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Meghan Markle, Chrissy Teigen, and the particular cruelty of trolling a woman about her miscarriage.

This post deals with miscarriage and might be triggering for some readers. 

This week, Meghan Markle published an op-ed in The New York Times, sharing that she had a miscarriage earlier this year.

In the personal essay, the Duchess of Sussex shared that she knew she was losing her second child after experiencing a cramp back in July. 

"After changing [Archie's] 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," she wrote. 

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

"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."

Meghan speaks about her struggles in Meghan and Harry: An African Journey. Post continues below.


Video via ITV.

In the piece, the 39-year-old stated that while losing a child is sadly a common experience, it's one that is still not talked about nearly enough. 

"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. 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 shared.

"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. 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 the hours after the personal essay was published, the comments started rolling in thick and fast. 

On Twitter and popular gossip forum Tattle Life, social media users picked Meghan's essay to pieces, critiquing every single sentence.

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Some users questioned why the Duchess of Sussex had chosen to share her story publicly.

"Didn't she want total privacy? Make up your mind," one social media user wrote.

"Attention seeking psycho," another wrote.

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Others deemed that Meghan's essay was "fake" and a "PR stunt".

"This is total bullsh*t. It's part of her PR drive to stop negative press. I feel she is totally hollow inside. She cares only for her public image," one person wrote.

"This is a distraction technique to get sympathy," another claimed.

It was a familiar narrative.

Just last month, Chrissy Teigen shared a raw post on Instagram about losing her son, Jack, at 20 weeks gestation.

In the weeks prior, Chrissy had posted frequently while she was in hospital on bed rest, sharing with her followers her experience with partial placental abruption, which affects the baby’s supply of nutrients and oxygen.

"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before," the 34-year-old model shared.

"We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough."

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After sharing her most vulnerable moments with the world, thousands of women commended the actress and model for being so open about an experience that so many women have – and will – face. An experience so few talk about.

But so too came the trolls.

Among the condolences and the outpourings of love, there were mutterings of negativity and hate.

"Why did Chrissy Teigen take a photo right after losing her baby? Who does something like that? The hospital photo after losing your baby is about as narcissistic as you can get," one Twitter user wrote.

"This has to be staged," another claimed.

In the weeks after she shared those vulnerable photos, Chrissy responded to her detractors in an essay shared on Medium.

She wrote: "I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos. How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me."

Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen are not strangers when it comes to trolling.

While Chrissy Teigen has been long targeted by Trump supporters and QAnon followers on Twitter, Meghan Markle was labelled the most trolled person on social media in the entire world last year following her decision alongside Prince Harry to step back as senior members of the Royal Family.

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But there's a particular cruelty in trolling a woman about her miscarriage. 

Two powerful, influential women have shared their intimate experiences of grief online. They've shared their heartache and their trauma with the world. And in response, they've been met with cruel claims and insults. Spiteful words like "karma" and "attention seeking", and baseless claims that their grief is simply a "PR stunt".

As writer and historian Professor Kate Williams wrote on Twitter: "Something is so wrong with us as a society when a woman is attacked for writing honestly about baby loss."

But there's something the trolls are missing.

As Chrissy Teigen wrote in her powerful Medium essay: "These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me." 

Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen's stories aren't for those of us who haven't experienced miscarriage. They're for the people who need them.

It's their voices that are slowly changing the public tone around miscarriage. 

After all, when women in the public eye open up about their own losses, it helps women who are facing the same grief to reach out for support and open the dialogue. There's power in their stories.

But when trolls attack women like Meghan and Chrissy for sharing their stories, it becomes clear why so many women are forced to suffer in silence.

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As Jameela Jamil wrote, "When you criticise for Meghan for discussing miscarriage because it's 'too personal' for her to share, you're enabling the culture of silence around the issue that keeps so many people in a state of shame/guilt/loneliness/misinformation."

When trolls attack women like Meghan and Chrissy for discussing miscarriage, they're not just attacking two public figures.

They're doing a disservice to all women, and the stories we carry with us.

Feature Image: Getty.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

You can download Never Forgotten: Stories of love, loss and healing after miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death for free here.

Join the community of women, men and families who have lost a child in our private Facebook group.

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