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Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, has revealed in a haunting essay that she suffered the miscarriage of her second child. In a newly penned piece for the New York Times, the royal describes how, one summer morning, she understood that she was losing her and husband Prince Harry’s baby, as she tended to her first born, Archie.
If you need to speak to someone about miscarriage, you can call The Miscarriage Association’s Helpline on 01924 200799
‘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,’ she writes.
‘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.’
She goes on to reference a moment from ITV documentary Harry And Meghan: An African Journey, which was filmed as the couple finished up a tour in South Africa. In a clip that went viral, the Duchess was asked by journalist Tom Bradby: ‘I don’t know what the impact on your mental and physical health (is), all the pressure you feel?’ Part of her reply, famously, was: ‘Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m okay.’
This time came back to her, as she went through this period of profound devastation. ‘Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?” ‘ she says.
In words that will resonate with many, she goes on: ‘Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. 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.’
Meghan goes on to detail how we are living a time which has brought so many to ‘breaking point’ – from those who have died from COVID-19 to those who have been impacted by the murder of Breonna Taylor, an innocent woman who was shot to death in her home by armed police. Her point is this: that perhaps the ‘path to healing’, to working through grief, in whatever form that takes, begins with asking people ‘Are you ok?’ and truly listening to the answer.
On the subject of other people who have experienced miscarriage, she writes: ‘Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same. We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing, and when they really listen to the answer, with an open heart and mind, the load of grief often becomes lighter — for all of us. In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.’
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