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The Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she suffered an abortion earlier this year. In a personal account published Wednesday in The New York Times, former Meghan Markle said she had been pregnant and expecting her second child with Prince Harry when a “sharp seizure” overwhelmed her in July.
She was about to unpack a diaper change on Archie, their 18-month-old son.
“I fell to the floor with him in my arms and hummed a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful melody a stark contrast to my feeling that something was wrong,” she recalled. “I knew when I grabbed my firstborn baby that I was losing my second.”
The 39-year-old Duchess said she had finally decided to reveal these intimate details as a way to help her own healing process – and potentially help others who have quietly suffered similar destruction privately.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief experienced by many but few talked about. In pain at our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered of abortion, “she said.
“Despite the dizzying prevalence of this pain,” she added, “the conversation remains taboo, imbued with (unjustified) shame and the maintenance of a cycle of lonely grief.”
About 10% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage within 20 weeks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, while others estimate an ever-increasing number. In a 2015 study, journal Obstetricians and gynecologists found that almost half felt guilty among those who had abortions and their partners; about a quarter of them said they felt ashamed.
The tragedy came amid a tumultuous year for the Duchess, who, along with Harry, 36, announced earlier this year that they would “resign” as working members of the British royal family.
The couple moved to Southern California, where they have also mounted a lengthy legal effort pushing back against the intrusion into tabloid media into their lives. They have sued over several alleged violations of their privacy, including a lawsuit filed in late July to stop the posting of a photo of their young son.
Even in the midst of this unwanted attention, the Duchess noted in her play on Wednesday that all too often people suffer from their personal tragedies in silence. She folded her own experience into those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19; suffered from police violence this year or struggled with the general anxiety that a nation felt politically and culturally at odds with itself.
“Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when a person speaks the truth, it gives license to all of us to do the same. We have learned that when people ask how we are doing and when they really listen to the answer with an open heart and mind, the burden of grief often becomes easier – for all of us, “wrote the Duchess.
“When we are invited to share our pain, we take together the first steps toward healing.”