Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Family Pressure to Reproduce April 28, 2011

Unless you’ve taken to living under a rock recently (understandable, if you have) you’ll know that a Royal Wedding is imminent. Tomorrow, Britain’s Prince William (first-born son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana) will marry Kate Middleton.

The tabloids are a-flutter with talk of dresses, music, and guests – both invited and snubbed – but all I can think about is Kate’s ovaries.

I know; it’s sick to even be going there, but I can’t help thinking about the pressure on this young couple, but especially on Kate, to reproduce. Being second in line to the throne, and with speculation that Charles will not succeed his mother, Wills is certain to eventually become King. And a king needs heirs.

We’ve talked before on this blog about the pressure some of us have felt from our families to provide grandchildren and cousins, so imagine the pressure to produce a royal heir.

Historically, barren queens haven’t fared well (See Henry VIII) and although the days of executing a wife who doesn’t produce heirs are long gone, that pressure still remains. And forgive me, but I can’t help wondering if Kate, much like an expensive thoroughbred, has already been vetted for her potential as future King or Queen Mother. Either way, I’m pretty sure that choosing a childfree life isn’t going to be an option for this couple.

So, I’ll be keeping a careful eye on the royal newlyweds, but for now, I wish them good luck and a long and, um, fruitful marriage.

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14 Responses to “Family Pressure to Reproduce”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Okay, so the headline of this post was one thing… but when I saw the photo with it, I cracked up! I don’t know if you intended it to be humorous, but it was! I bet Kate’s got the best docs in the world (who have probably already done thorough run-ups on her ovaries). I’m glad I’m not under that kind of pressure. I feel bad for them, honestly, with all the world watching for baby bumps.

  2. Artemis Says:

    sure they can choose to be childfree but they would have to give up their royal life…

  3. Lex Says:

    I have had the same thoughts. I hope that they are very fertile and will be able to have a baby as soon as they are ready for one.

  4. Pearl Says:

    Your post reminded me of poor princess Masako. Many blame her depression on the pressure to produce a male heir to the Japanese throne. At least her husband is supportive of her.

  5. Mali Says:

    Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, had an ectopic pregnancy (about the same time as I did so I remember it) and then I think has had IVF for her one (?) child. I guess they’re far enough down the line of succession for it not to have been a big deal. I do feel sorry for Kate though. The pressure is huge, and no-one knows if they’re going to have problems or not.

    The wife of the Crown Prince (or whatever it’s called) in Japan was a vibrant and brilliant young diplomat who once married struggled to conceive for eight years before producing “only” a girl. She was treated terribly by the Japanese press, and suffered from depression and has been out of the public eye for years. I think the moral of the story is that becoming a princess can be far from a fairy tale, more a nightmare.

    • Rach Says:

      Sophie did have an etopic but she didn’t do ivf for her daughter – who was actually in the royal bridal party looking gorgeous! they also have a son i believe as well.

  6. sushigirl Says:

    OMG, I had a really similar post to this – great minds think alike and all that. One of the tabloids over here has already run a story about how she’s pregnant – while it’s difficult to feel sorry for for them with all the wealth and flunkies, that must suck!

  7. Jane G Says:

    I was thinking that today as I watched the wedding. The press in the UK will be obsessed with any signs of them reproducing in the coming months no doubt. Huge pressure on them, and they appear to be such a happy well suited couple. I wish them well whatever the future holds for them.

  8. Rach Says:

    prior to getting married, they said they want a quiet few years for the start of their marriage, so i would have perhaps thought children will be a couple of years away.

    that being said, during one of the readings from one of the religious dudes DURING the wedding mentioned children and starting a family and i thought “oh come on, pressure already the ink isn’t even dry on the certificate yet!”.

    i doubt she would have had health checks re how fertile she is prior to getting engaged or married – the royal family have learnt the hard way about being pushy and pompous.

    i think it was a beautiful wedding – it is very obvious that they love each other, something i’m not sure Charles and Di ever did.

    • loribeth Says:

      Rach, I think the line about chidren is standard in the Church of England marriage service — the Catholic service too. Our (Anglican) minister did ask if we wanted the line in or out of our wedding ceremony, but I suspect it’s not a choice for Catholics, lol. Or for Will & Kate, for that matter.

  9. loribeth Says:

    This was on my mind too. Even BEFORE the wedding, one of the trashy mag covers was screaming “PREGNANT BRIDE!” & in smaller type underneath, “If it’s a girl, they’ll call her Diana.” Oh brother…! Give the kids a break, will ya…?? I kind of hope they will resist the pressure to procreate immediately, give her a chance to adjust to life as a royal. (Although, on the other hand, now, while they’re living in relative isolation in Wales, might be a good time!)

    Masako & Sophie were also on my mind.


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