The moment she announced her pregnancy, the speculation about Meghan Markle's birth plan began. Would she deviate from recent royal tradition and ditch the Lindo Wing for a more private birth? Or would the Duchess of Sussex appear on the steps of St. Mary's with a fresh blowout, a newborn in her arms and heels on her feet?
On Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided "to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."
A mother-to-be should be empowered and supported to make her own choices during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
Just because Meghan Markle's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband's late mother, Princess Diana, both made swift public appearances outside the hospital following the birth of each of their children doesn't mean that Meghan should. The Duchess of Sussex has always made it clear that she is a feminist, and nothing is more feminist than a mama doing what works best for her and her baby, even if that means forcing others to rethink their expectations about a birth that isn't theirs.
By eschewing the (rather recent) tradition of public postpartum photo-ops in favor of doing what works for her, the Duchess is sending a message to pregnant women all over the world: You're in charge here, mama. You don't owe anyone an invitation to your birth, and you don't owe anyone a performance of postpartum perfection.
You matter. Your baby and your partner (if you have one) matter. Everyone else can wait!
We respect that Meghan and Harry want to bond with their baby in private before introducing them to the world and that the first picture of the royal baby likely won't come from a swarm of paparazzi cameras, but from the couple's own Instagram account.
New mama, new era
Just over a week ago, Harry and Meghan launched their Instagram account @sussexroyal, which broke world records by attracting over a million followers in a matter of hours, and soon surpassed four million. Given Thursday's announcement from the palace, royal reporters and commenters believe the public's first glimpse of the newest royal baby will come from that account.
That honestly seems like a great plan. Standing on the steps of the Lindo Wing before countless cameras was the choice the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made in part because their firstborn may one day be King, but getting glam and making a public appearance only hours after birth isn't for everyone (as the backlash to each of the Cambridge post-birth photo ops demonstrates).
As many mothers can attest, the hours and days after birth can be beautiful but grueling, and many would choose to be as low-key as possible during that time. For the Duchess of Sussex, spending time with her child and partner in private, and then having one photographer take a photo sounds like it would be much less stressful than a Lindo Wing photo-op, both physically and emotionally.
Markle is the most famous new mom in the world at the moment, but that doesn't mean that she's not entitled to some boundaries.
As Royal Commentator Victoria Arbiter noted on Twitter, "There is obviously massive global interest in the Sussex Family but this baby will be 7th in line and unlikely to be an HRH [His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness]. Harry & Meghan are establishing their intent to keep their baby's life as private as possible from day one."
We look forward to getting the news about the royal baby's birth when their mama decides we should.