In a powerful personal essay in the New York Times on Nov. 25, Meghan Markle revealed that she had a miscarriage this past July. The Duchess of Sussex opened up in a way that is rare for the royals, writing about the painful morning she lost her child and highlighting the importance of checking in on those around us during difficult times.
"After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp," she wrote in the op-ed, referring to her first son with Prince Harry, Archie. "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. I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second." She went on to write about her difficult time spent in the hospital, mourning the loss with her husband and trying to imagine how to heal.
Markle then recalled the moment when journalist Tom Bradby asked her, “Are you OK?" in an interview and continued on to explain that it "wasn’t responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself," she said. "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?'"
The Duchess continued on to discuss the isolation of the experience, and how this simple act of checking in can make the load of grief become a little lighter. "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," she wrote, again encouraging people to ask how those around them are doing — and to really listen when they answer. "In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing."
Markle ended the essay reminding readers to keep these thoughts in mind as everyone heads into the holiday season and the difficult year that was 2020 comes to an end and. "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?'”