thinking about baby cuddles and bathtime and teeny tiny pajamas instead of miscarriage and stillbirth and SIDS.

One of the ways I knew I was letting myself hope was that instead of a feeling a hot flash of hate when I saw your picture in the checkout line at the grocery store, I reached down to touch my own swollen belly in solidarity.

And smiled.

So on July 22, 2013, that scary, wonderful day, as Bobby lay on my chest and they told me that you’d had your baby too, I felt astonishing gratitude.

For the miracle in my arms.  One I didn’t deserve or earn or work for.

It was almost like a whisper –

You may not be a princess, Lindsey, but there’s grace for you too. And today, you get to hold it in your arms.

I felt thankful too for your sweet prince because in my hormonal post-partum delirium, all I wanted was for everyone in the world to know the happiness I felt at that moment.

And then, later, gratitude for knowing that instead of being a rival to envy, you would now forever be someone I associate with one of my deepest joys.

A few months ago, we brought home our second child, like you are now.

It’s been a blast. I’m telling you – two babies at home is such a fun season.

So dear Kate, I’m lifting my latte to you today, as you welcome a new little love into your family.

Here’s to parenting two kids under two. Laugh often and take all the naps you can get.

Here’s to hope instead of fear, to joy instead of envy. I'm sure you know something about hoping after dating a prince for the better part of a decade. I bet you also know that worry and comparison only make the hoping harder. There’s grace enough for all of us. Grace in the waiting, grace in the hoping, grace in the holding. I hope you feel it while you cuddle your tiny darling today.

And here’s to rocking those wrap dresses – seriously, they are so forgiving.