Photo: @BarackObama via Instagram
It's no wonder Meghan Markle was so taken by the Michelle Obama interview in the September issue of British Vogue, which was guest-edited by the royal family's newest mom. Even over email, the former First Lady left the Duchess of Sussex "somewhat speechless" with her musings on motherhood, and we're still dabbing our eyes over the way she talks about 21-year-old Malia and 18-year-old Sasha (and their tiny baby voices!).
"Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go," she explained, sharing how hard it's been to relinquish control with such a fierce desire to protect her children. "But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal."
Obama went on to say, "What’s both humbled and heartened me is seeing the resiliency of my daughters. In some ways, Malia and Sasha couldn’t be more different. One speaks freely and often, one opens up on her own terms. One shares her innermost feelings, the other is content to let you figure it out. Neither approach is better or worse, because they’ve both grown into smart, compassionate and independent young women, fully capable of paving their own paths."
With three-month-old baby Archie at home, Meghan must have been lapping up every bit of parenting advice—and Michelle didn't hold back. "Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be. Not who I want them to be or who I wish I was at that age, but who they are, deep inside. Motherhood has also taught me that my job is not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity. But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own."
As the closing interview in the special Forces for Change issue, the 55-year-old also spilled the advice she shares with her girls. "I tell them that I hope they’ll keep trying on new experiences until they find what feels right. And what felt right yesterday might not necessarily feel right today. That’s OK—it’s good, even... Becoming who we are is an ongoing process, and thank God—because where’s the fun in waking up one day and deciding there’s nowhere left to go?"
But it was the final question,when the duchess asked about the most beautiful sound Michelle's ever heard, that took us from misty eyed to ugly crying. "When Malia and Sasha were newborns, Barack and I could lose hours just watching them sleep. We loved to listen to the little sounds they’d make—especially the way they cooed when they were deep into dreaming." And if you've experienced the mesmerizing mews of a tiny newborn (especially while in the throes of sleep depravation), you know exactly what she's talking about.
But in classic Mobama style, the Girls Opportunity Alliance founder punctuated her whimsy with some real talk. "Don’t get me wrong, early parenthood is exhausting," she told Meghan, before joking, "I’m sure you know a thing or two about that these days."
And then, cue the waterworks one last time! "But there is something so magical about having a baby in the house. Time expands and contracts; each moment holds its own little eternity," Michelle concluded, before offering one final piece of advice for Prince Harry and Meghan.
"Savour it all."