This Is How Meghan Markle’s Confession Inspires New Moms To Be Honest About Their Struggles

We are all unsure of ourselves after the birth of our first child. Making the right choices, using the right products, and raising our children correctly (according to society's standards, of course), new mothers worry that they are not doing a good job.

Now imagine that stress, but living it out in the VERY public eye, where you are openly criticized and judged for practically everything that you do, especially your mothering. Hard to imagine for most, but that’s the life that Meghan Markle has been living since becoming the Duchess of Sussex.

You’ve probably seen her most recent interview for a documentary on a recent trip to Africa with Prince Harry. The documentary gives a behind the scenes look at the royal couple as they journey to Southern Africa. The reporter, Tom Bradby, interviews Meghan, asking her how she’s dealing with new motherhood in the public eye. If you saw the interview, your heart probably broke as she answered his questions extremely candidly, carefully formulating her words to best describe how she honestly has been. 

She replied, "Look any woman especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging, and then when you have a newborn ... And especially as a woman, it's really, it's a lot. So, you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed."

Could you even imagine the pressure she’s under? She’s been scrutinized by the media since her engagement to Prince Harry. Now she is a new mom and every “all-knowing” member of the media knows she’s doing it wrong and isn’t afraid to announce it. From the way she’s holding her baby to her postpartum body, it is no wonder when Bradby asks if what she’s saying means she’s not okay that she very bluntly answers, “Yes.”

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Now most of us new mothers don’t have to deal with the press on a daily basis. But there are still societal pressures that can steal the joy out of being a new mom. We are attacked by all the “shoulds” and the “supposed to's” brought on by other judging mothers, family and friends, and people that we reach out for support in mother’s group. Everyone seems to know better than we do about how to parent our children. It’s no wonder so many women are not okay and that 1 in 7 new mothers experience postpartum depression.

According to a recent study, a whopping 70% of new mothers feel pressure to raise their children in a certain way. Most of them feel guilt and shame on how it is actually playing out in reality. We put enough pressure on ourselves to become the perfect parent and then add in all the judgment from strangers on the internet and family and friends and you can almost feel the crippling pressure that new moms are under.

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In a recent Time Magazine article, Claire Howorth describes how intense the pressures of motherhood have evolved into what they are today, saying, “Motherhood and mothering have never been easy, of course, but a lot of the pressures are new and growing more suffuse every day. As I headed down the road of motherhood myself, I was struck by how much information I myself sought from the internet—and how often it was conflicting or simply wrong—and what images I absorbed of ‘good’ mothers.”

In my own experience, I’ve never experienced pressure quite like the one that I felt as a new mother. Up at all hours nursing, I googled every worry that came to mind, ensuring that everything that was happening was normal and that I was doing it right. I spent hours in new mother Facebook groups reading the questions and the answers which ranged from super supportive to extremely judgmental. There was a plethora of conflicting information that would lead any mother to be completely overwhelmed by the data. Many of the mom groups had strict rules about what they could and could not talk about, mostly because some aspects of motherhood were triggering and volatile issues (like vaccines or breastfeeding vs formula feeding).

I spent too much time cruising through my Instagram feed, looking at all the perfectly curated photography and seemingly perfect parents. Most of my thoughts aligned with other mothers' thoughts, “Why can’t I be more put together like her?” I reviewed posts by my best friends, wondering why I couldn't get myself together or why I wasn’t the Pinterest mom they were. I listened to other people’s opinions about what to do with my newborn and felt like I was being attacked when I couldn’t do that right.

It is horrible what we do to ourselves in an effort to be perceived as a “good mother.” We are careful not to reveal too much and show only our wins even if our losses occur more often. Maybe we can be like Meghan and be more honest about what new motherhood is like. What if instead of hiding it, we talked about the pressures that we face as a new mom? 

I know that when I have been with other mom friends that as soon as the confessions start pouring out (and they always do), we find that we are all struggling in some way. Even those armchair experts and Instagram influencers struggle- I promise. Being that most mothers believe that this is the hardest job they’ve ever done, the struggle is real. So many of us need to be more honest about how we feel and normalize that.

Meghan Markle’s public confession needs to inspire us to be open and honest. Her confession started the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan to let her know she is being heard and make her feel more supported. I propose a new hashtag, #BeLikeMeghan, in hopes that we can all find the same courage to let the world know that us mothers need more positive support. That we struggle but we still strive for perfection and we don’t need the extra societal pressures. So, go out and express how new motherhood has made you feel, #BeLikeMeghan.

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