The announcement that Prince William and Princess Kate have conceived a child, an heir to the throne, has been most providential.
It rivets global media attention, easily fixated on the cult of celebrity anyway, on two of the world’s most popular young stars because not only are they going to have a baby, but because (as any pregnancy means) they have one now.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” the announcement said. “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news.”
There’s such simple clarity in the jubilation over this new life present in the royal family, new and growing and building anticipation. Is the baby a boy or girl? What will be his or her name? This child is the newest royal and therefore an inheritor of the throne. All of which is familiar to pro-life people and especially Christian ones. Because pro-lifers know that conception begins a new human life, and Christians believe every human person is made in the image and likeness of God. Talk about a royal inheritance.
Then there’s this:
The announcement also indicated Middleton was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a severe case of morning sickness associated with an early pregnancy that affects about 1 percent of women.
Which drew this very interesting and helpful response.
The illness, which is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, affects less than two percent of pregnancies and is often under-diagnosed, causing some women to abort their children.
“While it isn’t Kate’s responsibility to become the international spokesperson for HG awareness, it could be her gift,” said Ashli McCall, an author and Hyperemesis Gravidarum sufferer.
McCall, who is a home-schooling mother and cancer survivor, said that her bout with the illness during her four pregnancies was the “most atrocious physical ailment” she has ever experienced.
She described the illness as “hell on earth that others simply cannot imagine unless they themselves have been where Kate Middleton and so many of us have been.”
What a gift McCall’s advocacy is for women suffering from something almost none of us know about.
“There is very little sympathy for this disease, because too many people truly believe it to be normal morning sickness,” she said.
Although her fourth pregnancy was the worst case of the illness her doctor had ever seen, it was her first pregnancy that “ended very regretfully in abortion.”
While family and friends were supportive of her during cancer recovery, McCall said that during her first pregnancy “the people in my life did not understand what was happening to me.”
Her experience “triggered a desperate search for information,” but she was surprised to find no body of research compiled on the disease.
Determined to help other women and children avoid her experience, McCall researched and wrote the “first and currently only comprehensive guide” to the illness for patients and family members, “Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum.”
“If I had possessed such information in my first pregnancy it would not have ended the way it did,” she said.
Aside from the physical anguish women can experience with this illness, there is also a “negative and crippling social aspect” that is “often ignored.”
“Not only was I sick with the most bewildering and horrible illness I had ever had in my life, I was also victimized by unfounded prejudice, and on occasion harmful comments,” she said.
McCall has authored a children’s book, “Mama Has Hyperemesis Gravidarum (But Only For A While).” Another book, “The Chronicles of Nausea,” is currently in the works and will be released in Jan. 2013. All proceeds of her books go to helping others suffering from the illness.
Thanks to her personal research and the publication of her book, McCall has been able to connect with other women who have battled similar cases as hers.
“The feedback I received was phenomenal, and I have the priceless gift of having been in the delivery room watching children who were scheduled to be aborted be born instead,” she said.
It’s the painful, poignant stories of women who have suffered through lack of information and social pressures, among other things, that most benefit women and their families today. And as an extension, society.
All the best wishes for health and happiness to Princess Kate and her infant heir. That the royals’ ’tidings of great joy’ went out to all the world at the beginning of Advent is especially rich.