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Duchess reveals she had a miscarriage

LONDON (AP) — The Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she had a miscarriage in July, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others.

Meghan described the miscarriage in an opinion piece in the New York Times on Wednesday, writing that “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”

The former Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry have an 18-month-old son, Archie.

The duchess, 39, said she was sharing her story to help break the silence around an all-too-common tragedy. Britain’s National Health Service says about one in eight pregnancies in which a woman is aware she is pregnant ends in miscarriage.

“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” Meghan wrote.

“In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.”

In a startlingly intimate account of her experience, the duchess described how tragedy struck on a “morning that began as ordinarily as any other day: Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins. Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table. Throw my hair in a ponytail before getting my son from his crib.

“After changing his 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.”

Later, she said, she “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.”

Sophie King, a midwife at U.K. child-loss charity Tommy’s, said miscarriage and stillbirth remained “a real taboo in society, so mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame.”

“Her honesty and openness today send a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: This may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone,” King said.

Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son was born the following year.

Early this year, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.

The duchess is currently suing the publisher of Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper for invasion of privacy over articles that published parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her wedding.

Last month a judge in London agreed to Meghan’s request to postpone the trial from January until fall 2021. The decision followed a hearing held in private, and the judge said the reason for the delay request should be kept confidential.

Obama to be honored by PEN America

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Barack Obama, already a million-selling author, is also a prize-winning author.

PEN America announced Wednesday that Obama will receive its second annual Voice of Influence Award in recognition of how his writings “have traversed political, social, and ideological bounds and framed a self-reflective humanism that has marked his influence on public life.”

Obama, whose memoir “A Promised Land” came out last week, will be honored Dec. 8 at the literary and human rights organization’s annual gala, to be held virtually because of the coronavirus.

During the ceremony, Obama and historian Ron Chernow, a former PEN board president, will discuss freedom of expression and the importance of truth in a world of misinformation.

Obama’s previous books include “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.”

“As an organization of writers, we have always seen President Obama not just as a leader, but as one of us: an author. His probing and evocative narratives helped introduce the world to his unique background, and the power of his life experience as a prompt toward a more pluralistic and encompassing society,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.

PEN presented its first Voice of Influence Award in 2019 to filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

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