The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at church on Christmas Day with their children Credit:Andrew Matthews/PA Wire She told the reception that nothing prepares you for being a motherCredit:Lauren Hurley/PA Wire “Many of these women also suffer in silence, overwhelmed by negative feelings, but also afraid to admit to the struggles they are facing due to the fear or shame of what others might think if they ‘aren’t coping’. Some have contributed to a series of Out of the Blue videos, showcasing the reality of parenting in the hopes of making new mothers and fathers realise they are not alone. The Duchess told one: “There is so much support for mothers when they are pregnant but it can be very lonely after your baby is born.” To the watching world, she navigates motherhood with ease, marshalling two impeccably behaved small children while wearing sky-high heels and a smile for the cameras.Mere mortals may be pleased to learn, then, that even the Duchess of Cambridge has struggled after having babies, as she admits experiencing a “lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance” under the pressures of being a “perfect parent”.The Duchess, mother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, said even she, with all the benefits of having help at home, had found parenthood a “huge challenge”, learning it can be “very lonely after your baby is born”. Meeting fellow parents at the launch of Best Beginnings’ ‘Out of the Blue’ seriesCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley “You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost. And yet there is no rule book, no right or wrong – you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family. “For many mothers, myself included, this can, at times lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.”Speaking of the two in 10 women who experience mental health issues during or after pregnancy, the Duchess said: “Some of this fear is about the pressure to be a perfect parent; pretending we’re all coping perfectly and loving every minute of it. Launching a project about mental health in early parenthood, she said: “Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother.”The Duchess was speaking at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London at a reception for Best Beginnings’ Out of the Blue series, a programme of educational films promoting mental health for parents and their infants. The Best Beginnings project works is partnered with Heads Together, the mental health charity supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.”Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” the Duchess said. For many mothers, myself included, this can, at times lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignoranceThe Duchess of Cambridge “Conversations are crucial for mental wellbeing and they should be part of everyday family life. Talking about a problem with a friend or another trusted person can be the beginning of getting better.”This week, as we look forward to Mother’s Day, I would love to see everyone celebrate and value the fundamental importance that mothers play in family life.” “It’s right to talk about motherhood as a wonderful thing, but we also need to talk about its stresses and strains. The Duke and Duchess with Prince George in 2014, celebrating his first birthday with some butterflies The Duchess attends a children’s party with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in Canada last year The Duchess, pictured today, was speaking at the Royal College for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, LondonCredit:Chris Jackson/Getty Images The Duchess meets 21-year-old Kirsty Francois and her two-year-old daughter, Teegan-Mia, during a meeting with a parent support group Credit:Heathcliff O’Malley “Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. “It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry, all mixed together. Your fundamental identity changes overnight. “However, at times it has also been a huge challenge – even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not. Making it look easy: the Duchess marshalls her children down the steps on an aeroplane in front of the world’s media She added: “If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor. “Getting help with our mental health is no different – our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need. “It’s OK not to find it easy. Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness.”In a conference hosted by broadcaster Kate Silverton, audience members including the Duchess heard from parents who have endured and overcome mental health issues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
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