With the world’s eyes on her as she debuted her new son, Meghan Markle stood proudly in a white trench coat dress. She’s standing there, all glowy and smiley, actually looking like she had a baby. You guys, that’s awesome.
When I was having contractions and we were pretty sure I was in labor, I actually put makeup on my face. After that, I threw my curling wand (A CURLING WAND, PEOPLE!) into my hospital bag and told Jeff now I was ready to go. Now that I had added some winged eyeliner and mascara to my face and my hair was just so and I packed my well-planned post-baby outfits, it was time to have this baby.
Oooh, boy, I was a dumbass. 🤦🏻♀️ Yikes. 😬
Well, not actually a dumbass, right? Like, I’d never given birth before, so what did I know of this? And while I had read a lot of stuff online about having a baby and I went to several birth classes presented by the hospital prior to Sam’s arrival, I just was not prepared for reality, apparently. I had been on all kinds of websites and blogs where other moms talked about their experience and what they packed in their hospital bags and what it was like, but, come on, that is not real life. That is the Instagram version of reality, and we all know what that means – bullshit.
So that hospital bag I packed with my makeup and heat-styling tools and these cute nursing nightgowns I’d ordered online? Nope. The only time I touched any of that stuff was weeks later when I was actually unpacking that hospital bag. Those attractive Mama & Baby photos that some people can manage to post on social media where the mom has this dewy glow about her, and she looks tired but her skin is still clear, and her hair is a little messed up but it still looks good? Yeah, that didn’t happen for me. You know why? Because I was the VIP passenger on the Hot Mess Express. Oh, that’s a surprise? Why would that be? Because my labor lasted 55 hours and by the time it was done, I’d had my body cut open in order to welcome my son into this world and OH YEAH, I WAS SO TIRED AND BLEEDING AND ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS SLEEP FOR FOREVER. Oh, and, you know, see my new baby. But, like, photos? Yeah, that wasn’t happening.
So, when I think about how Meghan Markle had to stand up in front of a wall of photographers in that white dress and smile like she didn’t just give birth and bring a new life into this world, I start to feel a little bit incensed.
Now, just to get the obvious out of the way: yes, I’m aware that she “asked for it” when she decided to become a famous actress and even more so when she decided to marry into the British Royal Family. I get it. I understand that argument. However, I’m going to argue back that she’s a person. And I swear that if I hear or see one person say anything negative about how she looks in her I Just Gave Birth And Now I’m Standing Here For A Freaking Promotional Photo photo, I’m going to straight up lose my mind.
Let’s compare, shall we?
So, let’s just be kind and remember that I am not famous, and I do not have a glam squad, just for starters. Second, let’s also remember that post-baby bodies are beautiful, regardless of what size you are before and after you were pregnant and when you had your baby. You know why? Because you made a tiny human. That’s a friggin’ miracle. And finally, let’s just make it known that there isn’t a woman on Earth who deserves to read or hear mean things said about her body (from herself or anyone else), especially after it created life.
With that stuff out of the way, I’d just like to point out that I so appreciate that Meghan did not do her photo the same day that the baby was born. And I would just like to say that it appears to me, by her choice of dress, that she’s unapologetic about her body in its current form, which I think is just so powerful. More often than not, I feel like what we see of women after they have a baby is them trying to hide their perfectly normal postpartum bodies or apologizing for their perfectly normal postpartum bodies or talking about how they’re going to try to get rid of their perfectly normal postpartum bodies. She’s standing there, all glowy and smiley, actually looking like she had a baby. You guys, that’s awesome.
Our newborn photos were taken 8 days after Sam was born. I was still so puffy that my wedding ring still wouldn’t fit on my finger and I cried before and after our photoshoot was done. I was embarrassed about my body and worried that I would look back on these photos and feel awful because I felt awful about myself. I hated all of my clothes and was so, so upset that I was wearing gross, fake underwear from the hospital and bleeding like I’ve never bled before. Additionally, I was not sleeping, and I was crying most of the day, every day. I wanted to be so, so happy, especially since I had been excited when I scheduled and planned on doing this and because I finally had this little boy who I had prayed for and made from scratch, but I was so not. Postpartum depression and anxiety is real, y’all. Although, that’s a story for another day.
I just can’t handle people minimizing what it means for her to be standing there for this photo for the world. I mean, seriously, she just had a baby. JUST. HAD. A. BABY. Guys. That is unreal. I took shitty photos with my iPhone and ugly selfies or flat out avoided mirrors and cameras altogether days after, and Jeff took this horrendous photo of me on the operating table (yay, memories! Barf.) that I still will show no one. And then 8 days later, I paid someone actual money who takes pictures for a living to come into my home to take photos of us for me, my family, and those of my Facebook friends who actually care about stuff I put on the internet, basically. Not THE WORLD. And I was a wreck about it: my body still hurt and bled from the battlefield of giving birth and bringing new life into this world. I was sleep deprived. I was still reeling that the hospital just allows you to leave with this tiny human and basically says “good luck to you” and life goes on. Those first few hours/days/weeks/months after you have a baby are pure survival. At least, that’s how it felt for me. It was a shitshow, to say the very least.
So, all that to say when I saw the photo of Meghan Markle with Prince Harry and new baby Archie Harrison (btw – she totally copied me by making Harrison her baby’s middle name. 💁🏻Twinsies!), I just didn’t want to be disappointed with humanity, because what I see when I look at that photo of her is a warrior. What I see when I look at her standing there, in that white dress that does not hide the fact that her baby belly hasn’t gone away, is truth and strength. What I see when I look at that photo is a new appreciation for womanhood and an understanding of perspective I didn’t have before I became a mama.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think we need to remember to be kind. And I’m saying “we” in the broadest sense of the word – we as people, as women, as mamas. Everyone needs to be kind, kind to ourselves and kind to others.
But you know who can go right to H-E-double-hockey-sticks? Piers Morgan. When is he going to go away? What a dick.