LONDON (AP) - The Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she had a miscarriage in July, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others.
Meghan described the miscarriage in an opinion piece in the New York Times on Wednesday, writing that "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second."
The former Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry have an 18-month-old son, Archie.
The duchess, 39, said she was sharing her story to help break the silence around an all-too-common tragedy. Britain's National Health Service says about one in eight pregnancies in which a woman is aware she is pregnant ends in miscarriage.
"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few," Meghan wrote.
"In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing."
In a startlingly intimate account of her experience, the duchess described how tragedy struck on a "morning that began as ordinarily as any other day: Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins. Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table. Throw my hair in a ponytail before getting my son from his crib.
"After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. 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."
Later, she said, she "lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."
Sophie King, a midwife at U.K. child-loss charity Tommy's, said miscarriage and stillbirth remained "a real taboo in society, so mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame."
"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," King said.
Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama "Suits," married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son was born the following year.
Early this year, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.
The duchess is currently suing the publisher of Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper for invasion of privacy over articles that published parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her wedding.
Last month a judge in London agreed to Meghan's request to postpone the trial from January until fall 2021. The decision followed a hearing held in private, and the judge said the reason for the delay request should be kept confidential.