Every Sunday, Marie Antoinette doles out life and love advice on this very site. Due to a holiday backlog, Marie answered a letter Saturday and Sunday this weekend. We’ll resume our regular schedule next week and if you have your own question for the queen, send your letter to whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.
Dear Marie Antoinette,
I am 22 years old and find myself in the family
way. I have terrible morning sickness, that makes it difficult to drag myself out of bed. How did you find the energy when you were pregnant to be queenly and also your many other duties as well?
First off, let me congratulate you on your child. Your queen is thrilled for you and your new addition.
Pregnancy is not always easy. In 1778, pregnant with my own first, I sometimes confined myself to my apartments. I avoided carriages, the balls and took only short walks around the chateau. I barely sat a few moments at a card table, a habit I loved in other days. I thought about my new role and comforted myself with peaceful diversions, such as music and conversation with my dearest friend Madame Polignac. I’d knit and work on my needlepoint. My new past times seemed the most appropriate change for me. As I told my physician, “As God it appears, grants me the grace I have so long desired, I will henceforth live otherwise than I have done hitherto. I will live as a mother. To nourish my child and give my time to his education.”
I did suffer the fatigue and morning sickness of early pregnancy. I simplified my routines, wearing no rouge and only a simple cap instead of my elaborate poufs, focusing on my comfort and my new child’s comfort, not the court’s expectations. I wore looser fitting clothing, even after the baby’s birth, no longer concerned with time-consuming rituals of court dress. This decision came with controversy, but it was no matter. I had more important concerns than tradition.
That would be my best advice to you, to make yourself comfortable however you see fit, and allow others to adapt to you and your schedule and your feelings. Do only what is essential and leave the rest for others who will likely love to help you. Perhaps a loving family member or your baby’s father can bring you a plate of dry toast to ease your stomach before you leave your bed each morning. Ask your doctor for other ways your friends and family can pitch in to help you optimize your rest. Give yourself the room to take care of yourself first and don’t be afraid to ask for allowances from others will likely scramble to accommodate a woman enciente once they realize they have an opportunity to do so.
Whatever you do, know the sickness will eventually pass and with each day you are closer to your beautiful bundle of joy.