Meghan, who welcomed son Archie Harrison in May, said she was left “somewhat speechless” when the questions she sent Obama to answer for the back page of British Vogue‘s September issue (which Meghan guest-edited!) were returned “as a thoughtful, reflective and beautifully curated narrative – a gentle reminder not of how but of why she has become such a globally respected public figure.”
Meghan revealed that the two women discussed the project “over a casual lunch of chicken tacos and my ever-burgeoning bump.” And the final result includes a lot of compelling parenting advice for the new royal mom.
“Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go,” Obama wrote in response to Meghan’s question about what motherhood has taught her. “Try as we might, there’s only so much we can control. And, boy, have I tried — especially at first. As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal.”
The former first lady goes on to explain the differences in her two daughters, 21-year-old Malia and 18-year-old Sasha.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Obama also reflected on what it was like to be a parent to infants, the phase that Meghan and Prince Harry find themselves in now with their nearly 3-month-old son.
“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,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, early parenthood is exhausting. I’m sure you know a thing or two about that these days. But there is something so magical about having a baby in the house. Time expands and contracts; each moment holds its own little eternity.”
Obama continued, “I’m so excited for you and Harry to experience that, Meghan. Savour it all.”
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Meghan, 37, was a hands-on collaborator for the edition, from selecting the cover stars and interviews to choosing the photographer.
Editor-in-chief Edward Enninful revealed that he and Meghan both chose famed photographer Peter Lindbergh as the artist behind the camera for the cover shoot.
“My instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’ ” Lindbergh told the publication when he recalled the phone conversation he had with Meghan on the morning of the New York shoot.
“Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles,” he said.