In a powerful essay for the New York Times, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, revealed the trauma she and her husband Prince Harry suffered as a result of a pregnancy loss last July.
The duchess describes the moment she knew she was losing her unborn child.
“I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor…I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she wrote. “Hours later, I 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.”
The duchess, who has a 19-month-old son, Archie said she was publicizing her grief to help others who have suffered similarly.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few," she wrote.
It is not known how many weeks Meghan was into her pregnancy when the loss occurred.
Early pregnancy loss, or miscarriage, occurs during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, known as the first trimester. It happens in about 10% of known pregnancies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Others have recently been raising awareness of what it means to lose a child during pregnancy, and breaking down any potential stigma attached to such loss.
Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend shared very raw photos of Teigen in the hospital as they suffered the loss of their son, Jack.
"I didn't know that we could experience this grief and also share it, but when we did it really meant so much to so many people," Legend told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Michael Strahan in an interview that aired Tuesday on "GMA." "And it was such a powerful experience for me to learn that. I'm just grateful that my wife was courageous enough to do it."
The Duchess’s editorial echoes these sentiments.
"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few," Meghan wrote. "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," she added.
She also thanked people like Teigen who have spoken out about their own experiences with pregnancy loss.
"Some have bravely shared their stories; they have opened the door, knowing that when one person speaks truth, it gives license for all of us to do the same," she wrote. "We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing, and when they really listen to the answer, with an open heart and mind, the load of grief often becomes lighter — for all of us. In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing."
In addition to sharing pain, Meghan wrote that it is important to ask people how they are doing. She recalled a high-profile moment last year when, while filming a documentary of her visit to South Africa with Prince Harry, she responded to a journalist's question of, 'Are you OK?,' by saying that not many people had asked her that question.
"I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many — new moms and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering," she wrote. "My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn’t responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself."
"Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?,'" she wrote.
Meghan also touches on the coronavirus pandemic and the social unrest in the U.S. following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“A young woman named Breonna Taylor goes to sleep, just as she’s done every night before, but she doesn’t live to see the morning because a police raid turns horribly wrong. George Floyd leaves a convenience store, not realizing he will take his last breath under the weight of someone’s knee, and in his final moments, calls out for his mom," she wrote. "Peaceful protests become violent. Health rapidly shifts to sickness. In places where there was once community, there is now division.”
She concludes the article by asking for everyone to pull together over the holiday season.
"So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for a holiday unlike any before — many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for — let us commit to asking others, 'Are you OK?,'" she wrote. "As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.”
"We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another," she wrote. "Are we OK? We will be."
A source close to the Sussex’s explaining the timing of Wednesday's editorial said the couple now felt ready to share their news.
ABC News also understands that the rest of the royal family were aware of the situation and the couple’s desire to talk about it and that there is understandable sadness in the family.
Buckingham Palace has not issued an official comment in response to the news being made public.
"This is a deeply personal matter which we would not comment on," a Buckingham Palace spokesman told ABC News.
Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family earlier this year. The couple now lives in California with their son Archie.