“They both seemed shocked at how painful it was," a source tells PEOPLE

By Michelle Tauber and Simon Perry
December 02, 2020 08:00 AM
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In Meghan Markle’s searingly honest essay about her recent miscarriage, she described the “unbearable grief” she and Prince Harry experienced. “I tried to imagine how we’d heal,” she wrote.

Today the couple is doing just that — and they hope that by sharing their story of pregnancy loss, they can help others who are struggling to feel less alone.

“They kept their miscarriage private for months because it was very painful and not anything that they knew if they would ever want to share,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

“They both seemed shocked at how painful it was. Meghan was ready to share now because so many women go through the same thing in silence,” the source adds.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

The confessional op-ed was a departure from royal norms, which dictate minimal disclosures of private pain. And her decision to share her loss and encourage compassion has furthered the conversation around pregnancy loss.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: Shutterstock

“She talked about the taboo of miscarriage," says Ruth Bender Atik, national director of the Miscarriage Association in the U.K. “And I know that’s something that concerns a lot of people. And she talked about her feelings of both physical and emotional pain — for Harry too. It’s important to realize that partners are affected.”

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie
| Credit: Henk Kruger/AP/Shutterstock

As they share their grief they are also embracing joy. As Meghan, Harry and their 19-month-old son Archie prepared to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in America last week, they gathered vegetables from their garden to use in a meal they cooked at home in Montecito, California.

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“They are doing well,” a friend tells PEOPLE. “They are in good health.”3

“They took the time off just to focus on family,” says the source, who adds that Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, visited over the holiday weekend, “which always makes Meghan happy.”