Meghan Markle praised for helping to break down miscarriage stigma
Watch: Meghan Markle opens up about miscarriage pain.
Meghan Markle has been praised for helping to break down the stigma surrounding miscarriage and for encouraging women not to feel they have to suffer in silence.
The Duchess of Sussex revealed she suffered a miscarriage during the summer, in a deeply personal article about the loss and pain of 2020.
Writing in the New York Times, Meghan, 39, explained she miscarried in July after feeling a “sharp cramp” while she looked after her one-year-old son, Archie.
“I dropped to the floor with him [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,” she wrote.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
In a brutally honest account of her and Harry’s experience of losing their unborn baby, Meghan goes on to share that she has learnt about 10 to 20 in every 100 women will miscarry.
Read more: Miscarriages: Why they occur, the mental health impact and the support available
But despite the number of families who will go through a similar experience, the duchess says the “unbearable grief” many suffer is often carried in silence, and under an umbrella of “unwarranted” shame.
“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.Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”
Read more: TV presenter Anita Rami says discussing miscarriages is ‘such a taboo’
In speaking so honestly about her own experiences, baby loss charity, Tommy’s says Meghan has gone some way in helping to break down the 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.
“1 in 4 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.”
Many people have also thanked the duchess on social media for helping to shatter the culture of silence that mean so many still suffer alone.
When I had a miscarriage, I remember scouring the internet for articles by women who had been through the same thing. Because reading that you're not alone is helpful and it's comforting. So thank you to Meghan Markle for writing about something so difficult
— Anita Singh (@anitathetweeter) November 25, 2020
It’s incredibly brave of Meghan to share her experience. More than 1 in 8 pregnancies result in a miscarriage and yet it’s a huge taboo that people don’t talk about. Maybe this will make it easier for women (and men) to talk about it and vent their heartache
— Yvaine (@__Yvaine__) November 25, 2020
I’m proud of @chrissyteigen and Meghan for sharing their grief, so that other mothers may feel like they are not alone in theirs.
Especially in this already difficult year.
— ❤️ (@our_protest) November 25, 2020
Such sad news too hear about the miscarriage Meghan suffered. However you feel about anyone personally, this is about a woman that has lost a child. It's a silent, often secret suffering, one of the last taboos, yet so common. We must support them, and their partners. ♥️
— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) November 25, 2020
This is a club which I don't wish for anyone to join. But now Meghan and Harry are unfortunately also members of it. 😥
It's a lonely bitter place but maybe her talking about it will help others going through it. A little at least. https://t.co/TLIciUyys0
— Kaetrin (@Kaetrin67) November 25, 2020
Read more: James Van Der Beek and wife Kimberly open up about heartbreaking miscarriage
Later in the article the duchess recalls an interview from the end of her tour in South Africa with Harry in which ITV’s Tom Bradby asked if she was OK.
She said she felt her “off-the-cuff reply” gave permission for others to speak, though for her, it was the question itself that helped her the most.
Meghan goes on to urge readers to ask one another, despite differences in opinion, if they are OK, remarking on the shared experience of life and loss during the pandemic.
The duchess sharing her experience of miscarriage comes soon after model Chrissy Teigen shared her own sadness, as she and her husband John Legend lost their baby.
Both Teigen and Legend were also praised for speaking openly and honestly about their experience.
Watch: Chrissy Teigen returns to Instagram after miscarriage.
Read more: Alanis Morissette talks 'challenges and miscarriages'
Experts believe celebrities discussing their personal experiences with miscarriage can help to break down the silence surrounding the subject and make others who have been through it feel like they aren’t alone.
“Whenever someone in the public eye shares the devastating loss of their baby in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy they are helping other people going through similar experiences to know they are not alone,” Clea Harmer, chief executive at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity) previously told Yahoo UK.