Meghan Markle Clarifies Her Famous 'Not Okay' Comment: As a Breastfeeding New Mom, 'I Was Exhausted'
Speaking on the Teenager Therapy podcast — hosted by five seniors at an Anaheim, California high school — in her joint podcasting debut with Prince Harry on Saturday, the Duchess of Sussex explained that when she was asked by ITV journalist Tom Bradby how she was doing, she was struggling more than the public realized.
"I was tired," she said of the interview, which took place during the couple's tour of South Africa. "I was just about to give Archie a bath. I was exhausted."
“She was still breastfeeding at the time,” Harry added, as Megan explained that although most people weren’t aware of it, “between every official engagement I was running back to make sure our son was fed.”
Meghan — who wore a t-shirt honoring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a mask with the words "When There Are Nine," the justice's iconic response to the question of when the Supreme Court would have enough women — went on to share that the answer she gave about not being "okay" was an off-the-cuff response.
"I didn’t think about that answer. I just answered honestly,” she said. “I was in a moment of vulnerability, because I was tired, because there was no presentation. It was just, here’s where I am: I’m a mom with a four-and-a-half month-old baby and we are tired.”
“But I think the reason it resonated with people is because everyone wants to be asked if they’re okay,” she continued.
Although the last few months have been difficult for everybody, Meghan said that “a year later I would say yes, I am doing well.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke on the podcast to mark World Mental Health Day. The episode features Meghan and Harry's discussion about prioritizing mental health and removing any stigma surrounding the issue, which has been one of the key causes they support.
During the podcast, Meghan and Harry spoke about the toll social media can have on people's mental health.
“Yes it’s a great way to connect, but it also ends up being a place where there's a lot of disconnection,” Meghan said. “I can speak personally too, I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female. Now, 8 months of that I wasn’t even visible — I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable.”
"I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging," she added.
Meghan noted that part of what the couple hope to accomplish through their advocacy is to emphasis that "we all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt."
"Vulnerability is not a weakness, showing vulnerability in today’s world especially is a strength," said Harry. “The more we talk about it the more it becomes normal, and it is normal.”
The conversation was recorded earlier this week with three of the five hosts — Gael, Kayla and Thomas — at a coronavirus-compliant shooting location (including masks) in Montecito, where the couple recently moved with their 1-year-old son, Archie. Meghan and Harry led the crew in deep breaths a few times during the conversation to help calm the young hosts' nerves.
Prince Harry even earned a new nickname during the recording session. When host Gael asked the couple what they like to be called, Harry said he was fine with anything — and Gael chose to call him "Big H," a fun spin on Meghan's short and sweet nickname for her husband, "H."
Members of the royal family have been appearing on podcasts in recent months. Kate Middleton opened up about parenthood on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast back in February, while royal mom-to-be Princess Eugenie announced last year that she was developing a podcast to support her charity The Anti-Slavery Collective. Furthermore, Prince Charles appeared on Westminster Abbey's newly launched podcast to deliver a reading for Easter, while Prince William is making his first-ever TED Talk to discuss climate change.
Meghan, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, have more exciting events planned for this weekend. They will also take part in a live video chat with 23-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai to mark International Day of the Girl on Sunday.
The conversation, which will be streamed through YouTube and the Malala Fund's social media channels, will see the trio "discuss the barriers preventing 130 million girls from going to school and why it's essential that we champion every girl's right to learn."