Meghan Markle has opened up about a devastating experience faced by millions of women each year: miscarriage.
In an op-ed for the New York Times entitled ‘The Losses we Share’, The Duchess of Sussex revealed her experience which occurred on a morning in July this year, while she was caring for Archie, her 18-month-old son with Prince Harry.
Markle shared how she had gone about her daily routine on a “morning that began as ordinarily as any other day: Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins. Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table. Throw my hair in a ponytail before getting my son from his crib.”
But as she was carrying Archie, she was struck by a sharp cramp in her abdomen. She buckled to the floor, calmly humming a lullaby to her son, all the while recognising what this sign likely meant.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Meghan wrote.
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She recounted being in hospital with Harry later, holding his 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.”
Markle’s experience is of course not unusual. Every year in Australia six babies a day are born stillborn, while one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. But it is a silent suffering. Every woman who has experienced a loss like this knows exactly how isolating it can feel, including Markle.
She writes that, “despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”
The couple’s intention of speaking out about their loss is to help normalise the conversation and lift this stigma that’s surrounded these topics for too long. Sadly, Buckingham Palace did not view the issue in the same way. In a statement it said it was “a deeply personal matter which we would not comment on”.
The first royal to publicly speak out on the personal experience of pregnancy loss, Markle emphasises a need to check on the women in our lives who may be going through similar heartbreak.
“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.
“Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same.”