Kate Middleton hasn't had an easy pregnancy, but she knows other parents have it far worse. And as a mother-to-be herself, she wants to help.
After announcing on Dec. 3 that she and husband Prince William, both 30, were expecting their first child, the Duchess quietly reached out to East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), a charity that offers assistance for the loved ones of young people with serious, life-threatening diseases. (Her Royal Highness became a patron of the organization in January 2011.)
Despite being hospitalized at the time with hyperemesis gravidarum -- a rare condition that can cause severe morning sickness, weight loss, dehydration, and fainting -- Middleton managed to donate a baby hamper for EACH's annual charity auction. According to the foundation's website, EACH needs to raise more than 5.75 million pounds in public donations to deliver its services.
"EACH is invaluable to hundreds of families. In the past year there has been an unprecedented amount of care and support delivered to children and young people with life-threatening illnesses, and their families," the mom-to-be says in a statement on the auction's page online.
"I have been fortunate enough to meet some of those who have been supported by EACH, and seen firsthand the positive impact this organization has on their lives," she continues. "For both families accessing care, and those who have been bereaved, EACH is a lifeline at an unimaginably difficult time."
The pregnant Duchess has her own lifelines in her husband and in the couple's families, who supported her through her recent illness and hospitalization.
Since returning home in early December, the first-time mom-to-be has been taking it relatively easy. On Christmas day, she and William skipped Queen Elizabeth's annual gathering at Sandringham in favor of a more low-key celebration with Middleton's parents and siblings in Bucklebury. They later joined the royal family for the traditional Boxing Day festivities on Dec. 26.