Kensington Palace confirmed the happy news on Monday morning. But that doesn’t validate months of speculation about the Duchess of Sussex’s fertility
As soon as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married earlier this year, the tabloids began frenziedly speculating about whether she was pregnant or trying for a baby. This feverish guesswork was always supremely tiresome – as though the only interesting thing about the Duchess of Sussex was her fertility. No matter that she was working with the women of Grenfell Tower, or speaking out about #MeToo and Time’s Up: all anyone really cared about was whether or not she was pregnant.
But while unsubstantiated pregnancy rumours are tedious, confirmed pregnancy news is a joy. On the morning of 15 October, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019,” stated the official Kensington Palace Twitter account.
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
News of the royal baby quickly began trending on Twitter, with tens of thousands of people responding excitedly to the announcement. But it’s important to note that months of speculation about the state of Meghan’s womb have not been validated simply because she has now confirmed her pregnancy.
Publicly wondering whether a woman is pregnant or trying for a baby is never OK. As a high-profile member of the royal family, Meghan has faced more intense pressure to conceive than most – but ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether a woman is the Duchess of Sussex, a relative or a friend. Unless a woman decides that she wants to share her story, it is emphatically none of our business.
Maybe she doesn’t want to have children at all, and feels frustrated and angry when people assume she does. Maybe she and her partner are struggling to conceive, and every time someone asks when they’re going to start trying for a baby, it’s like a slap in the face. Maybe she’s experienced several miscarriages in the past, and doesn’t want to discuss her pregnancy until she feels certain that this baby will survive. Or maybe she’s just not ready for kids yet.
The fact is that the subjects of fertility, pregnancy and motherhood are deeply personal – and unless a woman has chosen to speak to us directly, we cannot assume knowledge about her situation. Yet for some reason, the world at large still treats women’s fertility as fair game for conversation in the office, at family parties, on social media and in the press.
So congratulations to Meghan and Harry, because news that a wanted child is on its way into the world is a wonderful thing. But let this be a reminder to us all: it’s only OK to discuss a woman’s womb when she starts the conversation herself.
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