Meghan has opened up about being ‘overwhelmed’ by Lilbet’s birth

As she calls for paid parental leave to become a national right in the US.

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: GC Images)

As she calls for paid parental leave to become a national right in the US.

Meghan Markle has opened up about her personal struggles with her second child, Lilibet Diana.

Making a public call for paid paternity leave, she asked politicians in the US to make it a national right.

Speaking out "as a mom", she shared that she wanted more mothers and fathers to be able to take time off after giving birth, both to recover and spend time with their baby.

The Duchess of Sussex said that her and husband Harry felt "overwhelmed" after Lilibet was born earlier this year.

Their charity, Archewell, enabled them to take 20 weeks off as part of their maternity policy.

Following this privilege, Meghan is campaigning for all parents across the US to be able to do the same.

The US is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't guarantee maternity or paternity pay, or paid sick leave.

Penning an open letter addressed to House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, she wrote "on behalf of millions of Americans." This comes at the same time as a legislation is attempting to be passed to grant most workers 12 weeks of paid family and sick leave.

The letter was written on official paper, bearing both Meghan and Harry's titles and an official header, and comes the same week as the Queen has had to pull out of a two-day trip to Northern Ireland.

She started by reflecting on her own childhood, where her Dad worked as a Hollywood lighting director and her mother a make up artist.

Meghan said: "I grew up on the 4.99-dollar salad bar at Sizzler – it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember) – but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky."

"I worked all my life and saved when and where I could – but even that was a luxury – because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car."

She continued on to discuss that, even despite their time off, both her and Harry have been left feeling "overwhelmed" as parents. They realised that the length of their break was a luxury, but urged that no parent should have to choose between looking after their little one and being able to put food on the table.

She wrote: "In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child."

"Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed."

"Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work."

"We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family."

"We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day."

"No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan)."

Signing off the letter as "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex," she urged politicians to "create a new era of family-first policies" and to put "families about politics", further stressing that this was a simple case of "right [from] wrong."

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.