For weeks, the media has been on bump watch. Is she or isn't she? Pap shots of Pippa Middleton at the French Open and running errands in Knightsbridge have been made readily available for all your armchair detective needs. But now that it's "finally" been confirmed that Pippa Middleton is pregnant, the responsible thing for everyone to do is to back off.
Kate Middleton's little sister hasn't had the easiest time since she was propelled into the spotlight at the royal wedding in 2011. She's been painfully scrutinised over everything, from her bridesmaid dress, to her party planning tips, and even her Waitrose magazine column (I mean seriously?). How does she feel about it all? Well, the fitness-enthusiast told the host of US show Today Matt Lauer in 2014 that she felt "bullied".
Since that Today interview, the nasty comments have quietened down somewhat, which is great. But after Middleton announced her pregnancy in her Waitrose column, it's sure to ramp up again. Why am I so certain? Because it's already started and to be honest, it's kind of scary.
Middleton made a conscious effort to keep quiet about her pregnancy in the first trimester. She wrote in her column: "It's particularly hard in the early months when you don't really want to share the news with everyone." This is actually pretty common. While she hasn't explained why she chose to do this, a lot of mothers-to-be keep quiet about their pregnancy during the first trimester for obvious reasons.
Although she hasn't revealed exactly how far along she is, Middleton has confirmed that she is past the 12 week mark. While that's amazing news, it is still incredibly important for her health and her unborn baby's health that she is not subjected to any unnecessary stress by vicious online trolls, hounding paparazzi, or anyone else sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.
Middleton has openly admitted that she has felt "bullied" in the past by trolls and the invasive tabloids. And, it is well known that bullying can trigger stress and anxiety. This really isn't an acceptable way to treat anyone, especially a woman who is pregnant. According to the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence (NICE), the psychological wellbeing of women in pregnancy can have long-term effects on the child. In addition, anxiety during pregnancy is associated with postnatal depression. Considering the potential risks involved during pregnancy, why would anyone want to subject Middleton to this? It's completely irresponsible.
Yet, I've already seen tweets blasting Middleton for announcing her news in Waitrose magazine, with one calling it "the most middle class thing that ever happened". OK, I'll admit it is pretty middle class, but so what? Can we really place the expectation of bringing down the British class system on Middleton's shoulders? Or blame her for the existence of middle class mecca that is Waitrose? It's ridiculous.
For some reason, people seem to really enjoy criticising her, and I'm not sure why. I've often felt the trolling has had a sexist edge to it. Yes, some of Middleton's party planning advice might be frivolous, but is it really sillier than marshmallows with people's faces on? That's what the other Middleton sibling, James, sells and I don't see him getting nearly as much stick for it.
I think announcing your pregnancy with a piece about keeping fit during it is actually a pretty great message to send out. Yes, Middleton's life is about to change, she's going to have a brand new role and a little human being to look after in a few months' time. But that doesn't mean she's going to stop being a fully-fledged human being herself, with needs and wants to attend to.
Informing women of how they can carry on exercising during a time that's yes, amazing and life-changing, but also uncomfortable for some, is practical and helpful. And from the tone of her column, Middleton seems to want to empower other women sharing her experience to get active. She wrote: "I wanted to know things like, would I strain if I served in tennis, are strokes of swimming safe, can I still do a normal yoga class if I avoided certain positions? Could I still work my abs?"
The column was also accompanied by some easy exercises for pregnant women to do at home which require nothing more than a matt and some small weights. She's hardly advising them to attend pricey pregnancy yoga classes in an exclusive Knightsbridge gym now is she?
As well as the constant criticism, I hope Middleton escapes too many comparisons to her sister over the next few months. But I doubt it. Alongside the fitness tips, she revealed in the column that she was fortunate enough not to have suffered from morning sickness in her first 12 weeks of pregnancy. “I was lucky to pass the 12-week scan without suffering from morning sickness," she wrote. Note that Middleton didn't write "unlike my sister", who suffered with an extreme case of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarium in all three of her pregnancies. But that hasn't stopped everyone else making the jump and suggesting that Middleton is being smug.
Why are people doing this to Middleton? All she has done is announce her pregnancy, which she didn't have to do but obviously was aware there was a public interest and so obliged. Would you speak that way to a pregnant woman sitting across from you on the train? Of course not. But the press are all over Middleton's announcement, and her new moniker as "pregnant Pippa" will surely take hold, so don't expect to see her called anything else until after her baby is born, at which point she'll probably become "new mum Pippa" or "proud parent Pippa."
It's boring, tired, sexist, and I'm over it. If Middleton's column proved one thing it's that she's focusing on herself as a person during her pregnancy, I think the rest of us should show her a little respect and do the same.