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The most perfect headline ever

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private eye 2


Having spent years at the Indy on Sunday newspaper being shouted at by Janet Street Porter (her carrion call of ‘Fuckin’ ‘ell’ ‘Ero, wot the fuck is this?’ still ringing in my ears) I have a soft spot for good print journalism.

And I totally love this headline. So clever and simple and funny. And I happen to agree with its (anti) sentiment wholeheartedly.

Before anyone growls at me, I should point out that I’m a royalist, love the Queen, am fond of William and can see Kate’s appeal even as I find her a bit anodyne. I’m delighted they’ve had a baby, that said baby has been given a sane name, that William is changing nappies and that the monarchy is in touch with the times (if you brush over the super-millions William just spent on refurbishing his home).

kate and william and baby

But really. The canonisation of Kate Middleton is getting a bit much. She’s a woman in her thirties who’s just had a baby. It’s, um, not unusual. Most people reading Muddy Stilettos will have already screamed, grunted and sworn like a sailor through their own births – not just one, but two, three, four, and without the Queen’s personal doctor to administer pain relief in an instant. Those readers who haven’t had kids yet will perhaps do so in the future. Are we to imagine that Kate ommmed her way in beatific silence through the whole thing?

I remember going in to have my first baby in the Whittington Hospital in Archway, North London in 2002. It was in the wake of a scandal about a dead baby found in the laundry so my hopes for a classy delivery weren’t high. It also happened to be the hospital where the prisoners from Holloway women’s prison came to have their babies, so when I eventually went up to the ward, I saw several women chained to the bed in the early stages of labour. Which was nice.

But what I remember most vividly is the feeling of first-time smugness as I went on the ward and heard all these women working through the pain. The midwife and I exchanged glances. She rolled her eyes. ‘I know,’ she said, ‘they makes so much noise’. We laughed and I waddled to my bed, confident that my mental toughness and  pragmatism would see me through, no probs. Hey, I had a birth plan. I had music on the ipod. I had a birthing ball. This baby was coming out my way.

Two hours later, I was on gas and air, telling Mr Muddy to ‘F*** off’ and mooing like a prize Jersey. 36 hours later, it was C-section time and I’d never been more exhausted, high and humbled in my life.

There’s nothing glamorous about giving birth. It’s primal. It’s sweaty. It’s scary and amazing and exhausting. And it’s a leveller. No royal does it better than anyone else.

Don’t let Nicholas Witchell tell you otherwise!




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