Does a woman of privilege and power ever have the right to complain?
The world has growing consciousness over the difficulties mental health presents, and yet, it appears there is still progress to be made before everyone is permitted to speak up and say how they truly feel.
Meghan Markle was at the centre of a social media storm following the controversial documentary ‘Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.’
Many were outraged, remarking the Duchess was audacious in complaining about her privileged position within the British Royal Family, while on a tour of Africa, around those who are, arguably, some of the world’s poorest.
In contrast, many were impressed with Meghan’s honesty and for highlighting the fact many new parents find it difficult to cope even with a privileged social and financial position.
Some felt this statement was ill timed, given their documentary was to highlight their tour of Africa; however Meghan raises an important point of discussion: regardless of a person’s socio-economic background, hormonal ups and downs caused by pregnancy and life with a newborn can impact on a person’s mental health. Once the initial euphoria subsides, overwhelming emotions can be hard, for anyone, to process.
Statistics for anxiety and depression in parents are alarmingly high, with up to 1 in 10 women experiencing antenatal anxiety and depression and more than 1 in 7 experiencing postnatal depression, as reported by PANDA.
Men do not escape unharmed from the effects of pregnancy either, with research from PANDA stating 1 in 20 men will experience antenatal anxiety and depression and up to 1 in 10 new dads are likely to experience postnatal depression.
Having a new baby creates multiple changes, many of which are overwhelming: concern about parenting ‘correctly’; the sleep deprivation; breastfeeding challenges; hormonal changes; relationship changes; financial strain and career concerns, all come into play.
Some assume Meghan has no rights to complain. For instance, she has no money worries, appears to be in a happy, devoted marriage and has a large team of staff supporting her within the prestigious British Royal Family, how can she be struggling?
However, Meghan is talking about mental health, which we are continually reminded, does not discriminate. Mental health affects our favourite movie stars, singers, TV personalities and athletes.
It is easy to assume those in privileged positions are vaccinated against any form of sadness, anxiety or depression. But in reality, could it be the assumption they are coping, which ignites their predisposition to mental health struggles?
Whether you love or loathe the Duchess of Sussex, she raises an important point about the internal damage that can be caused by keeping quiet about the state of your mental health.
In conclusion, asking someone if they are ok is a question everyone should be asked. It is a question that could potentially lead to that person asking for the help they desperately need.