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Watch: Meghan Markle reveals she suffered a miscarriage this summer.
There remains a culture of silence about miscarriage and stillbirth, despite figures revealing one in four pregnancies end in loss.
This stigma surrounding the discussion of pregnancy loss, can mean many people feel forced to grieve alone, which is why it can make such a difference to bereaved parents-to-be when celebrities and high profile figures speak out about their own experiences.
Meghan Markle has just opened up about her own pain after revealing she suffered a miscarriage during the summer.
In a deeply personal article about the loss and pain of 2020, the Duchess of Sussex explained that despite how common miscarriage is, many still feel they have to carry the “unbearable grief” in silence and often feeling laden with “unwarranted” shame.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” she wrote.
“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.”
In speaking so honestly about her own experiences, experts say Meghan, like many other celebrities, is helping to break down taboos that surround miscarriage and baby loss.
“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,” says Tommy’s midwife Sophie King.
“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.”
Here are some other well known names who’ve also opened up about their experience of pregnancy loss publicly in the hope it may help others.
In October, model and cookery writer Chrissy Teigen shared the “deep pain” she and husband John Legend felt following the death of their unborn baby.
Sharing some personal images of her cradling their baby, a boy the couple named Jack, Teigen spoke candidly about her grief on social media.
“We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” she wrote.
“We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough.”
She continued: “We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience. But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it.”
The couple were praised by baby loss charities for speaking so openly about their experiences and helping to bring the subject into the spotlight.
“Baby loss at any stage in pregnancy is one of the most devastating experiences that any family can go through – and it really can happen to any family, but persistent stigma means it’s rarely discussed despite affecting so many,” Tommy’s midwifery manager Kate Marsh said.
“Chrissy Teigen being so open about her loss takes a lot of courage, but it’s vital that we break the silence to tackle the isolation that bereaved parents often face in the depths of their grief.”
Marsh also addressed the fact that Teigen faced some criticism for speaking so candidly about her loss, explaining that it reveals just how far we have to go in breaking down barriers.
“While many people have sent Chrissy messages of support, some have criticised her for sharing, which just highlights the taboo and lack of awareness in society,” she explained.
“No matter when you lose a baby, you will likely be mourning the future you imagined together, and many families take photos and other special keepsakes like handprints and footprints. Some choose to grieve privately and others find it helps to publicly honour their baby’s short life, but there is no wrong way to react to such a uniquely personal tragedy.”
Binky Felstead said she “thought long and hard” about whether tor not to speak publicly about the miscarriage she experienced when she was almost 12 weeks pregnant.
“But I felt that if I can pass on any warmth, comfort or help to anybody in the same position – well that would be great,” the former Made in Chelsea star wrote in an Instagram caption alongside a scenic image of a field at sunset.
She then went on to discuss how common miscarriages are.
“I was told by my doctor that one in four pregnancies miscarry (not that statistics make it any easier!),” she wrote before working out that, given her 1.4 million Instagram followers, that means roughly 237,800 women following her could also have suffered miscarriages.
Felstead also pointed out that many of her friends had kept quiet about their own losses, possibly because talking about miscarriage remains something of a taboo.
“When speaking to a few close friends about our situation, we learned that some of them too have had miscarriages in the past,” she continued.
“I asked them why they’ve never said anything, and they just said they felt they couldn't, or shouldn’t talk about it. Almost like it’s a taboo subject, which is heartbreaking.”
Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association told Yahoo UK that the charity “greatly appreciates” Binky’s decision to share her experience
“It can help so much when someone in the public eye opens up in this way and Binky’s warm and thoughtful words for others will not only break taboos but also make others who’ve been through this themselves know that they are not alone,” Atik said.
Watch: Why Chrissy Teigen and John Legend chose to open up about their pregnancy loss.
Myleene Klass publicly shared that she secretly suffered four miscarriages before welcoming her youngest child.
The singer revealed she had been encouraged to share her experiences in the hope of helping “even one lost soul”.
“I am Mama to seven babies, Ava, Hero, Apollo my rainbow baby and four little stars in the sky,” she wrote.
“I know after my own MC’s [miscarriages] how I scoured the internet for stories similar to mine for peace, reassurance. I hope this helps even one lost soul.”
The 42-year-old, who has two daughters with ex-husband Graham Quinn, Ava, 13, and Hero, nine, and son Apollo, one, with partner Simon Motson, shared the post on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on 15 October.
“I felt lost and alone, and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were, because we don't talk about them,” Obama said.
“We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”
The former First Lady went on to conceive two daughters, Sasha and Malia, with the help of IVF.
In 2019 Beyoncé opened up about suffering multiple miscarriages, revealing it “taught [her] lessons”.
In an interview with Elle UK for the publication’s January 2020 issue, the singer discussed her experiences of miscarriage, explaining that she learnt to consider her pain “a gift”.
“I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn't know I needed. I learned that all pain and loss is in fact a gift,” she said.
“Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else.”
Beyoncé had previously spoken about experiencing a miscarriage two years before giving birth to her oldest child, daughter Blue Ivy, in 2012.
She described it as “the saddest thing I’ve ever been through” in her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream. “Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat,” she said.
This singer and entrepreneur is married to American rapper Jay-Z, 50, and is mother to the couple’s three children: daughter Blue Ivy, seven, and boy-girl twins Sir and Rumi, two.
Lily Allen has also spoken openly about her experience of pregnancy loss, and has continuously campaigned for more support of families during this difficult period.
“I think it’s difficult for anybody regardless of what world they live in,” the singer said on The Jonathan Ross Show. “And actually what I took home from that experience was…
“Even though it was the most unfortunate thing that can even happen to a person, I was very fortunate in the sense that I have a loving partner to go home to and share that experience with.”
She added, “There are many women – 17 stillbirths happen in the UK everyday – that go home and they don't have that support, they have to go home and deal with that on their own.”
The actress and Britain’s Got Talent judge spoke candidly about losing her son Theo, when his heart stopped beating seven months into her pregnancy in 2011.
In an interview with The Sun, the 49-year-old radio presenter – who is married to record producer Chris Hughes – revealed that she turned to hypnotherapy to cope with the grief of losing her little boy.
“There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about Theo, especially when a new school year begins,” she said.
“But after we first lost him, Chris and I were diagnosed with PTSD so we went and had some therapy about that, as anyone would.
“Chris was terribly British about it, went once and was like, ‘Right, I’m cured,’ whereas I continued.”
Holden added: “I just felt like everything was my fault, and I felt so responsible – what did I do wrong?”
The star later launched the charity Theo's Hope, which aims to raise money to help support other bereaved parents. “I had so many people to talk to, talking to somebody is absolutely paramount,” she said.
James Van Der Beek
After his wife Kimberly Brook miscarried multiple times, Dawson's Creek star James spoke out about the couple’s pain.
“After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, we were overjoyed to learn we were pregnant,” he wrote on Instagram.
“This time, we kept the news to ourselves. But last weekend, once again, 17 weeks in... the soul we’d been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body.
In November 2019, he revealed the news of the miscarriage during his season of Dancing with the Stars and dedicated his dance to his wife. “My wife Kimberly and I went through every expecting parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby. The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond,” he said.
After sharing their sad news, the couple were praised by the public for helping to break down the silence that still surrounds miscarriage and baby loss.
The couple share children Olivia, nine, Joshua, eight, Annabel, six, Emilia, four, and Gwendolyn, two.
The model and radio presenter has previously revealed she suffered the loss of a baby girl, with her then partner, rugby player Thom Evans, at five months pregnant.
“I tried to have a baby but it didn't work. You can feel quite a bit of failure if you go through miscarriage, but as much as it was a real loss and a difficult time, I got through it,” she told Fabulous.
Last November Hilaria Baldwin revealed her heartbreak after suffering her second miscarriage within a year.
Sharing news of her most recent loss in an Instagram post, Baldwin said she and husband Alec lost their baby's heartbeat around the 16-week mark.
“I’m really devastated right now,” she wrote. “I was not expecting this when I went to my scan today. I don’t know what else to say.
“I’m still in shock and don’t have this all quite clear.”
Later Baldwin opened up further about her experiences in an essay for Glamour. “Some estimates say one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage. I had four babies and now a loss – I was the perfect statistic,” she wrote.
“I felt like I was in shock. I went into this appointment excited to see her [my baby] and share pictures with my family and friends; I left needing to tell them all that she had died. It was a surreal turn of events. Even though I’d had a miscarriage before, I don’t think I could have fathomed how bad it could feel to have a miscarriage at 16 weeks.”
After taking time to grieve, Baldwin says she found strength in her family and friends, “I knew that I needed to feel better. I needed to heal. I had to for my babies, my husband, my loved ones, and myself. When you feel so sad, you just want to crumble, and it is hard to be your own advocate – but you must be. I had to tell myself that I deserved to heal and to be happy again. This lesson became my mantra.”
The wife of celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay recently opened up about the devastating pregnancy loss she suffered in 2016, reflecting on how “amazing” her husband was in helping her through her heartbreak.
“Gordon was amazing, and he’s always been one to talk about everything and he was very good at sort of talking it out of me and never making me feel that, ‘Oh, you know, maybe we shouldn’t talk about it’,” the 46-year-old told Metro.
“All I wanted to do was talk about it with friends, with family, with anyone who asked me about it because it was incredibly hard. You go from having a baby kicking inside of you to suddenly it's not there, and it was a really hard experience.”
The mum-of-five also praised Chrissy Teigen for speaking candidly about her own pregnancy loss, saying she thought the subject needed more discussion.
“I found it really hard when people would talk to me and not mention it because it was like it never happened,” she explained.
“When I read about her situation, I don't know the ins and outs, but certainly a lot of it sounded incredibly similar to mine,” she said. “It brings it all back and I think she was amazing for talking about it and posting the photos that she did.”