Imagine the scene. The lights are dim. The mood is right. You are alone with your paramour, when they lean tantalisingly close and whisper, “Tell me what you like.” “I like to be teased,” you might reply, shyly. Or, “Talk dirty to me, as though I’m a disgraced comedian and you are all of Twitter,” or even, “I just want to be smothered in harissa and spit-roasted by a couple of really good friends.”
Whatever floats your boat; you know you can say it here, because it’s your body and your business, and you’re here to do what comes naturally. But then! The door bursts open. In pour all of your relatives, various members of the press and several self-appointed experts, turning on the big light, throwing your harissa out of the window and generally ruining the mood. And why? Because they think you’re doing it all wrong.
Of course, this would never happen. People don’t tend to muscle in on what happens in the room when a baby goes into a woman. So why are they so concerned about what happens when a baby comes out of one? From whether a Caesarean is a “real birth” to if you should have pain relief, people can be awfully opinionated about how the bun exits the oven.
Meghan Markle appears to be having some of this trouble at the moment. According to (admittedly vague) reports, she’s taking hypnobirthing classes and may be planning a natural birth, which isn’t – allegedly – going down well, as it’s against royal protocol. As we all know from Netflix series The Crown, royal birth protocol is this: you lie very still in bed with the covers drawn up to your chin, then you cough, then the credits roll and in the next episode your baby is 43 and you are played by someone else. Markle – who is, famously, a fan of yoga, mindfulness and smiling – may not be up for this sort of lark for her birth plan and that is entirely her business.
People don’t muscle in on what happens when a baby goes into a woman. So why are they so concerned about how babies come out?
Because the physical act of having a baby is so personal. How you have your baby is as individual to you as your fingerprint (my birth plan just had the word “EPIDURAL” panic-scrawled over every page), not just because it’s a sacred time where you get to meet your child, but also because you are expelling a large object from your bodily person. Giving birth is, at its most basic, a momentous bodily function, so it’s just plain weird that an establishment, even one such as the royal family, would set rules around it. I mean, if you wouldn’t stroll into a toilet and start offering suggestions during a family member’s bowel movement, then I’d steer clear of broadcasting an opinion on how they give birth.
In fact, it’s such a bizarre sort of thing to try and apply procedure to, here are some other hard and fast rules I think the royal family should put in place:
1) Thou shalt be a side-sleeper and not a starfisher
2) Thou shalt take thy daily poo in the morning, not at night
3) Marmite, not Vegemite
4) It’s pronounced “scone”, not “scone”
5) Thou shalt tie thy laces using the criss-cross method, not the over-under one
6) Pepsi, not Coke
7) Steps, not S Club 7
8) Thou shalt have an innie, not an outtie. If thou hast an outtie already, please notify thy butler for immediate surgical attention
9) Thou shalt never let thy meat touch the vegetables on thy plate
10) Blur, not Oasis
Giving birth is intense and private, and it takes a great deal of internal mental and physical work to make this all happen. I genuinely believe that if it was mandatory for everyone to produce a giant sack of flour from one of their orifices, all opinions about how pregnant women should give birth would evaporate. Honestly, if it helps you to have your baby while listening to a chorus of chainsaws and mainlining Peperami Hots, you should be allowed to do so with impunity.
Anyway, I hope that helps, Your Majesty.