Meghan Markle reveals she had a miscarriage in July while holding Archie in her arms: 'An almost unbearable grief'
'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 wrote
In a candid op-ed for the New York Times written by Meghan Markle, who calls herself, "a mother, feminist and advocate," the Duchess of Sussex described her “unbearable grief” after she suffered a miscarriage, losing her second child.
The op-ed begins in an unassuming manner, as the former 'Suits' actress recalled starting off a normal day with her first-born son, Archie, in her arms. "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 wrote in the first paragraph.
However, the tone soon changed in the second para. "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 wrote. "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 then recalled how she had put up a "brave face" while on a tour to South Africa last year when she had newly become a mother and also performing her royal duties despite being exhausted with having to breastfeed Archie.
"'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. 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," she wrote in the op-ed.
The question was asked during an interview with journalist Tom Bradby - which fast became controversial because the comments made by the duchess painted the Royal family in a sort of negative light. Meghan had answered: “Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m OK.” In the op-ed she added, "Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heartbreak 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?'"
She then reflected back on some of the highlights of 2020 - a year that has been crippled by “loss and pain” -- experienced by people who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic and the wave of Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “In places where there was once community, there is now division,” said Meghan. “We aren’t just fighting over our opinions of facts; we are polarized over whether the fact is, in fact, a fact. We are at odds over whether science is real. We are at odds over whether an election has been won or lost. We are at odds over the value of compromise.”
Meghan then described how the conversation around losing a child still was a "taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning." "Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few," she said, urging women to speak up and share their grief.
"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," she said. She then concluded the piece by answering her own question. "Are we OK? We will be," she wrote.