Meghan Markle admitted that when she was younger, her family didn't make a lot of money.
"I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler — it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can't remember) — but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky," she said in an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, which was published on Wednesday, October 20.
The former actress also touched upon her first job at Humphrey Yogart, which is located in Los Angeles, Calif. "Even [saving money] was a luxury — because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car," she explained.
Now Meghan, 40, is financially stable, but she understands that is not always the case across the country, which is why it is so important for parents to be able to have paid leave when they have a child.
"Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities," she wrote. "At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost."
"In June, my husband [Prince Harry] and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren't confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work," she continued.
The two were lucky enough to take some time off from work, but not everyone is able to do so.
"We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family. We knew that by doing so we wouldn't have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day," she noted. "No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan)."
She concluded, "So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost."