Meghan Markle lifted ‘taboo’ on miscarriage, say charities

London – British charities helping families deal with miscarriages on Wednesday praised Meghan Markle for lifting a taboo with a first-person essay in the New York Times.

The Duchess of Sussex revealed she suffered a miscarriage in July this year, writing of the loss she endured with her husband Prince Harry.

The 39-year-old had just changed her one-year-old son Archie’s diaper when she felt a sharp cramp and fell to the ground.

“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” she wrote.

She described how she and Prince Harry were both in tears as she lay in a hospital bed hours later.

“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” she wrote. 

“Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

“I just applaud Meghan for showing the courage to share their story so beautifully and eloquently,” said Zoe Clark-Coates, head of the Mariposa Trust, which supports people who have had miscarriages or lost children.

“It gives people insight into a subject that is often not discussed and brought into the light,” added Clark-Coates, who has written books about grief and pregnancy.

Every time a celebrity talks about miscarriage or a storyline in a TV show covers the subject, “we see a massive surge in people asking for support”.

Some couples feel they cannot talk about their pain after a miscarriage if they have a healthy child, Clark-Coates said.

“It’s making people feel less alone,” she said.

She likened the impact of the publication to an Instagram post by US model Chrissy Teigen in October that showed her grief-stricken in hospital after her son was stillborn.

The post published in October was “liked” more than 11 million times but was also criticised by some as overly shocking and intimate.

Roughly one in five – 250,000 pregnancies – end in miscarriage every year in the UK, according to Tommy’s, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

“It’s a real taboo in society, so mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame,” said Sophie King, a midwife at the charity.

“Her honesty and openness today send a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: This may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone.” 

The stigma around miscarriage prevents many people from asking for support, said Karen Burgess, chief executive of Petals, a charity that offers counselling to people who have lost a baby.

Burgess praised Markle’s “frank, raw account”, saying: “We hope this opens the door for more couples to feel they can do the same.” 

The intimate details shared in Markle’s article are strikingly at odds with the usual policy of senior members of the British royal family, who reveal almost nothing about their personal lives.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement the disclosure was “a deeply personal matter which we would not comment on”.

Separately, a palace source said there was understandable sadness in the family. - AFP/REUTERS