Meghan Markle talks about her miscarriage: "As I clutched my firstborn child, I was losing my second"
The Duchess of Sussex reveals the most intimate moments of her pain
Whatever you imagine a day in the life of royalty to start like, it’s probably not this. Making breakfast. Feeding the dogs. Changing your baby’s dirty diaper. But in the midst of the mundane, Meghan Markle realised she was having a miscarriage.
“I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him (son Archie) in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right. I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” she writes in a powerful essay for The New York Times.
The next thing she remembers is clinging desperately on to her husband Prince Harry’s hand as their tears mingled, wondering how they would get over this loss.
“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.”
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“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?”
In sharing her personal grief, in her own words, in the world’s most reputed newspaper, Meghan Markle joins the growing tribe of celebrated women shining a light on this unnervingly common, yet still secretive human experience.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. 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,” she says.
In allowing Prince Harry to participate in the narrative, Meghan Markle acknowledges that the loss of a baby is not a woman’s tragedy alone, and that families often have to learn to repair themselves together, if they have any hope of staying together.
Former US First lady Michelle Obama discussed her own experience in her memoir, Becoming, writing, “We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.”
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Last month, entrepreneur and social media icon Chrissy Teigen even shared photos of her miscarriage from the hospital bed.
When the trolls came for her, Teigen admitted frankly, “I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos, that this is not something you would have done. These photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. This is for the people who need them.”
In a world where we’re forced physically apart, but have never been more connected in this theatre of human experience, Meghan Markle registering her dissent against silence offers a salve to women, and families, who have been mourning alone.
She encourages us to lower our emotional drawbridges, to ask “Are you OK?” and then actually listen to the answer.
“We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing with an open heart and mind, the load of grief often becomes lighter — for all of us. In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.”