I've always loved the royal family.
I grew up idolizing Princess Diana, not just because she was a princess, but because she carried herself with such grace through adversity. I loved her because despite being a princess, she cared about and devoted herself to others who would never a fraction of the life that she held. I was devastated when she died; I still have the newspaper from the morning of her passing. I spent the rest of my youth crushing on the princes, first William and then Harry. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I still love Harry. His wild side combined with his kind heart are enough to make most women my age still swoon.
And then there came Kate: a reminder for so many of us of a young Diana. I cried when I watched her, with such innocence and poise, recite her vows in front of millions, wearing Diana's ring.
Yet, despite all of this, I couldn't find myself as attached to the coverage about the royal baby. Sure, I was happy for them - as happy as someone can be for a couple that she doesn't know personally. I wanted the baby to be healthy, of course. Yet, I felt overwhelmed at the 24/7 coverage, and I couldn't pinpoint why. Did it have something to do with infertility? Was it because I couldn't get pregnant? It certainly didn't have to do with the royal family or Kate herself. I'd loved and followed them for years. Why, all of the sudden, did I feel so uncomfortable with watching the updates on the newest member of the family's newest?
It took some time, but I slowly pieced my thoughts together. The lightbulb clicked on yesterday as I watched a short documentary on the DRC, and then turned on the television to see cameras on every news station fixed on a hospital door - waiting for a glimpse of the young prince.
What if we devoted this much to causes that matter?
All of the time, energy, and press: what if we divided that up and used that as a chance to shed some light on causes that need our attention?
Don't get me wrong. I understand those who see the royal birth as a way of escaping some of the horrible news we've seen in recent months. Mass killings, terrorism, the economy. It's not your fault that you've been sucked in. The media created and fed the frenzy. They've had correspondents camped out in London for weeks, watching and waiting to see when this baby would arrive. They've analyzed everything from name possibilities to the details of the baby's christening. It's hard to pull yourself away when the news stations practically drive their broadcast vans into the hospital room and invite themselves to the delivery.
Sadly, not everyone is as aware as you are. Others see what's broadcast on the nightly news, and that's the extent of their world exposure. They don't know that there are millions of children in the foster care system who don't have families to go home to each night. They aren't knowledgeable about infertility and how there are over 7 million people who don't think that the birth of a child is "ordinary." They don't read or hear about the changing adoption laws that may leave orphans in other countries and waiting families here in the United States hanging in the balance.
What's strangely ironic is how Diana spent years championing causes that, at the time, many others didn't think to touch. She shed light on AIDS and leprosy, and helped change the lives of millions of children affected by land mines. If anything, her spirit should be a reminder of what the media could do with its power. She should serve as an example of what all of us can do when we care enough about a cause.
Instead, the media will continue its quest for the perfect photograph or the inside scoop. And they will never stop, because we continue to watch. For not even Diana's death could get them to change the way they see the world - and themselves.