The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

July 27, 2013

Kate praised for not hiding tummy

NEW YORK — As Kate and William showed off the royal baby, what caught the eye of many women was not the new heir to the throne but the Duchess of Cambridge’s post-childbirth silhouette: that little bump under her pretty polka-dot dress.

“I love that she came out and there was a mommy tummy. It was there! We all saw it!” said Lyss Stern of New York City, who remembers turning down offers of a girdle and diet pills after her first child was born nine years ago.

Stern, whose company Divamoms.com organizes events and product launches, added that Kate was sending “the right message,” in stark contrast to Hollywood celebrities who are shown “three weeks after childbirth with a flat stomach and G-string bikini. That’s not real.”

Even those who make a living getting new moms into shape applauded Kate. “I’m thrilled that she went out there like that, because we never see real mommy tummies,” said Helene Byrne, a personal trainer in Oakland, Calif., who specializes in pre- and post-natal exercise. “When you see a magazine or photos of new celebrity moms, they’re Photoshopped. They’re fake! They’re a big lie!”

The Daily Beast even ran a headline saying Kate’s “unabashed baby belly busts the last taboo of pregnancy.” Indeed, most celebrity new moms don’t have their pictures taken until their tummies are flat again. And while the stars usually credit diet and exercise with making their bodies bikini-ready so fast, gossip and plastic surgeons often cite something else: the popular procedure known as a tummy tuck.

Nobody can say whether Kate consciously chose to send a message that this is what new mothers really look like, or whether she didn’t realize — or didn’t care — how obvious her tummy would be. Either way, she un-self-consciously handed the baby off to her husband rather than using the newborn to camouflage her figure from the cameras and crowds when she emerged from the hospital Tuesday. And her form-draping dress was a contrast to the caftan-like outfit that hid Princess Diana’s figure when she appeared publicly for the first time after giving birth to Will in 1982.

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