News of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy has generated an enormous amount of media attention and public interest around the globe, prompting those less enthusiastic to roll their eyes and say, “So what?” Pregnancy, after all, is hardly an uncommon occurrence and it’s not as though the news came as a surprise from the royals.
But as Time magazine points out, everyday moms and expectant parents may be able to relate to the royal fetus frenzy. Pregnant women often experience a flurry of attention from those around them (albeit to a lesser extent than the Duchess), ranging from strangers’ inquiries about due dates to unsolicited advice.
The reason why we tend to go gaga over birth and babies – even when they’re not our own – is because humans have evolved to do so, according to Cornell University anthropology professor Meredith Small.
“Emotionally, psychologically, we are evolutionarily designed to respond to the look and feel of babies, and hearing about them,” Small, who is also the author of Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, told Time. “It’s so ingrained in our genes that it’s automatic.”
Since babies are so dependent and vulnerable, they need the help of others (preferably many others) to survive, she said.
And there’s no need to hold back on the enthusiasm either. Experts say it’s impossible for babies to receive too much attention, although trespassing the boundaries of privacy is ill-advised. (That means no impersonating the Queen to obtain medical information, nor, when it comes to everyday moms, touching pregnant bellies without asking for permission.