Prince Harry Points to Stress, Tabloids as Factors in Meghan Markle’s Miscarriage


]This article deals with an account of miscarriage that could be triggering for some readers.

“Harry & Meghan,” a new Netflix docuseries on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, premiered this week, and already the couple’s candid conversations on royal life, media, and their relationship are surprising viewers.

In volume two of the series, released Dec. 15, Prince Harry opened up about wife Markle’s miscarriage, which he asserts was a result of the tabloids’ invasive presence in their lives.

In 2019, Markle elected to take legal action against British conservative tabloid The Mail on Sunday (a sister paper to the Daily Mail), based on Markle’s claim that the paper unlawfully published one of her private letters, per the BBC. At the time, Prince Harry released a statement saying, “The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question . . . There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives.”

Markle eventually won her case in January 2020 for copyright infringement and received a symbolic £1 in damages from The Mail on Sunday, as well as a formal apology from the publisher.

In the docuseries, Prince Harry said, “I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did.”

“Now do we absolutely know that the miscarriage was created caused by that? Of course, we don’t,” he clarified, per People. “[But] bearing in mind the stress that caused the lack of sleep and the timing of the pregnancy, how many weeks in she was, I can say from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her.”

It’s very plausible that the situation with the Mail caused a lot of stress and suffering on Markle’s part – but can stress cause a miscarriage? Medical organizations say no. Miscarriage, defined as the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week, is usually caused by developmental issues in the fetus (often chromosomal abnormalities that the parent has no control over), according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a common misconception to link miscarriage to “your emotional state during pregnancy, such as being stressed or depressed,” but there is no link between the two, the UK National Health Services says. And “while excessive stress isn’t good for your overall health, there’s no evidence that stress results in miscarriage,” the Mayo Clinic confirms.

There’s often so much shame and stigma around miscarriage, and attributing the loss of pregnancy to stress can shift the focus – or fault – onto the birthing parent. The World Health Organization notes that the general advice to prevent miscarriage chiefly concerns lifestyle changes (maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, limiting caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and smoking, as well as controlling stress), but this “places the emphasis on lifestyle factors, which, in the absence of specific answers, can lead to women feeling guilty that they have caused their miscarriage.” In reality, miscarriage can happen for many reasons that have nothing to do with the birthing parent’s behaviors.

Markle has made her own courageous effort to fight the stigma, penning an essay for The New York Times in November 2020 titled “The Losses We Share,” in which she opened up about her experience miscarrying. “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” Markle wrote. “Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

]This article deals with an account of miscarriage that could be triggering for some readers.

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