She’s been scrutinized at every turn, from her wedding, New York City baby shower, and cradling her baby bump, to her fashion choices and travel. She’s allegedly been dubbed “Duchess Difficult” and U.K. media have called her “Me-Me-Meghan” and described her as “straight outta Compton.”
It’s gotten to the point that Meghan is suing the British newspaper the Mail On Sunday for its “ruthless” coverage of her and for publishing a private letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. Harry is also suing the owners of the British tabloids the Sun and Mirror for alleged phone hacking.
We’ve all watched this unfold. But has anyone asked Meghan, a new mom, if she’s OK and how she’s coping? Not really, she revealed in an emotional interview released Friday.
“Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” the duchess told journalist Tom Bradby in an ITV News clip from their upcoming documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.”
At the beginning of the clip, as Bradby asks about the impact the intense media spotlight has had on her physical and mental health, Meghan needed a few seconds to compose herself before answering.
“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, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot,” she said.
“So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. It’s um…yeah.”
At the end of the clip, Bradby asks if it would be fair to say that Meghan is “not really OK? As in, it’s really been a struggle?”
“Yes,” Meghan responded quietly.
As she answered, the duchess appeared to be blinking back tears. And her vulnerability has tugged at the public’s heartstrings, even generating a #WeLoveYouMeghan hashtag on social media.
Why Meghan needs support, not criticism
Experts agree that social support is critical for the mental health of new moms. Studies have shown that social support can decrease the likelihood of postpartum depression, a serious condition that affects as many as 1 in 4 new mothers.
“Bringing a new baby into the family can be challenging at the best of times, both physically and emotionally,” the Canadian Mental Health Association notes on its website.
“It wasn’t that long ago that I was a new mom, and I certainly will never forget the postpartum depression. Can’t imagine having to live under royal and public scrutiny on top of all the responsibilities,” one woman wrote on Twitter in response to Meghan’s interview.
Prince Harry is worried, too
In clips from the same documentary, Prince Harry talked about how being followed by the media is a constant reminder of his mother’s death. Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.
“I think being part of this family, and this role, and this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” Harry told Bradby.
“In that respect ... it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.”
Earlier, in a statement regarding Meghan’s lawsuit, Harry vilified the press for its treatment of his wife.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he wrote.
“We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”
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