Meghan Markle Has Opened Up About Losing Her Second Child In A Miscarriage
"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 writes
In an emotional piece published by The New York Times on Wednesday, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, revealed to the world that she had lost her second child. She was expecting to give birth before fall this year.
Neither Meghan nor Harry confirmed news that they were expecting. Instead, following the pattern that tabloids and rumor mills from around the globe have taken when it came to news about her and her family, publications left and right took the liberty of informing the public about a potential pregnancy, one they claimed that Meghan and Harry were desperately trying to keep secret.
It turns out they were right, but only in part; this ex-royal was, indeed, pregnant, but not for long.
Meghan Markle miscarried in July. The months that ensued have been spent living with grief, managing the aftermath of death, figuring out how, as a mother and wife, she could still give her firstborn Archie all the love in the world that he deserved and be accessible to her husband who, although did not physically carry their child in his body, feels the pangs of loss and pain just the same.
As Meghan narrates, she was going about her daily routine when she felt it happen.
Doing nothing out of the ordinary, she felt cramp in her belly. It was sharp and painful enough to bring her to the floor, scary enough to warrant an emergency visit to the hospital.
"...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 writes in The New York Times.
But the heart of Meghan's essay is not found only in her words that so deeply convey the depth of her sadness, but how she takes this experience and uses it to connect with, and to comfort, the mothers and fathers that have suffered from the same.
"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 shares.
It was important for her to sow feelings of understanding and empathy for the mothers whose miscarriages are behind these statistics. Why this was so, she explains, too.
Meghan talked about her last few engagements as a member of the royal family last year, specifically her weeks-long tour in South Africa that exhausted her, as it coincided with her first taste of motherhood. She had been shuffling from one organization to the other, meeting with leaders, delivering speeches, facing the media that both adored and scorned her, and greeting well-wishers all the while learning how to properly breastfeed, change diapers, and rock an infant to sleep.
She was exhausted, but no one had ever stopped to ask her about her. People were concerned about keeping her schedule on track, perhaps even her wardrobe and transportation and security concerns, but the check-ins were limited to official business and would never cover her feelings, state of mind, and general well-being as a person.
"...I was trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye," she shares.
"'Are you ok?' a journalist asked me. I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many — new moms and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering," she continues.
Meghan goes on to talk about how the seconds-long exchange would have such a profound impact. She thanked the journalist for asking her what he did. She also told him that no one had asked her that question in a long time.
For the thousands, perhaps millions, of people who came across news reports talking about Meghan not being wholly okay, it was their go signal to be honest with themselves, too, and acknowledge that they, too, were suffering from one thing or another and needed someone to simply ask how they were holding up.
Meghan Markle's miscarriage is no different.
She wasn't okay then, and she is not okay now, and if she was honest with herself then, she is honest with herself again now.
Only this time, she hopes that her honesty and willingness to be honest to the public will be of even more help to men and women seeking comfort for a family loss such as this. This is Meghan's Thanksgiving message to society.
"...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 says.
"We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another," she ends.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down from royal duties in March and are no longer formal members of the British royal family. Their first son Archie was born in May 2019.
She is the second member of the royal family to speak about miscarriage. Zara Tindall, granddaughter to the Queen and first cousin of Harry and William, miscarried twice and has talked openly about her experiences. Buckingham Palace has not commented on Meghan's revelation.
Meghan is an advocate of women empowerment and rights, and continues to support and participate in activities that further her cause.
Photos from @nytimes