Editor’s Note: Kara Alaimo, an associate professor of public relations at Hofstra University, is the author of “Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication.” She was spokeswoman for international affairs in the Treasury Department during the Obama administration. Follow her on Twitter @karaalaimo. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion at CNN.
On Friday, ITV news released a clip from an upcoming documentary which showed Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding back tears as she acknowledged the challenges she’s faced as a newlywed and mother in the spotlight.
“Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” she said, before confirming, in the words of her interviewer, that she “isn’t really OK.”
The video clearly struck a chord, and the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan began trending on Twitter. As a new mother myself, it was gut wrenching to watch the clip, knowing all too well that many of the challenges the former Meghan Markle faces are totally unfair.
It’s no surprise that Meghan is struggling. Our society’s lack of concern for the well-being of new moms is terribly disturbing — and it’s even worse for her as a royal.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for before I became a mom was how, the second I had a baby, people started infantilizing me by offering unsolicited advice. I can’t wait in line at the supermarket with my daughter without a perfect stranger approaching me to recommend a book about sleep training.
Dealing with family, friends and colleagues is even harder, because these people often feel that it is perfectly appropriate to tell you what kind of child care you should arrange and what you should do with your time. This kind of advice is no doubt well-intentioned, but as a fully functioning adult, I feel demeaned when I’m continually told what to do.
If I am exhausted from constantly deflecting unwanted comments, I can only imagine how depleted Meghan must be, since she must contend with columnists and ordinary people on Twitter dissecting and judging her every move. For example, critics unleashed a torrent of disapproval and blasted Meghan for how she held her own baby when she was photographed at a polo match just two months after giving birth.
It’s no wonder she isn’t OK.
On top of the onslaught of opinions about her role as a mother or her appearance, Meghan must deal with formidable social obligations. This is tough for any new mom, but it must be even worse for her. No matter how many resources you have, it’s nearly impossible to meet your own needs while meeting those of a newborn or infant.