Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry are grieving the loss of their second child. The former actress shared the news of her miscarriage on Wednesday in a powerful thousand word op-ed written for the New York Times.
In the piece, Markle revealed she was at the couple’s Montecito, Santa Barbara home when she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen while changing 18-month-old Archie’s diaper. “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,” Meghan wrote.
“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,” she continued. “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
Markle, 39, said she wrote the op-ed in an attempt to break the enduring silence around a still-taboo subject. “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” Meghan wrote, describing how she and Harry, 36, comforted each other in a hospital bed.
In the raw, intimate piece, Markle chronicles every moment of the traumatic experience, including how the couple started the grieving process while still in the hospital.
“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,” Meghan 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.”
According to various statistics, roughly 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That’s about 10 to 15 per cent — and most of those pregnancy losses occur before 12 weeks in the first trimester. Yet, despite how common it is, women are still reluctant to open up and share their experiences. But between Markle’s heartbreaking revelation and Chrissy Teigen’s devastating pregnancy loss, perhaps it will start to shatter the taboo.
Markle revealed that the couple shared the news with their families and closest friends back in the summer, while the upcoming American Thanksgiving long weekend made them realize the time was right to reveal their loss publicly.
The duchess even harkened back to the explosive interview she gave last year as part of the ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. The viral clip of a teary-eyed duchess revealing that “not many people have asked if I’m OK” was a startling reminder of the pressures and online vitriol certain celebrities face in their daily lives.
“Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heartbreak 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?’” Meghan wrote in the New York Times.
“As we plan for a holiday unlike any before – many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for – let us commit to asking others, ‘Are you OK?’ As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year,” she wrote.
Read Meghan Markle’s entire New York Times op-ed, “The Losses We Share” here.