Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie
Photo: Getty

Duchess Meghan is getting real about the tropes of motherhood on her new Spotify podcast.

For the debut episode of Archetypes, the Duchess of Sussex chats with friend and tennis champion Serena Williams about everything ranging from the public perception of ambition to the emotional toll mothers so often endure.

The two also exchange personal stories about times they felt the pressure of being a mom. Williams, who shares four-year-old Alexis Olympia with husband Alexis Ohanian, recalls an instance in which Olympia had broken her wrist the day before she was set to play a match.

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“I was just basically devastated. Like, I literally couldn’t think. I felt so guilty,” she tells the duchess. “Of course, this is the one day I was playing early. I remember holding her the whole night and just, like, rocking her to sleep, and I just didn’t let her out of my sight at that point, because I was already—and I’m hard on myself, and I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. But I was so mad at myself for even allowing that to happen. So I think I got, like, 30 minutes of sleep, and then I had to go play this match. And I’m just thinking, How am I gonna play? I somehow managed to win, but I was so emotionally spent and just, like, so emotionally drained that it was crazy.”

Williams also reflects on a mother’s ability to juggle all their responsibilities. “Moms do a lot. Like, I look at my mom, I don’t know how she had five kids. I don’t know,” she said, adding, “And I would drop anything at any time to whatever I had to do for Olympia. Middle of a Grand Slam final—I would leave if I had to.”

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Shortly after, Meghan relates to Williams’s story with one of her own. Sharing an incident that happened back in 2019, when the Sussexes traveled to South Africa, the duchess recalls the time the nursery of their then months-old baby son, Archie, caught on fire while Meghan and Harry were out on an official engagement.

“When you went and played that match the next morning, no one knew what your night had been like the night before. They forgot that human piece of it,” Meghan tells Williams. “Just like when we went on our tour to South Africa, we landed with Archie. … And the moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was gonna get ready to go down for his nap. We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and there was this moment where I’m standing on a tree stump and I’m giving this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car, and they say, ‘There’s been a fire at the residence.’ ‘What?’ ‘There’s been a fire in the baby’s room.'”

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Returning to the housing unit, Meghan recalls their nanny, Lauren, “in floods of tears.” She continues, “She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap, and she just said, ‘You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs.’ And she was from Zimbabwe, and we loved that she would always tie him on her back with a mud cloth. And her instinct was like, ‘Let me just bring him with me before I put him down.’ In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire. There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire-extinguished. He was supposed to be sleeping in there.”

Despite the terror of the incident, Meghan shares that duty still obligated her to once again leave Archie. “We came back. And, of course, as a mother, you go, ‘Oh, my God, what?’ Everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement. I said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense,'” she shares. “I was like, ‘Can you just tell people what happened?’ And so much, I think, optically, the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels. And part of the humanizing and the breaking through of these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put into is having some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of and to give each other a break. Because we did; we had to leave our baby. And even though we were being moved to another place afterwards, we still had to leave him and go and do another official engagement.”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.