How Zara Tindall paved the way for Meghan Markle by being the first royal to bravely speak about miscarriage11/25/2020
MEGHAN Markle today shared the heartbreaking news that she and Prince Harry suffered a miscarriage with their second child.
The Duchess of Sussex shared the tragic news in an article for the New York Times titled “The Losses We Share” – and there is one member of the royal family who is all too aware of that loss.
Zara Tindall was the first member of the royal family to speak openly about miscarriage when she lost two babies following the birth of her eldest daughter Mia, six.
The Queen’s granddaughter, who is married to rugby captain Mike Tindall, revealed in 2016 that her second pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage.
And two years later the mum-of-two opened up about the loss in an interview with the Sunday Times, revealing she had suffered a second miscarriage before the birth of her youngest, Lena, two.
She said at the time: “I think you need to go through a period where you don’t talk about it because it’s too raw.
“But, as with everything, time’s a great healer.”
Speaking of her first miscarriage she explained that difficulty came with it being public.
Zara said: “In our case, it was something that was really rare; it was nature saying, ‘This one’s not right.’
“I had to go through having the baby because it was so far along.”
When she lost the second baby, the couple were able to mourn in private
Zara’s brave decision to speak publicly about her double loss was praised by Ruth Bender-Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association.
She said: “We are getting better at talking about what is still something of a taboo subject so it can be helpful; when someone in the public eye discusses their own experience as Zara Tindall has done.”
Zara’s hubby Mike, the former Gloucester Rugby and England captain, said about miscarriage last year: “One thing you do learn is how many other people have to go through the same thing.
“The saving grace for us has been Mia. However down we feel, she will come running up in our faces.”
As with everything, time’s a great healer
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, wrote of the moment she knew she was "losing" her second baby in a deeply personal essay for the New York Times.
Recalling the devastating morning in July, the duchess said she had been looking after her son Archie, who would have been about 14-months-old at the time, when she felt a "sharp cramp".
Meghan said she had decided to speak out about her loss because miscarriage was still a taboo subject which led to a "cycle of solitary mourning".
And in the essay, Meghan spoke of the importance of sharing pain, saying "together we can take the first steps towards healing".
What is a miscarriage and how common are they?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 24 weeks in the UK, and 20 weeks in the US.
After this point, a pregnancy loss is classed as a stillbirth.
Sadly, miscarriages are common with most happening in the first three months – the first trimester.
An estimated one in eight pregnancies will end in miscarriage, according to the NHS.
But, in many cases a miscarriage will happen before a woman knows she's pregnant.
It is important to know miscarriages rarely happen because of something you did, or didn't do. In most cases, doctors don't know what causes the loss, which makes it very hard to prevent them.
However, there are lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of a miscarriage, according to the charity Tommy's.
They include not smoking, eating a healthy, balanced diet, losing weight before pregnancy if you're overweight or obese, trying to avoid infections in pregnancy like rubella, not drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs, staying active and limiting caffeine intake.
The risk of miscarriage does also increase with age, according to Tommy's.
Women under 30 have a 10 per cent chance of miscarriage, which doubles to 20 per cent for women aged 35 to 39. For those over the age of 45, the risk is 50 per cent.
The most common sign of miscarriage is bleeding, but cramping, a discharge of fluid or tissue from your vagina and no longer 'feeling' pregnant are also symptoms.
Many women will notice light bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy, but if you are worried it is important to speak to your midwife or hospital straight away.
Losing a baby is a deeply personal experience that affects people differently.
No matter when in your pregnancy you suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth, support is available from hospital counselling services as well as Tommy's and other charity groups.
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