We never expected to see the Duchess of Sussex in sweatpants and a milk-stained pajama top, but when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they would be taking time with their baby before releasing photos, we didn't picture this.
We imagined something more along the lines of a dressed down version of Harry and Meghan's engagement photos—one photographer capturing a family milestone, maybe Meghan and Harry in comfy clothes, cuddling with Baby Sussex inside Frogmore Cottage—but the images we got are much more akin to what happened outside the hospital after the birth of Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.
We knew we wouldn't see the Duchess of Sussex in a completely un-royal way, but we were hoping she would get to be comfortable as she recovers. Thankfully, while these photos look a lot a like Will and Kate's, Meghan was not accosted by a wall of photographers. This was a super quick photo shoot with minimal photographers and reporters present, Harper's Bazaar reports. We were hoping that for her sake and the sake of all the women who can't that she wouldn't have to don pantyhose and heels so soon after giving birth. And we were wrong.
The photos are beautiful. The baby is beautiful and Meghan looks so, so beautiful, but let's remember that birth is beautiful but hard, so hard that most of us are still in top knots and sweats on day two (or even day 20).
When the Duchess and Duke of Sussex announced their plans for a private birth and delayed photographs we thought we might get a more candid look at their reality. But then again, when you're a royal, this is what reality looks like. New moms are under a ton of pressure, but Meghan is under a unique kind of pressure.
A lot of people wanted a photo that showed how the royals are like us, but when it comes to post-birth photo shoots the royals are not like us, and more importantly, we should not try to be like them. At two days postpartum most women are still bleeding and hurting.
Meghan may have felt like it was her responsibility to do a photoshoot so soon, but it's okay if you're not ready for heels yet, mama. And it's okay if Meghan took them off the moment the cameras were gone, too.
[A version of this post was published earlier on May 8. It has been updated.]
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