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I Wish I Could Have Shared My Grief With Other Women When I Had A Miscarriage

I recently read the opinion piece by Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle on what losing a child means. I could relate to it as I have experienced the same loss. I have had a couple of miscarriages and I know what she means when she writes, “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief.”

The wife of Prince Harry and former actress wrote about the experience in detail in an opinion article published in the New York Times on Wednesday, saying that it took place one July morning when she was caring for Archie, the couple’s son. The intimate details shared in the article were a surprise as it was a departure from the usual policy of senior members of the British royal family, who reveal almost nothing about their personal lives. Now with the newfound interest in the British Royals’ lives due to Netflix’s The Crown, whoever has watched it will know how the dictates of the Royal protocol force the members to hide their private lives. Markle is not alone, in 2020 celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Christina Perri too have opened up about losing a pregnancy and shared their grief.

Also Read: Chrissy Teigen Defends Meghan Markle After Troll Slams Her For Miscarriage Note

She further wrote, “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” while describing how she felt a sharp cramp after picking up Archie from his crib, and dropped to the floor with him in her arms, humming a lullaby to keep them both calm. I love the Duchess for writing this for it makes her human; it’s human to grieve a loss.

The ultimate loss

After being married for two years my spouse and I were pregnant and were looking forward to welcoming our first child. My spouse is in an all India service and we were posted in Assam at the time. The pregnancy was smooth at the beginning, but, as soon as I reached the end of the first trimester I was spotting. After rushing to see our gynaecologist, he looked grim but reassured us that sometimes this happens in normal pregnancy as well and that we should wait it out and that I should take complete bed rest. But, the spotting which later turned to bleeding did not stop. The gynaec finally advised us to go in for MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy). I remember how numb I was and I cried the night before the scheduled MTP. To bear such a loss at the age of 27 was not easy, but then when is it ever?

When I reached the hospital the next morning, the gynaec assured me that the foetus will not feel any pain as it had stopped developing. Although for the scientific world it was a foetus, for me it was my baby that I had carried for three months now. The pain was unbearable.

When the Duchess wrote, “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” I totally relate with her. Losing a pregnancy is the biggest and most painful loss for a couple. I saw my spouse grieve with me for the first time. We were married for two years only, unlike women, men take a while to adjust to the newfound responsibility of becoming a ‘dad’, so seeing him in that state was a revelation of the sensitive and emotional side of him.

As for our relatives and friends, the only thing that they said was, “You’ll are young, and you’ll be blessed again soon.” But let me tell you from personal experience that it did not help. For us, for me, having a child doesn’t mean you overcome the loss that you had experienced with a miscarriage.

The statistics

“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.” the Duchess further wrote.

According to the World Health Organization, 2.6 million babies are stillborn and an estimated 85 percent of miscarriages happen before the 12th week of pregnancy every year. According to a report in TOI, in India, in women between the ages of 20 to 25, around 15 to 16 percent pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and amongst the 30 to 35 age group, miscarriage rate increases by 18 to 22 percent. However, at the age of 40, approximately 38 percent incidences of miscarriages are reported annually. While at 45 plus the chances of miscarriage in pregnancy increases by 70 percent.

In spite of these staggering statistics, women who suffer a miscarriage are told it’s no big deal that most women suffer miscarriages like you. But it is a big deal for a woman and her spouse. It was to me. I went on to suffer another miscarriage before I could have my daughter, so I know.

Sharing can help you heal

How I wish women who suffer a loss through miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy could share their grief with others outside of their marriage and family. The spouse is there no doubt but when we speak with someone who has gone through the same trauma one gets strength. I had no one when I needed it the most as we were posted to a remote place.

Also Read: Of Loss And Shared Pain: Why Celebrities’ Miscarriage Stories Are Heartbreaking, Yet Empowering

But, yes now women have the option of visiting a counsellor or reaching out to a friend to deal with their loss if they don’t find support within their family. And, I strongly advise that
they should seek help to heal faster. On the whole, I truly believe we should be more comfortable in sharing these stories of loss and feel free to seek support. The stage of pregnancy doesn’t matter; a loss is a loss at any stage.

The views expressed are the author’s own.