May I call you Meghan? I feel I can because I have followed you since I first watched you in Suits. I might have even done a proper high five into the air when you told Mike exactly how things worked in the officers of Spector Litt (or whichever incarnation of the name was on the door when the series started. There have been so many changes, and it was so long ago I can no longer remember).
That all feels like a long time ago now though as Harvey’s loss has been the UK’s gain now. You have now become one of us, an honorary Brit and we really couldn’t love you any more. Or feel we can offer you some advice now you are a new mum. Congratulations by the way.
As a mum of three, the first two delivered when I was also living in a country I hadn’t got used to calling home (in my case Saudi Arabia, you think you have rules to live by now, you aint seen nothing compared to that country), I feel I might be able to pass on a bit of advice.
Don’t listen to anybody else’s rules
For you and Harry, this is your baby and yours alone. As I am sure you have come to realise in the past year or so you are being bombarded with rules and guidelines on how to do things all the time. Being a mum though is different, this isnt about The Firm or tradition, this is about the three of you. What you two say on how your son grows up is up to you.
So when well meaning, and well placed, people start telling you that you need to have the cot in a separate room / in your room / to co-sleep you may respectfully tell them to sod off. Where your baby sleeps is up to the two of you.
Ditto feeding. Routinely every four hours / on demand it is no-one’s business. Dummy / no dummy; entirely up to you. Leave them to cry / pounce the second they snuffle. Don’t listen to anybody telling you how to do any of these things.
I don’t know why people feel the need to tell new parents how they did things, I guess they think they are being helpful but unless help is asked for, it is generally best to keep it to yourself.
Sleep when the baby sleeps
I do remember an Irish nurse telling me this when I had my first child 25 years ago. I was still in hospital then but she was very firm about adopting this routine when I got home. There can be a tendency to “just do this” as your new baby naps but she implored me to ignore that and to catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation is a killer and so to be able to get into the habit of napping with a napping baby can really make a difference.
Be strict with visitors
In the first few days, as I suspect is already happening, there is no problem with you saying no to family and friends who insist on calling round / dropping in or wanting to say hello. You do have the added luxury of a security team who can keep people at bay (and I had 3000 miles separating me from my friends and family so it was a tad easier) so make the most of it. But don’t be afraid to say no to even those on the inside of the security cordone. They might be senior royals but you need time to rest and bond and as the majority of them are already parents themselves they will, undoubtedly understand, even if they are Queen.
Buy a clock
Not so you can check the time, in fact face it away from you so you can’t see the time (especially useful if you it is likely to be in your line of sight at 3am), but one that ticks loudly. As annoying as it can be for us it can be very comforting for a new baby. It can be reminiscent of your heart beat and will soothe a restful baby.
Whilst your mum is here (and long may she be in the UK) make the most of her. I think it is really easy for us to focus on being mum and it becoming overwhelming, suddenly it is all we are (I don’t mean that in a negative way but I mean in an “it’s all that matters now” way) and we can very quickly lose our own identity. Maybe not this week, but in the next month or two see if you can find a small window to go for a walk with Harry, maybe even lunch, just the two of you. Or nip out to the shops on your own, go for a manicure. It sounds superficial but having granny there (and also dad Harry of course) is something you should totally make the most of when you feel up to it.
Know that PND doesn’t care who you are
After having a baby anyone can get the baby blues, or post natal depression. It doesnt matter what planning you have done, your age, your work history, or the family you have married into. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge if this is happening to you, Meghan. There is still such a huge stigma attached to any mental illness that we need to keep talking about PND and any other illness.
In 18 months or so when people start saying “about time for baby number two” or when journalists start speculating, punch them in the face. It’s a little known English law that many people have forgotten about that allows face punching for people who ask questions about things that are rude, intrusive and just none of their business*.
Lots of Love
Photo courtesy of Unsplash