Meghan Markle knows what it’s like to feel alone, and in a candid new essay for the New York Times the royal opened up about one of the loneliest things that can happen to parents: the miscarriage she suffered this past July.
On a day she says started like any other, she did the mundane tasks to which all moms can relate. “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.”
When Meghan went to get 18-month-old Archie, who she shares with Prince Harry, her day took a tragic turn. “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 sums up the moment in one heartbreaking sentence: “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
Meghan’s instinct was right, and she described the experience as she and Harry tried to come to terms with their loss 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.”
The deeply personal essay speaks to the isolating nature of her “almost unbearable grief,” despite how common losing a child really is. “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. 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.”
Meghan isn’t the first famous mom to speak candidly about pregnancy loss. Last month, Chrissy Teigen penned a beautiful essay about losing her son, who she and John Legend had named Jack, halfway through her pregnancy.
“I wrote this because I knew for me I needed to say something before I could move on from this and return back to life, so I truly thank you for allowing me to do so,” Chrissy wrote. “Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see. Thank you so much to every single person who has had us in their thoughts or gone as far as to send us your love and stories. We are so incredibly lucky.”
So much of our lives as parents happen behind closed doors—the good, the bad and the ugly. And when we all open ourselves up to sharing the full spectrum of these experiences, the worst of times feel a little less lonely.