Miscarriage: How Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen Are Raising Awareness
According to the March of Dimes, for every 100 pregnant women in a room, between 10 and 15 of them will experience a miscarriage. In this article, Author, Writer & Mother of Two, Summer Land, looks at how Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Chrissy Teigen are working to raise awareness surrounding miscarriage, therefore giving parents permission to grieve and heal openly and with society’s support.
I was standing at my kitchen counter when a friend sent me Chrissy Teigen’s Medium essay about losing her son, Jack. Before I could even finish the first sentence I had tears in my eyes. My mom, who was sitting across from me, looked up with a concerned look on her face and asked me why I was crying.
‘Chrissy Teigen has written about losing her son.’
I then read each of Chrissy’s stigma-breaking words out loud. Together, my mom and I sobbed. I showed her the black and white photos Chrissy had from the hospital. As the mother of two children, my mind and heart spiraled into a ball of empathy and sympathy. That day, I thought a lot about each of my friends and family members who’ve experienced this type of unfathomable loss.
I thought of their tears, their drawn out D&Cs, their need to avoid social media, their unwanted jealousy of those who have had healthy baby after healthy baby. I also thought about how much messed-up stuff was said to them. Things like, “Oh, this was God’s plan.” or “Well, it’s not really that big a deal because it happened before 12 weeks.” or “You can just make another.” As a woman who has not experienced a miscarriage or infant-loss, I don’t want to say that I have any clue just how deep that cut goes. But as a decent human being, I can imagine it’s pretty damn deep and frankly a type of rhetoric that desperately needs to change.
Fast forward to this week and I was, yet again, sent an essay that would instantly make me cry. In the New York Times, Meghan, The Duchess
of Sussex wrote a piece titled, ‘The Losses We Share.’ What started with her heartbreaking account of experiencing a sharp pain and then ultimately miscarrying her child evolved into an empowering reflection on the current political state of the US and human nature in general. The glaring reality of living amidst a pandemic and a polarizing election is that people who need compassion, companionship and a simple, “Are you okay?” asked are unlikely to get it.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. 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 also said,
“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.”
As someone who experienced a trauma a year ago, (that I’m still not yet strong enough to write or talk about), Meghan’s last two words, ‘solitary mourning,’ hit me hard. Through many therapy sessions, I’ve learned to cope and manage my grief and anxiety on a daily basis. With that being said, I long for the day that more people openly talk about trauma because the truth is: I do want to talk about it. I want to cry with a stranger on the street when I’m feeling overwhelmed or off. I want to share my story so others can learn from it without the fear of a comment puncturing my already wounded soul. Basically, I want to live in a world with more Meghans and Chrissys.
These women lead fiercely, they act bravely and speak powerfully. I know I sound like a celebrity fan-girl and SO WHAT! These are two people who are going to help parents around the world change the way they heal from enduring the unbearable and for that, I am forever grateful. Their essays are undoubtedly giving women around the world permission to mourn openly, which is exactly what’s needed to normalize what is sadly normal.
As a daughter, sister, wife, friend, mentor and acquaintance, I look forward to continue learning from women like Meghan and Chrissy. I also look forward to asking, Are you okay? to a whole lot more people.
Read more on pregnancy complications and infant loss