The Duchess of Sussex has revealed in a moving new essay that she suffered a miscarriage in July, writing about how she experienced "an almost unbearable grief" after the loss of her second child with Prince Harry.
An op-ed in The New York Times by the former Meghan Markle marked a significant statement from a member of the British royal family, who traditionally have not spoken publicly about sensitive topics like a miscarriage.
Meghan recalled being with their son, Archie, on the July day when she felt a sharp pain in her stomach.
"I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she wrote.
"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 duchess also referenced the couple's trip to South Africa in October 2019, when she thanked an interviewer from Britain's ITV News for simply asking her if she was OK.
"And especially as a woman, it's really, it's a lot, so you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, it's...well, I guess I also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK,'' she said.
Meghan wrote in her op-ed that she was "trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye" when she gave that answer.
"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 wrote. "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 thought of that question on the day she had her miscarriage.
"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?'" she wrote.
The duchess also explained why she took the rare step to speak about a sensitive issue like pregnancy loss in a public forum.
"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few," she wrote. "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 advocated for people to put their differences aside in a year marred by the coronavirus pandemic, protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd and a bitter presidential election to ask a simple question to one another on this holiday.
"So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for 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 — let us commit to asking others, 'Are you OK?'" she wrote. "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."
Her miscarriage took place not only in a tumultuous year across the world, but also for her personally. She and Harry made the stunning announcement in January that they were stepping back from their duties as senior members of the royal family, and then moved to Canada after their historic break as they raised their 1-year-old son.