The Family Weekly: A Historic Royal Baby Arriveth

Plus: Keeping a mother’s secret from her son, and are you ready for a relationship or afraid of commitment?

(Reuters / Pool)

This Week in Family

A highly anticipated birth on Monday marks what is arguably the first biracial heir to the British Crown. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tried to keep the details of the pregnancy and delivery out of the public eye, but as the historian Carolyn Harris points out, the public has always had a fascination with the everyday lives of royalty. And this royal baby could also be a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., since Markle herself still holds an American passport. But at the end of the day, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor might have a better shot at a quiet childhood, outside the spotlight reserved for his first cousins George, Charlotte, and Louis.
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(Wenjia Tang)

In this week’s installment of The Friendship Files, two young women met via Google Docs. Courtney Zhu and Lilian Zhu (no relation) were interns, one after the other, on the same team at the UN. Courtney left Lilian a comprehensive onboarding guide, and when the two started chatting about the transition, they immediately hit it off as friends. “When I first meet people, I’m usually straining to make conversation or find things to talk about,” says Courtney. But with Lilian, “that was certainly not the case.”
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Where did the idea of being “ready for a relationship” come from? It used to be that you got married “in order to grow up, settle down,” one historian says. But now a serious relationship isn’t the catalyst for adulthood; it’s a key milestone that people see as the cherry on top of a put-together life. While timing and personal needs are important factors for a healthy and successful relationship, relationship readiness can become an excuse not to be vulnerable and take a chance on someone.
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Decades after the participation of women in the workforce peaked, working moms are still shouldering the brunt of domestic labor. Yet men continue to get a pat on the back when they do some of the basics required of co-parenting, whether it’s providing child care or showing up at a parenting class. This type of gratitude toward men who aren’t pulling their weight is what social psychologists call “benevolent sexism,” and it reinforces the idea that the domestic labor imbalance can be chalked up to factors such as women’s greater ability to nurture or provide for their children.
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In the United States, laws against domestic violence are barely a century old—and acts such as stalking weren’t criminalized until the 1990s. Programs such as the Office of Violence Against Women receive a minuscule slice of the federal funding that goes to the Justice Department’s $28 billion budget. And the justice system isn’t set up to truly help those who must face their abuser in court only to see them get a slap on the wrist. “Private violence affects nearly every aspect of modern life in some way,” writes Rachel Louise Snyder. “The country’s collective failure to treat it as a public health issue demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding about this very pervasiveness.”
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Dear Therapist

(Bianca Bagnarelli)

Every Monday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.

This week, a woman named Deborah faces a dilemma: Her close friend confided in her about putting her baby up for adoption when she was 16. It’s a decision that tormented Deborah’s friend, who kept the adoption a secret from her husband and son for decades. Years after Deborah’s friend died, Deborah married her friend’s husband—and now she doesn’t know whether or not to keep the secret from her friend’s son (now her stepson), who had a rocky relationship with his mother.

Lori’s advice: Secrets are rarely as secret as we think they are. It’s possible the son has long suspected that his mother was hiding a part of her life from him, and felt disoriented by it. But secrets can also take a toll on the person who has to guard them, leading to anxiety and other issues.

As for your stepson’s reaction, it’s true that you don’t know how he’ll receive this information. He may find the news shocking, or he may find it not all that surprising, a simple filling in of the blanks that he’s been craving all along. Either way, people have a right to know the truth of who they are, and part of who he is was shaped by who his mother was, and continues to be shaped by the fact that he has a sibling out there whom he hasn’t met—and may very well want to.

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Send Lori your questions at