Meghan Markle has revealed that she had a miscarriage in July.
The Duchess of Sussex, who is married to Prince Harry, broke the news in a heart-breaking opinion piece in The New York Times, writing movingly about the “unbearable grief” of miscarriage, which she said was “experienced by many but talked about by few.”
In the piece, in which she describes herself as a “mother, feminist, and advocate,” Meghan said, “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 described how, back in July this year, her morning routine of making breakfast, taking vitamins and finding “that missing sock” was brutally interrupted by “a sharp cramp.”
She says she “dropped to the floor” while holding her baby Archie in her arms, “humming a lullaby” to keep calm but knowing that “something was not right.”
Meghan writes: “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.”
Meghan then recalls a controversial moment from her old royal life when, on a tour of Southern Africa, the journalist Tom Bradby asked her, “Are you OK?” and Meghan replied, “Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m OK.”
The remark was widely taken as criticism of the royal family for being cold and not supportive.
In the new piece, Meghan writes that she was “exhausted” and “trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye” when Bradby asked her the question and says, “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. My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn’t responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself.”
Meghan then writes, “Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break 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 then moves on to a wider discussion of the “loss and pain [that] have plagued every one of us in 2020, in moments both fraught and debilitating. We’ve heard all the stories: A woman starts her day, as normal as any other, but then receives a call that she’s lost her elderly mother to COVID-19. A man wakes feeling fine, maybe a little sluggish, but nothing out of the ordinary. He tests positive for the coronavirus and within weeks, he—like hundreds of thousands of others—has died.”
Meghan also referred to the disturbing cases of Black people killed by police this year that triggered worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, writing: “A young woman named Breonna Taylor goes to sleep, just as she’s done every night before, but she doesn’t live to see the morning because a police raid turns horribly wrong. George Floyd leaves a convenience store, not realizing he will take his last breath under the weight of someone’s knee, and in his final moments, calls out for his mom.”
Meghan adds, “On top of all of this, it seems we no longer agree on what is true… we are at odds over whether an election has been won or lost.”
She argues that that “polarization, coupled with the social isolation” has left people feeling “more alone than ever.”
Meghan writes that Thanksgiving will be “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.”
The duchess’ raw honesty comes after several other famous women have opened up about the pain of miscarriage, including Chrissy Teigen, Meghan McCain, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama, who wrote in her book Becoming about her struggles with infertility and miscarriage. About 10 to 15 of every 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to health reports, but many women feel powerless to discuss it.
“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,” Markle writes. “In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.”
—Barbie Latza Nadeau contributed to this report.