What the Latest Royal Baby News Really Means to Mixed-Race Families Like Mine

prince harry and meghan markle
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It’s 7:50 am. I have yet to brew coffee, and I’m frantically heating up my kids’ breakfast while packing lunchboxes and yelling for them to hurry up because their bus is coming in 20 minutes.

I hear thundering footsteps, and then my kids burst into the kitchen.

My oldest exclaims, “Mom! Guess what? Meghan Markle is having a baby! I heard it on my radio this morning!”

“I heard that, too!” exclaims her 7-year-old sister.

“We could have a new baby princess!” says my oldest with a grin.

The kids settle around the breakfast bar, and I hand out bowls of steaming oatmeal. My son, who is 5, asks, “Who is having a baby?”

I remind them of the morning when I made them all get up early, put on fascinators, and enjoy tea and scones while we watched Meghan and Harry wed in front of the world.

Image Source: Rachel Garlinghouse

“Remember, Meghan is brown, like you!” I said. “And Prince Harry is pink. They are going to have a baby, and the baby will be biracial! Do you remember what biracial means?”

My sweet son, who just recently learned that the word is “biracial” and not “bi-Rachel” (my name), cheers wildly. To say my kids are “proud to be brown” (as we say) is an understatement.

The news broke very early this morning (like in the wee morning hours, because … British time) from Kensington Palace. Meghan is pregnant, and she and Harry are expecting a baby, gender unknown, in the spring of 2019.

Of course, many of us speculated this news was pending. Meghan arrived at Princess Eugenie’s wedding wearing a navy outfit that covered most of her body, but left watchers guessing whether or not they saw a baby bump protruding from underneath the top of Meghan’s buttoned-up coat. Meghan and company, classy as ever, saved their baby news for after Princess Eugenie’s big day.

I grew up in the Princess Diana era and watched my mom and her best friend/cousin chat incessantly about Diana, Charles, and their handsome young sons. I remember the devastation and heaviness that seemed to loom when Diana was killed, and I can still vividly recall Harry’s face during his mother’s funeral procession. The world felt a little emptier without her.

When you’re raising children of color like I am, you grow to understand that representation matters.
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Despite the Princess Diana fanfare in my own family growing up, I wasn’t one to stay glued to my television awaiting William and Kate’s nuptials or watch for Kate to emerge from the hospital in tip-top shape after having each of their three children. I was too busy raising my own babies.

But Harry and Meghan? That’s another story.

I watched the Lifetime movie, bought my fellow royalty-loving friend a Harry and Meghan coffee mug, and read every article that came across my social media feed. I planned every detail of our wedding-watching family party, including homemade scones and tea in my good teacups that are otherwise off-limits to anyone under the age of 12. Because when you’re raising children of color like I am, you grow to understand that representation matters.

It matters A LOT.

As I’ve shared before, I work diligently to show my children that they aren’t an “other” to merely be tolerated because they are black. When we chose to be open to adopting transracially, we chose the incredible responsibility of affirming our children for who they are.

This means a lot of things. It means taking my daughters to get their hair braided. It means taking my son to a barber who can cut his hair into a “bald fade.” It means teaching them about their history, and it means constantly pointing out fellow black people who do incredible things. It means relying on friends of color to help us raise our children. It means attending a predominately African-American church on Sunday mornings, and it means purchasing books, movies, and toys that feature children who look like mine.

In essence, my job is to raise loving, responsible, kind, smart, and confident black children. The “black” part cannot be left out, nor should it be. Instead, affirming my children racially is a primary focus in our parenting.

Meghan and Harry do not just represent royalty and class to our family. They represent the beauty of multiracial love — the love of a family like mine. And that is certainly worthy of this mama’s attention.

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