The Duchess of Sussex’s miscarriage story told in her own words has sent a “powerful message” to others who have experienced the loss of a baby, medics have said.
Meghan’s recollection about losing her unborn child in July has raised awareness about “one of the most heart-breaking things a family can experience”, and sympathies have been expressed by members of the medical community as well as by royal relatives.
The duchess spoke about the physical and emotional pain she endured in a New York Times article published on Wednesday.
Harry’s uncle Earl Spencer offered his sympathy to his nephew and Meghan during an appearance on the ITV show Lorraine.
All thoughts with them today
He told the host: “I can’t imagine the agony for any couple of losing a child in this way.
“It’s so very, very sad. And of course, I totally agree with you, all thoughts with them today.”
Sophie King, a midwife at the charity Tommy’s, said the duchess’s article sent a “powerful message” to others who have been through a miscarriage that they “are not alone”.
She said: “One in four pregnancies ends in loss, but 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.
“Meghan’s essay praises the bravery of parents who share their stories, and those who prefer to grieve privately can still find comfort and connection in reading about others’ experiences.”
Following the duchess’s story, Dr Christine Ekechi of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said miscarriage “remains a taboo subject” but she would like to “welcome open discussion about miscarriage”.
She said: “Sadly, early miscarriages are very common and they can be a devastating loss for parents and their families. Up to one in five women may experience a miscarriage in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy…
“Miscarriage remains a taboo subject, despite how common it is. It is important that we remove any stigma or shame surrounding this issue and adequately support families during this time.”
Many people simply don’t know what to say when a baby has died
Clea Harmer, chief executive of stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, expressed her sympathies for Harry and Meghan and “all who have been affected by this cruellest of bereavements”.
“Going through this grief at any time is hard enough but the isolation we have all felt this year has made it even more difficult for parents whose baby has died during the Covid-19 pandemic and has brought back painful emotions for all those who have lost precious loved ones.
“Many people simply don’t know what to say when a baby has died. And because it is an ‘invisible’ loss many mothers go through miscarriage and may never reveal what happened to even their family or closest friends. But we can all make a difference simply by asking, as Meghan suggests, if someone we know is OK and by saying how sorry we are.”