Great Expectations for Kate as a Royal Mom

By Mary Pflum

Jul 17, 2013 12:50pm

As the whole world waits for the Duchess of Cambridge to deliver her first child, a whole chorus of questions surrounds Kate’s pregnancy, from when she will deliver, to where she will give birth to whether it will be a boy or a girl to what she and Prince William will name the baby.

From Kate’s pregnancy fashion to the odds on the name, click here for full coverage of the royal baby.

Now there is another spotlight being shone upon the 31-year-old duchess, this one from women’s rights advocates who wonder how much maternity leave Kate will take and how much household help she and William will employ.

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“There is a little bit of pressure on Kate,” said ABC News’ royal contributor, Victoria Murphy.  “Obviously the eyes of the world are on her [and] there are people in our generation looking to Kate to set an example.”

In the U.K., new mothers are entitled to one full year of maternity leave without fear of losing their jobs.

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At least two mothers ABC News spoke with in London said they would like to see the example set if Kate took off the entire year.

“She should take the year off, definitely,” said one of the moms.  “I think the first year in any child’s life is so crucial.”

Others make the argument that Kate should show she is serious about her career by returning to her royal duties sooner, as the late Princess Diana did when she embarked on a royal tour with Prince Charles when William was just a baby.

Other questions surrounding the expectations of Kate as a mom include how many nannies she will employ – all indications show she and William will decline a big entourage – and whether she will breastfeed.

British journalist Beverley Turner caused a flap last month when she wrote a column for The Telegraph urging Kate to breastfeed in public.

Citing statistics that showed a decline in breastfeeding, Turner urged the duchess to breastfeed, writing that Kate should, “be applauded – not seethed at – for doing so.”

The competing demands add to the stress Kate w0uld already face as a first-time, new mother.

“It’s so difficult for a young royal mother,” royal historian Robert Lacey told ABC News.  “It goes with the territory that every interest group in the country will say, ‘Why aren’t you following my agenda?  Why aren’t you doing this? Why aren’t you doing that?’”

Royal watchers say Kate will be watched most closely for how she mothers her daughter or son, who will be become the third in line to the throne at birth.

“The better of childhoods that she gives her son or daughter, the better the future of Britain, really,” said Murphy.  “So that’s part of her constitutional role, if you will.”

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