Kate Middleton
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Unless you’ve been living under an internet-less rock since January — if so, where is this rock and may I join you? — you’ve undoubtedly been forced to ask yourself, “What the heck is going on with Kate Middleton?”

The answer, as we learned a few days ago, is that she had been attempting to privately battle cancer. After two months of endless and often brutal speculation about her health, whereabouts, and other potential goings on, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, made a video announcement that she is healed enough from her previously announced surgery to begin a preventative course of chemotherapy after her post-op testing revealed cancer had been present in her body. 

Catherine spoke of having to tell her children — George, 10, Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5 — of her diagnosis and her efforts to reassure them everything was going to be OK. As a mom, my heart broke for her as she lived one of my greatest fears. 

What I saw during her statement was not the glamorous woman so many of us millennials have spent the past two decades looking to for fashion inspiration. I saw a mom who was exhausted and sad and trying to reassure a nation (if not a world) that everything was going to be OK. Because that’s what moms have to do — no matter our own feelings, fears, or stress. We are looked to by those around us to bring calm and comfort in times of uncertainty. Even, and maybe especially, when that uncertainty centers on us. 

In reporting done after her statement, it was made public that Catherine had timed the announcement for Friday so that her children would not have to deal with questions from classmates in the immediate aftermath of the news going public (they are now on Easter break until mid April). How tempting must it have been to issue the statement earlier, in the midst of the internet crazy?

As the public, we did not deserve the grace Catherine offered us in her statement. Had it been me, I would have laid in to every internet troll claiming my absence had been for a mommy makeover with a drawn out, “Who’s the a-hole now!” But that’s the Boston in me, and one of the many reasons I would never be a proper Princess of Wales.

If we take any lesson from this moment in time, let it be that we never know what someone is dealing with behind the scenes, no matter how big or small those scenes may be. Offer everyone around you a little extra grace. Do not participate in gossip.

And most importantly, let the moms in your life know they can offload a little of their emotional burden by not having to explain themselves to you if they don’t want to. If someone is taking time away, whether that be from work, playgroup, or social outings, it’s not our place to question it. Sometimes moms need a little time. But most importantly, they need grace. 

Get well soon, Catherine. We’ll see you when you’re ready.

Brittany Kooienga
This writer has been brought to you today by copious amounts of caffeine and dry shampoo. Between raising two very active kiddos and two even more active beagles with her husband in Kingston, MA; Brittany has learned to take each hour as it comes. Not easy for a self-confessed Type A over planner. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Suffolk University, she spent a few years in the marketing world before returning to school to earn a post-baccalaureate degree in Health Education. One month after completing her coursework, she and her husband welcomed their first child and she has been the primary caregiver for her children ever since. When she isn’t chasing kids or dogs, Brittany can be found in her home office where she works as an Operational Management Consultant, or in the kitchen coming up with new recipes her kids will actually want to eat. You can follow her kitchen adventures on Instagram at @thekidsateittoo.


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