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November 25, 2020

The Power of a Woman’s Grieving Voice.

From Meghan Markle’s article in the New York Times today about her miscarriage:

“It was a July 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.

I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”

One out of four women know this experience intimately with or without holding a child in their arms.

As I read her words, I too remember the sharp pain, the instinctive nature that I knew something was wrong, the drive to the hospital, the D+E operation, and coming home without your baby and a hole that quickly swallows you up.

Meghan shares about a grief that has changed her and Harry’s life forever and it will also change their son’s life as well. He will now have parents who know the grief and pain of losing a child, who are now different because of it, and who will need to find strength somewhere to parent and love him as they grieve his sibling.

Parenting after loss is layered and difficult within a journey that is already challenging—from finding moments to honour your grief while staying connected to the baby in your arms to the times when grief takes over and you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, but you still need to be present for your child.

The anxiety, the emotional toll it takes on your spirit, finding time for self-care and compassion when you are also managing a small human’s tantrums and lust for life—it’s all so layered. 

What resonated the most for me as a mother parenting after loss is how Meghan’s voice reminded me that as a grieving woman, my voice is power and almost an act of rebellion. I appreciate that Meghan is using her voice to share her pain and grief in a world that has conditioned women to stay silent, to suffer alone in their motherhood journey.

Regardless if you like her or not, Meghan is using her voice. A voice of a woman and a mother. A voice that is usually silenced when there is grief and pain involved. A voice that has been conditioned by society to not talk about painful experiences or share grief. A woman’s voice that has been told to stay strong, keep it inside, and save face.

Meghan and other celebrities who share about their miscarriages and losses show other women that we still have a choice to share or not to share, and when to share.

I watched three news stations this morning sharing her article today, and more than once there was the question of why she shared now and how deep and touching her words were. This tells me that first, miscarriages and pregnancy loss are still stigmatized. Secondly, she can share this anytime she wants—she is a grieving mother.

Newsflash: grief doesn’t have a timeline.

And if you have experienced a pregnancy loss or are parenting after a loss, I do hope that you feel seen through her article as I have. I read her words and can feel a sense of collective knowing and agreement because yes this grief is hard, yes so many women experience this, and yes it’s okay to say that you aren’t doing well.

 

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