Meghan Markle lifted 'taboo' on miscarriage, say charities

Meghan Markle's piece described how Prince Harry was suffering and expressed grief despite already having a child. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - British charities helping families deal with miscarriages on Wednesday praised Meghan Markle for lifting a taboo with a first-person essay about her miscarriage in July in the New York Times.

"I just applaud Meghan for showing the courage to share their story so beautifully and eloquently," said Ms Zoe Clark-Coates, head of the Mariposa Trust, which supports people who have had miscarriages or lost children.

"It gives people insight into a subject that is often not discussed and brought into the light," said Ms Clark-Coates, who has written books about grief and pregnancy.

Every time a celebrity talks about miscarriage or a story line in a TV show covers the subject, "we see a massive surge in people asking for support", she told AFP.

She also praised Markle's piece for describing how Prince Harry was suffering as a father and for expressing grief despite the couple already having a child, Archie, born last year.

Some couples feel they cannot talk about their pain after a miscarriage if they have a healthy child, she said. "It's making people feel less alone," she said.

She likened the impact of the publication to an Instagram post by American model Chrissy Teigen in October that showed her grief-stricken in hospital after her son was stillborn.

The post published last month was "liked" more than 11 million times but was also criticised by some as overly shocking and intimate.

Markle's opinion piece comes after Prince Harry and his brother William have talked about the need to be open about mental health issues.

"I'm not surprised they've been brave enough to do this," said Ms Clark-Coates.

Roughly one in five - 250,000 pregnancies - end in miscarriage every year in the UK, according to Tommy's, a charity which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

"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," said Ms Sophie King, a midwife at the charity.

"Her honesty and openness today send a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: this may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone."

The stigma around miscarriage prevents many people from asking for support, said Ms Karen Burgess, chief executive of Petals, a charity that offers counselling to people who have lost a baby.

She praised Markle's "frank, raw account", saying: "We hope this opens the door for more couples to feel they can do the same."

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