There are a few things that are absolutely no one’s business –and birth probably follows firmly under that category. Women (and men–but why?!) have varying opinions on how it should be done, where it should be done and who should be present. I fall firmly in camp You Do You.
However, do I have some thoughts on how Megan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has handled all of the media scrutiny surrounded the birth of her first child yesterday. I relate a lot to Megan: we both love writing (have you seen her calligraphy skills?!), we both go married (for the second time…ahem) to younger men, we both had (reported) plans for a natural birth that didn’t turn out quite the way we wanted it (allegedly). I just realized I am basically qualified for royalty.
Moving on, I love love love how she has handled all of this. While I respect that Kate Middleton has to put on a certain level of pomp and circumstance given that she delivered the heir to the throne, that whole post-birth scenario she had going on (three times!) looked crazy stressful. I think most expected the same from Megan. However, yesterday, rather than exit the hospital to a throng of photographers, they announced she was in labor AFTER the baby was born. I pictured her nuzzled up the baby in the comfort of her bed, loving that no one is doing her hair and makeup.
The Duke and Duchess announced the birth via their personal Instagram, another huge departure from royal tradition. The announcement was simple and honestly, just told the public what they needed to know–he’s here, he’s healthy, and all is well.
Then! Then, the sent Harry out to speak and he was the ACTUAL cutest. I was almost mad that Rob didn’t go stand in front of some horses after I gave birth to tell the world his mind was blown at what an amazing woman I am. I mean, if you didn’t fall madly in love with them as a family after that, check your heart.
They also mentioned that the wouldn’t be showing the baby for two more days–a lifetime in the attention span of the global media. I think this is so important. On a practical level, it gives Megan time to heal, to bond with her sweet baby (please have red hair!) and to present the baby in a way that makes her feel comfortable. Can you imagine teetering in heels while carrying your fresh offspring in front of hundred of strangers? I, for one, barely got in the car without sobbing.
However, what I really love about this is the message it sends to ALL postpartum mothers. I think a lot of us felt pressure to do things a certain way, particularly with our first baby. Megan is using her very big platform to send the message that birth and the time after is a private, sacred time. It’s okay to take some time to heal. It’s okay to say no to visitors. It’s okay to call the shots.
The discussion around pre- and postpartum health, particularly mental health, is broadening and as we continue to encourage women to ask for help, to set boundaries and to do what is best for their families, I commend Megan Markle for doing that from day.