Becoming a mum for the first time is damn hard, as we all know. And now Duchess Meghan is experiencing all the highs and lows that come with a wee heart-melter (and sanity sapper).
But behind the fascinator veil is a heartbreaking truth, and one that makes her new motherhood journey perhaps even harder than the rest of us have found it.
The things money can’t buy
When Meghan gave up her career and left Toronto for the handsome and cheeky Prince Harry, she didn’t just leave behind her stylish ‘woman of the world’ pad.
She also left her freedom, identity as she knew it, as well as her support network of the people who just got her.
Yes, she gave it all up for love. But when you become a mother, these things matter, especially the last one. So much.
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Happy one year anniversary to Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex! Today marks the one year anniversary of the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their Royal Highnesses exchanged vows at St George’s Chapel within the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th, 2018. The selected song “This Little Light of Mine” was chosen by the couple for their recessional. We hope you enjoy reliving this moment, and seeing some behind the scenes photos from this special day. A message from The Duke & Duchess: Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world. Each of you made this day even more meaningful. Photo credit: Chris Allerton/Joe Short (B&W); PA (color) ©️SussexRoyal (B&W images and video)
Deer in the headlights
I remember when I first brought my bundle of love home from hospital, the immense reality of the responsibility I had just birthed hit home. I didn’t know what I was doing, I mean, how could I? I was new at this motherhood thing, and although some, or a lot, came naturally, I questioned myself every step of the way.
I felt a bit like a deer in the headlights in the early days. But unlike Meghan, I had an army of loved-ones and support around me.
It was a struggle as I found my wobbly new-mum-feet, but with the good friends and family keeping me steady and reminding me that I am the best mum to MY baby, I started walking with confidence. Then, a few months in, I also began really enjoying this new chapter in my life, even though I felt like a zombie.
While The Duchess would have endless paid help on hand (and rumour has it that she and The Duke have enlisted a nanny to help out with baby Archie), the kind of support I’m talking about isn’t something you can buy.
Is she in a mother’s group?
New mum support is not found in the baby books that poor Meghan may be nose deep in. That sort of reading can make you worry and erode what little mum-confidence you have. Same with the midwives who may be on hand to offer her advice that just doesn’t feel right for her.
It also doesn’t come in the form of a housekeeper who will fold Archie’s onesies and place them with precision in his nursery drawer (although how nice would that be?!).
It isn’t Facetime with a mum who is an ocean away (well not enough, anyway).
Or a text sent to a friend who you worry might spill your conversation to the press.
And it isn’t tea with your in-laws who, while welcoming you into the fold, might make you feel small, watched and unsure of how to tread.
And it certainly doesn’t come in the form of the nasty press and world scrutiny about everything you do, your marriage and no doubt soon enough, how you choose to mother.
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Today The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined The Queen and members of The Royal Family at the annual Trooping the Colour, to celebrate Her Majesty’s official birthday. Trooping the Colour orginated from traditional preparations for battle and has commemorated the birthday of the sovereign for more than 250 years. In the 18th century, guards from the royal palaces regularly assembled to “troop" colours or flags down the rank, so they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. In 1748, it was announced this parade would also mark the Sovereign’s official birthday. Trooping the Colour is performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies for The Queen’s birthday parade, allowing them to pay a personal tribute to Her Majesty. Today over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians came together on Horse Guards Parade in London in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare. The parade concludes with a 41-gun salute fired by The King’s Troop, following which The Queen leads members of The Royal Family back to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force flypast display. Photos credit: PA
So how does it come?
The kind of new mum support we actually need when a little person rocks our world (in the best possible way), comes in the form of other new mums who are as baffled, hormonal and tired as we are.
It’s this sort of camaraderie, a ‘we are all in this together’ feeling of unison, that gives you the reassurance that not only are you and your bub doing just fine but every little thing you worry or think about, they are too.
Oh, and they are great for troubleshooting, and also know the best cream to soothe nappy rash.
It also comes in the form of your best friend, willingly and lovingly holding your baby as she coos and smiles to you, letting you drink a cup of tea and moan about how little you have slept and that you feel more sensitive than your cracked nipples.
And it comes in the form of your mum putting you to bed, like she used to when you were her baby, then watching your little love as you nap peacefully knowing he’s in the care of the person you trust more than anyone (apart from perhaps his dad who has gone back to work).
Thankfully, we all know Duchess Meghan has a loving partner in Harry (who clearly adores her!), and here’s hoping she also has her lovely sister-in-law and fellow mum in the trenches Duchess Kate, on speed dial.
But even still, I worry that although she might not BE alone, Meghan might be FEELING alone.
Without the refuge of a weekly mother’s group, the proximity of close friends and even her mum nearby, I wonder if she’s feeling like a fish out of water now she’s a new mum. Because while every mum’s new motherhood journey is rocky, especially at first, we need to feel supported by those who love and know us.
And that is the heartbreaking reality of her new life – that is, until she finds her mum-tribe. Which I really hope is soon.
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Paying tribute to all mothers today – past, present, mothers-to-be, and those lost but forever remembered. We honor and celebrate each and every one of you. Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, Japan, and several countries across Europe. This is the first Mother’s Day for The Duchess of Sussex. Quote from “lands” by @nayyirah.waheed: my mother was my first country; the first place i ever lived. Photo © SussexRoyal