Celebrity Families

Keira Knightley gets real about childbirth and slams Kate Middleton's post-birth appearance

She didn't put things lightly.

By Jess Pullar
We all know childbirth is anything but glamorous, but one celebrity has got seriously candid on the realities, and her description is not for the faint of heart.
Keira Knightley has penned a powerful essay called 'The Weaker Sex', and she's called out Duchess Catherine for setting unrealistic expectations on women who have just given birth.
Keira Knightley has written a powerful essay on the realities of childbirth.
In the essay, Knightley recalls seeing images of Kate leaving the hospital after the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015, which was just a day after she had given birth to her own daughter.
She wrote: "Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don't show. Don't tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers."
"Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don't show your battleground, Kate."
The essay, which Knightley dedicated to her daughter, Edie Righton, went into graphic detail about the realities of birth.
"My vagina split," she states. "You came out with your eyes open. Arms up in the air. Screaming. They put you on to me, covered in blood, vernix, your head misshapen from the birth canal. Pulsating, gasping, screaming."
"I remember the s**t, the vomit, the blood, the stitches. I remember my battleground. Your battleground and life pulsating. Surviving. And I am the weaker sex? You are?"
Keira gave birth to her baby daughter in 2015 with husband James Righton.
The 33-year-old actress was not the only one unimpressed by Kate Middleton's seemingly perfect appearances following childbirth.
In April, Meshel Laurie criticised the Duchess on The Project after she stepped out in public just seven hours after giving birth to Prince Louis.
"You know what I find troubling is all those young women saying, 'Oh, it's inspiring'. That's not inspiring!" she said.
"You know what would be inspiring? If when they came into her room and said 'Alright mate, up you get, hair and make up, let's get out there' she said 'Don't be an idiot, get out! I've just had a baby!'"
Watch the moment below:
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Meanwhile, other celebrities have defended Kate for her post-birth appearances.
Carrie Bickmore, a mum-of-two (and soon to be three) responded to Laurie's remarks saying maybe Kate didn't have the option to shy away from cameras.
"The expectation on that poor girl. It must suck! Seven hours after you have a baby, I was a hot mess. I would not have had the confidence to put a dress on," she said.
"She does it so, so effortlessly. And I hope she gets to go home and put on some PJs and be a mum and worry about all the royal stuff later."
Mummy Blogger Clemmie Hooper also showed her support for the Duchess, saying: "Obviously Kate has had her hair and makeup done. She's married to William, he's going to be King one day. This is what is her life and she has to do it and I think she deserves a round of applause for doing that, not bursting into tears, not being overwhelmed."
The Project host Carrie Bickmore, who is expecting her third child, defended Kate's post-birth appearance.
Last week, Kate returned to work five months after giving birth to Prince Louis, attending a formal visit to the Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden.
Her five-month break was the longest maternity leave Kate has taken out of all three of her children. After Prince George, she was back at work just six weeks later, while she took two months off following the birth of Princess Charlotte.
Even so, a five-month break is significantly smaller than the average 9-12 months maternity leave new mums take in the UK.
Duchess Catherine returned to work earlier in October after five-months maternity leave.
But it wasn't just Kate that Knightley hit out against in her poignant essay - she also relayed her frustration around double standards for actors and actresses who are parents.
She wrote: "My male colleagues can be late, can not know their lines," she said.
"They can shout and scream and throw things. They can turn up drunk or not turn up at all. They don't see their children. They're working. They need to concentrate."