Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, said in 2016 that she had lost a baby in 2011. In the royal family, Zara Tindall, the queen’s granddaughter, said in 2018 she had suffered two miscarriages.
Leaders of three charities that offer support to parents after miscarriages said on Wednesday that they see significant spikes in people seeking help whenever a public figure speaks out. Losing a child is often an isolating experience, and the attention public figures bring to the subject makes people feel less alone, they said.
“People suddenly admit to themselves and others that they’re hurting and they’re in pain,” said Zoe Clark-Coates, chief executive of the Mariposa Trust, a London-based charity.
Experts say the taboo is narrowing as more people speak out, but there remains a stigma that halts discussion. Going through the experience alone, or with a small circle of friends and family, tends to increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.
That effect has been magnified during the isolation required in a coronavirus pandemic, said Clea Harmer, chief executive of Sands, a London-based charity. Demand for support services has increased during the pandemic, with people less able to meet up with loved ones for companionship.
“It’s made a really sad and devastating experience even worse and even more difficult,” she said.
Many parents are turning to social media, either publicly or in closed Facebook groups, said Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association, which offers support services in the United Kingdom. She said that Meghan was “generous” to share her experience, and that the resulting discussion would help many people.
“It can be very validating for people to hear the kind of feelings they’ve experienced are experienced by other people, too — no matter what their status is,” she said.