As expected, the reactions to Meghan Markle’s New York Times opinion piece and the news of her miscarriage in July have run the gamut from “restore my faith in humanity” to “make me want to jump into a volcano”.
Just to be super clear, if you’re someone who has 1) claimed that Meghan made up her pregnancy and subsequent pregnancy loss; 2) said that you think it’s for the best that she suffered a miscarriage; or 3) said anything about Meghan’s age and/or ability to have another child, you can stop reading right now. I don’t want you here. Please unfollow me and take a good, long look in the mirror. Some of the things I’ve seen written in the last 24 hours have made me furious/want to cry. I might have opinions on whether Meghan Markle’s career or PR strategies are effective, but I also think that she’s a human being with hopes and fears and I’m not going to put up with people treating her like an animal or a villain when all she was trying to do was have a child. Enough.
And let’s not forget this very important point:
Reactions from the royals
Some people are upset because of Buckingham Palace’s response when asked for public comment about Meghan’s article and miscarriage news. The palace responded that it was “a deeply personal matter we would not comment on.” That makes sense to me. Just saying “no comment” would sound cold. Commenting further would colour the story and then people would argue that Buckingham Palace was trying to gain sympathy for themselves out of Meghan’s news. So a “this is a deeply personal matter that we would not comment on” strikes the right balance to me. We’ve seen it, we feel for her, we’re respecting her privacy. Done.
Apparently individual members of the royal family have also been kind and concerned. Will and Charles have kept in touch with the Sussexes in California. Nothing has been confirmed, but I can see Kate having sent flowers or a card to Meghan. Plus, Kate visited pregnancy and child loss charity Tommy’s in October and was clearly moved by the visit. Did she plan that trip to Tommy’s after having heard about Meghan’s news? We’ll probably never know, but either way both Kate and Meghan shining a light on pregnancy and baby loss has helped a lot of people.
Grieving people can smile and go on Zoom calls
I’ve also seen a lot of negative feedback from people saying that Meghan couldn’t possibly have gone through something as tragic as a miscarriage because she appeared on Zoom conference calls in July. She took part in conversations! She put on a colourful top! She smiled! HOW DARE SHE?!!
I have some news for you: grieving people, especially people who have been pregnant and then have lost the pregnancy, can be very good at acting like everything is normal. And this is for two reasons.
The first: people who can get pregnant (mostly but not all women – let’s not forget about our trans/nonbinary/gender nonconforming family) are tough as nails. They are able to do things that seem impossible. Looking like they’re not suffering can be a part of that; and
The second: THEY FEEL THEY HAVE TO PRETEND EVERYTHING IS NORMAL BECAUSE IF THEY DON’T, PEOPLE WILL WRITE ABOUT IT ON THE INTERNET AND SAY HOW THEY’RE EITHER WEAK AND FALLING APART OR “SUSPICIOUSLY HAPPY”.
Society teaches us that miscarrying or losing a child is unnatural, that there must be something wrong with you if that happened to you (neither of which is true). So most people hide it and put on a brave face. But then if someone does choose to break the silence, they’re judged for smiling once five months ago or wearing orange or any other number of things that has nothing to do with anything. Grieving people can laugh. Grieving people can (and are expected to!!!!!! We usually don’t give them a choice!!!!) go to work.
And when they are at work, they can give comments on a Zoom call just like anyone else. You see how messed up this is? People who miscarry are either nonexistent in the world or if they reveal themselves, people see them as villains for doing the normal things that they are expected to do. It’s bullshit. Rant over.
Thanks for reading. Sign up to my newsletter or throw me some coffee money here. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Don’t be a jerk. Sending so much love to the people who have experienced pregnancy or child loss and are now seeing it everywhere.