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Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle reveals heartbreak of suffering miscarriage
25 November 2020, 08:56 | Updated: 25 November 2020, 11:07
The Duchess of Sussex has written an article for the New York Times in which she reveals she had a miscarriage in July.
In a powerful piece titled "the losses we share" she wrote: "It was a July 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.
"After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him 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.
"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 Duchess goes on to describe the importance of asking if people are OK, and told of the pain of watching Harry's own grief mirror her own.
"Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband's heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?'", she wrote.
Meghan also shares thoughts on society's perception of miscarriage, saying: "Despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning".
Meghan and Harry's son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born on 6 May last year, and moved to LA with them when they quit life as working royals in the Spring.
Little Archie is currently 7th in line to the throne, although his parents chose not to give him a title.
According to the charity Tommy's around 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. A large proportion of these happen in the first trimester.
"I recalled a moment last year when Harry and I were finishing up a long tour in South Africa," she said.
"I was exhausted. I was breastfeeding our infant son, and I was trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye.'Are you OK?' a journalist asked me. I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many — new moms and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering.
"My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn't responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself.
"'Thank you for asking,' I said. 'Not many people have asked if I'm OK.'"
Sophie King, a midwife at the charity Tommy's, said the Duchess of Sussex's article sent a "powerful message" to others who have experienced the loss of a baby.
She said: "Baby loss at any stage in pregnancy is one of the most heart-breaking things a family can experience - and as Meghan Markle said, it's experienced by many but talked about by few.
"One in four pregnancies ends in loss, but it's a real taboo in society, so mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame.
"Meghan's essay praises the bravery of parents who share their stories, and those who prefer to grieve privately can still find comfort and connection in reading about others' experiences.
"Her honesty and openness today send a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: this may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone. Friends and family, doctors and midwives, all of us at support organisations like Tommy's; we're here."
If you've read this story and need support, you can call the Miscarriage Association on 01924 200799, or freephone the Samaritans on 116 123 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org