“I was utterly alone” – A royal speaks about her miscarriage 47 years ago 103

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During the 1970s, miscarriages and stillbirths were often not discussed. Women were normally told by doctors to forget a child had ever been delivered, and to “move on” with their lives.

Therefore it’s important that we hear from prominent women who suffered miscarriages during those decades. Queen Sonja of Norway is now 70-years-old, and is only just opening up about her miscarriage 47 years ago.

“I remember all the strange faces that bent over me when I was going into the hospital”, Queen Sonja said in an upcoming television documentary. “It was horrid”.

At age 32, Queen Sonja’s miscarried child would have been her first-born and heir. The Norwegian public knew Queen Sonja was expecting, and it was supposed to be a joyful time.

Sadly though, she suffered her miscarriage one night after waking from painful cramps and bleeding. “Of course it was a desperate situation, I think it was absolutely horrific”, said Queen Sonja looking back.

As was typical for the time, Queen Sonja’s husband did not accompany her into the maternity ward. He was forced to wait in reception, so Queen Sonja says she felt “utterly alone”.

Though miscarriages weren’t usually publicly discussed, being royal meant that Queen Sonja was subjected to speculation about whether she could deliver another healthy baby.

“Fortunately, I was able to have more healthy children”, said Queen Sonja, who later gave birth to Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon. She now has six grandchildren.

Queen Sonja’s public discussion about miscarriages and the way women once had to face this painful topic alone is incredibly important.

As one person commented online, “speaking to my mother and grandmother I realised this happened far too often in the 70s. What a heavy burden to carry alone. I bet more women were affected than we know”.

“Good on Queen Sonja for talking about this now, even so many decades on. I hope others can do the same. and perhaps feel comforted by being more open”.

Are you surprised by Queen Sonja’s candour? Do you think it’s positive that royalty is opening up about the painful topic of miscarriages and stillbirths? Did you or someone you know have to live through this during the 1970s? Share your thoughts on this article and its photos below:

Queen Sonja and King Harald got married on 29 August 1968. She thus acquired the style of Royal Highness and the title of Crown Princess of Norway

Posted by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

From Gerhard Mundt (Norwegian Nordlandslaget facebook)17 January 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the ascension to…

Posted by Sons of Norway District 1 on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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  1. Good on her for sharing . Miscarriages are heartbreaking and we should recognise this and support the women and their family as much as possible

  2. Good on her for sharing . Miscarriages are heartbreaking and we should recognise this and support the women and their family as much as possible

    1 REPLY
  3. My mother lost a full term baby 70 years ago. It was never spoken about by the family. She was 39 when she had me three years later.

    2 REPLY
    • Sorry to hear this Jenny Tandberg. It seems many families had similar experiences back then 🙁 Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. -SaS

    • My parents lost a son in 1948, he lived for 3 days. We were never told of him and I found out when I was 54 yo by accident. My mother died when I was 10, so my father had no one to talk to about it – and I think it must have been very painful for him to watch 4 grandsons grow up and not compare how his son would be. I cry when I think about it.

  4. My mother lost a full term baby 70 years ago. It was never spoken about by the family. She was 39 when she had me three years later.

    1 REPLY
    • Sorry to hear this Jenny Tandberg. It seems many families had similar experiences back then 🙁 Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. -SaS

  5. Had multiple Miscarriages in the 80’s – just a procedure to the hospital staff and support had to be searched for afterwards like a CIA investigation 😑

    2 REPLY
    • So sorry to hear that Julie Slack 🙁 Hopefully the support mechanisms are better these days, that can’t have been easy for you though. Thinking of you. -SaS

  6. Had multiple Miscarriages in the 80’s – just a procedure to the hospital staff and support had to be searched for afterwards like a CIA investigation 😑

    2 REPLY
    • So sorry to hear that Julie Slack 🙁 Hopefully the support mechanisms are better these days, that can’t have been easy for you though. Thinking of you. -SaS

  7. I had two miscarriages in the seventies and after each one sent home told to wait 3 months and try again no support just get on with it leaves you feeling pretty depressed

    3 REPLY
    • Oh goodness Marilyn Stake, that must have been awful. You deserved better support. Thank you for sharing your story with us. -SaS

    • I had a miscarriage in the 70’s. I woke up from the anaesthetic in a side ward with 3 empty beds in it. No support as Marilyn said. I left the hospital feeling sad and took weeks to get over it.

  8. I lost my first baby when I was 34wks pregnant on Christmas Eve 1981.Then we had two amazing children 👫 One is a research scientist working on early detection of Alzhimers & Cancer in the US. The other is a photographer in London, so proud of them both 💕

    1 REPLY
    • We’re sorry to hear of your loss Sally James. What a difference your other two children have made in the world now 🙂 -SaS

  9. Yep….and the worst judges are the mothers in law who just see u as a ‘dud’…..no sympathy there….awful experience

    5 REPLY
    • Oh Heather how awful for you. It is bad enough to lose a baby but to be held responsible must make it even worse.

    • Im lucky my daughter is my best friend & would support her through anything & have, she would do the same for me.

    • one of my babies was a “failure to thrive” baby with a severe reflux. When she was put into hospital for tests my husband sad his mother said it must have been something I was doing because her babies were never sick. This despite the fact her only daughter passed away fro being overdosed with teething powders.

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