We should applaud not criticise Meghan Markle’s honesty about her miscarriage

Emma Loffhagen
·2-min read
 (Getty)
(Getty)

Yesterday when Meghan Markle bravely revealed she had suffered in a miscarriage earlier this year in a New York Times op-ed, there was a collective outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support.

In a moving and candid account, she described the “unbearable grief” of losing a child, something “experienced by many but talked about by few”.

What struck me in particular about her article was how raw Meghan’s account of her trauma was. There was no airbrushing of her experience - she didn’t shy away from disclosing the painful and intimate details of a subject often shrouded in so much secrecy.

I was reminded of Chrissy Teigen’s devastating revelation last month of her stillbirth and the heartbreakingly vulnerable photos she shared of her loss.

Amidst the overwhelming display of support both women have received, they have also predictably endured a backlash from a small but vocal minority who view their revelations as distasteful - in their public nature, their honesty, their immediacy, in their existence at all.

As a result of their refreshing openness, both have been labelled attention-seekers, criticised for over-sharing and in Meghan’s case even dismissed by some as lying.

The policing of grief experienced by both women is cruel. There is no “right” or “proper” way to mourn. Whether public or private, dealing with the loss of a baby is courageous.

We are often all too happy to invasively and intimately consume the parts of women’s bodies that are seen as palatable, sexy and gratifying but recoil at revelations of the harsh and unpleasant reality that our bodies can sustain too. Particularly for women like Meghan and Chrissy whose looks are the subject of endless gawping, ogling and scrutiny, the message this criticism sends is that their bodies are valued only as objects.

<p>Prince Harry, Meghan and their baby son Archie meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their royal tour of South Africa </p>Getty

Prince Harry, Meghan and their baby son Archie meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their royal tour of South Africa

Getty

When you criticise Meghan for sharing her miscarriage so openly because it’s “too personal”, you are enabling a culture of silence surrounding an issue that keeps so many women paralysed in a state of shame, loneliness and misinformation.

Miscarriage is a grief unlike any other - it is invisible and invalidated. Each time someone shares their story it signals another chip in the wall of stigma and taboo, one voice at a time.

This revelation is a stark reminder that pregnancy is not always glossy. It’s not all new-mum glows, cute baby bumps and weird cravings. It’s also a reminder that miscarriage is not merely a statistic - behind every case there is indelible anguish and often solitary suffering.

Meghan’s account will have provided for many grieving women the first step towards finding a vocabulary for this pain. Her honesty and candour has sent a powerful message to any woman who has lost a baby: you are not alone. We are lucky to have her.