Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and an inspiration for women worldwide, recently opened up about her miscarriage. She wrote about it in an opinion article for the New York Times and reading it broke our heart. She began her day like any other, feeding her dogs, eating a good breakfast and taking her vitamins. She was playing with her firstborn when she felt a stinging pain in her stomach. She said,
I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.
Miscarriage is common, yet it remains a taboo topic, especially in India. Dr Devika Chopra, a Mumbai based Obstetrician and Gynecologist shared some statistics with us on miscarriages. The chance of a miscarriage is the lowest at 10-15% for women between the ages of 20 to 30. This keeps increasing with the woman’s age. Between the ages of 35 to 40, this rises to 38%. Above the age of 40, there is a 70% chance of a miscarriage.
This increase is because a woman’s cells age over time. Babies are made from their mothers’ cells, and if those cells have reduced vitality, the baby may not be healthy, causing the mother to have a miscarriage. It is purely biological and contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with “nazar” or superstitions.
Meghan Markle opening up about her miscarriage breaks the taboo surrounding pregnancy loss. Here’s why we need to openly talk about miscarriage:
Miscarriages happen due to biological and medical defects, which everyone on this planet is subject to. It does not depend on your caste, how well known you are or how much money you have. It can literally happen to anybody. Celebrities like Kajol, Gauri Khan, Chrissy Teigen and Beyoncé have also had miscarriages.
Just like Indian society, the British Royal family is very secretive and have a history of being conservative as well. Publicly speaking about a miscarriage is unusual as it is considered a shame and a taboo. When the fact of the matter is, it’s extremely common! Meghan Markle says,
Despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.
A miscarriage is a loss of life. You can’t just “get over it”. It takes time to heal and recover, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is trauma after all. Meghan Markle says,
I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his (Prince Harry‘s) knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.
By speaking about it, we will normalise it. We’ll help others and ourselves come out stronger. Grief can be a mean monster, and one way to tame it is not to fight it alone. Justifying her need to write about her miscarriage, not just for herself, but other women in the same position as her, Meghan Markle says,
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.
The loss of a child doesn’t just affect the mother, but also the father. You’re hurting and so is your husband. In India, most men are often forced to conform to society’s idea of masculinity. They shy away from showing pain and are forced to put on a brave face. Throughout her article, Meghan Markle refers to the pain as something both Prince Harry and she suffered together. She says,
Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?”
Meghan Markle opening up about her miscarriage is brave and inspirational. Miscarriages don’t make you weaker or bring you shame. They simply make you human.
What are your views on Meghan Markle’s revelation? Share it with us in the comments below.