Marginalised Voices: breaking the stigma – miscarriage and Meghan Markle’s voice

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By Lauren Taylor |

Last month, the world found out that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, suffered from a miscarriage in July. The heart wrenching piece written by the Duchess for The New York Times, titled The Losses We Share, explains her personal experience and how she knew that she was losing her second child, as well as the losses people have faced from COVID-19 and racial brutality. Unfortunately, Meghan’s story has resonated with many women across the world as miscarriages are much more common than we are led to believe. The NHS website states that it is “estimated that about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage,” which does not even account for mothers that did not even know they were pregnant in the first place. Despite how common miscarriages are, the subject still remains a taboo.

It is incredibly important that such a high-profile voice has joined the conversation surrounding miscarriages. Meghan Markle’s words amplify the thoughts and feelings of mothers across the world, whether they are in the public eye such as herself, or just a stranger we see passing us on the street. The sad reality is that miscarriages can affect anyone and occur unexpectedly, but this information is not shared with the ease it should be. Even now in 2020, families suffer this unimaginable pain privately and do not feel confident or able enough to share their stories, but hopefully the Duchess’ openness will encourage others to open up about their experience and finally break the outdated stigma surrounding miscarriages. 

Unfortunately, despite the positive outcomes of the piece, the Duchess of Sussex was still subject to online trolls hiding behind an anonymous Twitter page. However, a public figure, who has also suffered a recent miscarriage, came to her defence, calling out those who criticised the Duchess’ decision to publicise details of her miscarriage. The model and author, Chrissy Teigen, openly shared her experience of miscarriage in October. As well as her emotional tweets, Teigen shared candid photos of herself and her husband, the singer John Legend, grieving the loss of their child moments after receiving the news. 

“The sad reality is that miscarriages can affect anyone and occur unexpectedly, but this information is not shared with the ease it should be” | Ben Aird/Unsplash

Again, many online trolls slammed Teigen for sharing her deeply personal photos, telling her that this is something she should deal with privately, but this is exactly the problem that we should be trying to combat. No parent should be told how to grieve the loss of their child and no one should be telling them to be silent. If those as high profile as Chrissy Teigen and the Duchess of Sussex are being told to supress their pain, what about those without a platform who are suffering? Who can they talk to?

As the Duchess emphasises in her article and Teigen shares in her tweets, no one is alone, and that is exactly the message that should be spread. Regardless of what you are suffering from, there is always someone out there to support you, to hold your hand and help you along the way, whether that be a parent, a doctor, or a friend. For all of us, this has been a crazy, horrible, lonely year, many isolated from their friends and families, but we all know in our hearts that those close to us are still there for us, even if that is not physically. 

And to quote Meghan, “Are we OK? We will be.” 

We definitely will be. 

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The views expressed in this publication are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Falmouth University, the University of Exeter or Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union.