Meghan Markle has disclosed for the first time that she recently suffered a miscarriage.
In a searingly, powerful article for the New York Times, the Duchess of Sussex recounts the experience, which happened in July.
The former actress explains how she had just changed the nappy of her one-year-old son, Archie, when she felt a ‘sharp cramp’ which made her ‘drop to the floor with him in my arms’.
‘I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,’ she writes.
‘Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.’
The second pregnancy was not made public at the time. The Sussexes, who married in St George’s Chapel in Windsor in May 2018, have been living in California this year with Archie and their dogs ever since stepping back from their roles as senior working members of the royal family in January.
In the article, Meghan continues to explore themes of pain and suffering, recalling a very public exchange in 2019 when ITV journalist Tom Bradby asked her on camera, ‘are you ok?’ during a royal tour of Africa.
In response, an emotional and taken aback Meghan – who was ‘trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye’- thanked Bradby for the question, realising that not many people had asked about her wellbeing in the aftermath of her adjusting to becoming a first-time mother while navigating a very public – and scrutinised – platform.
‘Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?”,' she notes.
The Duchess acknowledges that 2020 has brought a lot of pain and suffering to many, including this horrendous experience for herself and Prince Harry, noting the effects of Covid-19 on society, as well as the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor which sparked widespread marches and cries for justice and equality in their aftermath.
Meghan says there is a danger that comes with ‘siloed living’ and keeping things to yourself and bottled up – either willingly or because of a situation like isolation due to the Coronavirus.
‘Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,’ she writes. ‘In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.’
Meghan finishes her essay on a powerful note, reminding readers to check in on others and ask if they are okay as they get together over the festive season.
‘We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another. Are we OK? We will be.’
The essay is one of the rare times a member of the royal family - an institution long associated with a ‘stiff upper lip’ - has been so forthcoming about a personal experience. But given the work and efforts for modernisation from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in recent years, it is not unexpected.
The couple have routinely spoken about the importance of sharing when you are struggling with mental health and having honest conversations as a society. In 2018, Prince Harry spoke for the first time about his own mental health and grief triggered by the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana.
Unquestionably, Meghan’s brave decision to speak so publicly about something so personal will be of comfort and support to many going through a similar experience alone while society remains isolated.
If you have experienced a miscarriage and need support, please contact The Miscarriage Association via email at firstname.lastname@example.org telephone on 01924 200799 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm) or Tommy's.
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