Imagine dealing with all of that, in the world’s view, during and shortly after having a baby, the most vulnerable of times for any new mom. Sure, plenty of moms are familiar with scrutiny, judgment and unwelcome advice. The stranger on the street who says your baby’s head is at an odd angle in the stroller. The man who pokes your pregnant belly in the lunch place near work and laughs. The fake-innocent, “Oh, she’s still drinking from a bottle?”
That is surely why this painful interview caused so much of a sisterhood call.
That’s why her pained expression actually brought tears to mere mom mortals. Because we, too, have felt ostracized, judged. Even if we weren’t targeted by racists on top of it all. (Want to lose faith in all humanity? Search “Markle” and “crying” on Twitter. Then again, don’t.)
Mothers are shamed from the very start: for how they act while pregnant, what they eat, how much exercise they get and what they wear. For having a birth plan, for not having a birth plan. For going med-free, for home-birthing. For having C-sections, for having a doula or not having a doula. For not breast-feeding, breast-feeding in public, pumping at work. For being single. For going back to work, not working, for working too soon because there is no paid leave (AHEM), unlike every other industrialized nation in the world.
So when Meghan stopped to consider her words in this interview, and then thanked the interviewer for actually asking if she’s okay, many of us could feel her exhaustion.
All that shaming, all that judging that so many women face as they are going through what is likely the most physically and mentally exhausting time in their lives, even the subtle digs — it’s depleting, at a time in life when depletion is already in full force.
That is why Meghan’s interview hit home with so many people who aren’t called “Duchess” and aren’t in a global spotlight, who aren’t targeted by tabloids and followed by paparazzi.
Because we, too, know what it feels like to be picked apart when all we want is someone to ask if we’re okay.