Mother and Baby

Can we please stop mum-shaming Meghan Markle?

Section: Celebrity Mums

Friends, there’s no two ways about it; the mum-shaming of Meghan Markle needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.

She may be a Duchess. She may be married to a prince, our own prince Harry, son of our beloved Diana, who we’ve watched grow up from a baby into the loving family man he is today. She may be a public figure, a celebrity and a Hollywood star, but Meghan Markle is also a mother—and a new mother at that—and she deserves some slack.

We’re all free to like and dislike whoever we wish, but what is not acceptable, however, is the mum-shaming she is constantly subjected to. It’s petty, hurtful, unnecessary and categorically inhumane.

First she was caressing her baby bump “too much” when she was pregnant (that’s not even a thing; you cannot physically stroke a baby bump too much).

Next, she was holding her baby awkwardly at the King Power Royal Charity polo match, and now, while walking her dogs in the countryside, with a massive beaming smile on her face and her child sleeping soundly against her, instead of viewing a happy woman embarking on a new life with her little family and seemingly being ecstatic about it, people saw a bad mother.

“Please someone show Meghan how a baby carrier is used correctly before poor little Archie drops out,” “Archie looks uncomfortable,” “Wtf is going on with the baby carrier? Poor baby,” and many other similar comments from people who feel that they are—or would be—perfect parents, but in reality, are just people who should be shutting their traps and minding their business.

Call her difficult for daring to request air fresheners in the church at her wedding. Say she’s a snob because she wanted to spend Christmas with her mum in the USA. Say what you like about how much she spends on her outfits if you must, but leave her parenting style out of it. Mum-shaming is harmful and off-limits.

In case anyone needs convincing that we need to back off, here are eight reasons to stop mum-shaming Meghan Markle immediately.

1) Meghan Markle is a new mum

No matter how much money and how much help you have at home, there’s no one you can hire to take on all the postpartum emotions for you. You are the one who has to suffer through the aftermath of pregnancy and birth, baby blues, postpartum depression, sleepless nights, exhaustion, the newfound raging anxiety for your child’s wellbeing, the constant guilt of whether you are a good enough mother or if you’re doing things right, and a million other things new mums have to face. Add to that the hideous things said and written degrading, belittling, and humiliating her… It could get anyone feeling pretty darn miserable.

2) Meghan Markle is a woman

Off the top of your head, name the last time you saw anything in the media about a man’s general parenting skills, including, but not limited to, the way he was carrying his child. We’ll wait. You can’t, can you? That’s because dad-shaming is not really a thing, as John Legend kindly brought to our attention when Chrissy Teigen was mum-shamed for going out to dinner almost a month after giving birth. This kind of thing is very rare for men to have to face (perhaps even non-existent), but women are exposed to it every day. Eliminating mum-shaming is one small step towards equality.

 

3) Meghan Markle is a human being

Imagine having cameras on you every single time you stepped out of the house, inspecting your every move, willing you to make something that remotely resembles a blunder so that it can be inflated and made to look as bad as possible for the whole world to see. Not a lot of people would be able to hack that dismal and soul-crushing way of life.

The argument, “It was her choice to be in the public eye, she should expect being subjected to scrutiny as it comes with the job…” doesn’t fly in this case and here’s why: This is not, for example, the Kardashians who have opened their homes to the whole planet, letting them in on every single detail of their lives, including what kind of toilet paper they have and why Kim doesn’t like the black TP because she likes to see what she’s wiping.

Reality stars aside, people who are famous should expect to be dissected, but for their profession, not their private lives.

A politician can anticipate scrutiny about their policies, an actor about their acting, a singer about their music, a writer about their writing, but since when is someone’s parenting skills up for grabs? We’re not talking major neglect and abuse here; this is about the way Archie was slightly slouched off to the side in his carrier while sleeping snuggly—and we imagine extremely contentedly—on his loving mother’s chest.

We understand that celebrities sometimes don’t feel like real people, which makes it easy to verbally attack them, but the same people doing the attacking wouldn’t dare talk to anyone like that in real life, because it’s unkind and inhumane. While most of us are not in the public eye, strangers on all corners of the planet may have a window into our private lives thanks to social media. If one of these people comments publically and hurtfully on our parenting style, no matter how zero-forks-given we like to think we are, that shirt’s going to get under our skin.

4) Meghan Markle is a philanthropist

Even before Meghan met Harry, in addition to being an actor, she was an avid philanthropist and advocate for issues such gender equality, social justice, clean water, and women’s rights.

She travelled to many countries with several charities for these causes, but despite all of this, it’s still easier for people to think that she has a hidden evil agenda than to see her, quite simply, as just a nice person who wants to do good. We need more philanthropists in the world like Meghan. We should be lifting her up and encouraging her to continue making a difference, not tearing her down and hitting her where it hurts—her parenting style.

If her goal was solely to get into the Royal Family by marrying the sixth in line to the throne, wouldn’t she have fought tooth and nail to keep her HRH title?

Wouldn’t she want her son to be referred to as Prince Archie? In contrast, the Sussexes left the royal fold to be an independent family who will continue in their humanitarian endeavours but without taxpayer’s money, even repaying the sum that was used to renovate their home. Even though they’ve stated that they plan on splitting their time between Canada and England and continue many of their humanitarian endeavours in the UK, troll city has regarded this as selfish, disrespectful, and that Meghan forced Harry— a grown man who can make his own decisions—to abandon his country and family.

5) Meghan Markle has made it clear that she is not okay

Since when is it acceptable to kick someone when they are down? We’re not talking about a criminal here; as previously mentioned, she is just a woman, a wife, a mother, and a philanthropist who appeared on national television saying that the relentless negativity is getting her down. In the documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, when asked by the reporter if it would be fair to say that she’s not really okay, as in it’s really been a struggle, she answered emotionally, albeit matter-of-factly, “Yes.”

We’re always encouraging people to be vocal and honest about mental health issues and Meghan Markle did exactly this. She spoke up as a new mother and as a human to tell us all that she is not okay, and yet, instead of seeing a decrease in the negativity hurled towards her, it was ramped up threefold with people accusing her of being a “good actress” and “throwing herself a pity party.”

6) Meghan Markle is Archie’s Mum

via GIPHY

Unless some awesome new law is enforced where mean articles can be forever deleted from the internet, unfortunately, all the cruel and ridiculous things that have already been written about Meghan Markle in the short time that she has been a member of the Royal Family will be available for Archie to see when he’s old enough to read. Harry and William went through it with their own mother and have been open about how damaging it was. No child deserves that. Can’t we at least learn from previous mistakes?

7) Meghan Markle is a beacon for new mums everywhere

As mentioned multiple times (it warrants several mentions), new mums have it hard, and so seeing another fellow new mother being ostracized for a minimal parenting mishap—if you can even call it that—makes us wonder how we ourselves are viewed as mothers. Are people looking at us thinking that we are holding our child incorrectly? Are they judging our parenting method? Are they telling people behind our backs that we are doing it all wrong? Are we, in fact, doing it all wrong? Are we good enough for our kids?

If a mother like Meghan, a clearly hands-on and very loving parent who is financially able to have all the help she could possibly need, still can’t get it right according to the media, then what hope is there for the rest of us? The obvious solution would be to not give two hoots about what people think and say, but it’s hard not to care when the subject in question is the most important thing in the world to you: how good you are for your child. The new mum struggle is real.

8. Newsflash: Bullying is démodé; kindness is in, folks

 

Dear bullies: What has Meghan Markle ever done to you? Did she marry your Princy Wincy? Face it: Harry loves her, and even the queen said that she is “particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.” Why are you hell-bent on finding the hidden negative meaning behind it all? Let it go, already!

The year is 2020, people. Bullying is supposed to be over, but no matter what the Sussexes seem to do, people have something deleterious to say about them. For instance, most of us love vouching for our friends and loved ones and plugging them when the opportunity arises, but why was it so wrong for Harry to do so at The Lion King premiere? Well, we know why. “Harry Cutely Asks Disney Exec to Fulfil Meghan’s Dream of Voicing Character,” doesn’t sell as well as “UK Prince Desperately and Embarrassingly Begs for Job for Wife”.

Looks like the tabloids and trolls aren’t going to stop this hideousness anytime soon, so what we can do in the meantime when stumbling upon these headlines is change them to sound kinder and more humane.

Instead of “Meghan, Stripped of Title, Haphazardly Carries Her Child on Dog Walk,” we’ll go with “New Mother Meghan Markle Looks Stunning, Free, and Happy on a Winter’s Walk with her Baby and Dogs,” because, after all, we are human, kind is the new cool, and with the myriad of problems we have to face on the regs, us ladies need to stick together.

 
  • Author: Kat de Naoum Kat de Naoum
  • Job Title: Freelance Writer

Kat is a freelance writer based in the UK and Greece. She has written for many publications, and, as an advocate for female empowerment, loves to write about women’s issues, and helping fellow mothers feel supported and less alone.

She has birthed one child and written two books. She can read and write and tends to spend most of her (non-parenting) time doing that, as well as taking care of her several pets.

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