April 13, 2015

How long a mother should take off work following the birth of a child is sometimes a personal decision but, often, is determined by laws established by the government and workplace policies. The United States lags behind many developed parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, but a global trendsetter can help bring the issue to the forefront.

When it comes to style, Duchess Kate (informally known as Kate Middleton) has garnered an immense amount of attention since before she married heir England’s throne, Prince William. Despite the privileges that come with royalty, the couple have regularly made an effort to live “normal” lives and connect with people on a more genuine level.

For example, while it’s usually seen as a faux-pas to be seen wearing the same outfit among the Hollywood crowd, Kate is famous for bucking the wasteful tradition recycling outfits. She has also been seen buying her own groceries and William now works a civilian job. Still, they also maintain their royal duties.

When Kate was pregnant with their firstborn, George, she developed hypergravidarum emesis and had to be hospitalized until she was stable enough to go home. After giving birth, she was praised for her decision to be photographed proudly showing her still-large belly. She showed the world that it was normal for a woman to still look pregnant after giving birth which is contrary to so many celebrities who remain hidden until they have lost weight.

The couple also became the first royals to skip the royal residence after the birth of a child and, instead, opted to stay with Kate’s parents for the first six weeks to avoid the attention of the media and benefit from the support of close family members. While things seemed to go smoothly enough, it’s being reported that 33-year-old Kate plans to take a little more time off this time around before returning to her duties in the spotlight.

Her reason for the extended break sounds like any other mother’s – she wants to spend more time bonding with her newborn while helping 21-month-old George transition into life as a big brother. Royal grandfather, Prince Charles, is said to be in full support of the young family taking more time to focus on creating a solid foundation for the children.

Fortunately, the pair have their country home on Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham estate to give them a break from the public eye. It’s conveniently located near William’s new job as an air ambulance pilot which will allow him to be with his wife and children in the mornings and evenings.

He’s not the only one devoting time to a worthy cause, however. When Kate is up to returning to work, she plans to continue campaigning vulnerable children and families, particularly those affected by mental health issues.

With Kate highlighting the importance of those early weeks following the birth of a child, do you think this will make more women in America push for mandated maternity leave similar to that offered in many other developed nations? What is the ideal length of time that a mother should be given before having to return to work?

Image Source: Wikipedia