Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister's wife, has taken the painful step of revealing that she suffered a miscarriage at the start of the year in the hope that "sharing her grief" will help others.
Mrs Johnson, who married her husband at a private ceremony at Westminster Abbey at the end of May, said the miscarriage had left her "heartbroken".
She has revealed that she is now pregnant again , news that she described as leaving her "like a bag of nerves".
The 33-year-old, whose son Wilfred is 14 months old, said she felt "incredibly blessed" to have become pregnant so soon after her miscarriage, adding in a post on social media: "Hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas."
Explaining in a post on Instagram why she had decided to make the news of her loss public, Ms Johnson stated: "Fertility issues can be really hard for many people, particularly when on platforms like Instagram it can look like everything is only ever going well.
"I found it a real comfort to hear from people who had also experienced loss so I hope that in some very small way sharing this might help others too."
Mrs Johnson also posted a photograph of a decoration in the shape of a baby's pram.
Miscarriage charities said her decision to make her private grief public served as a sobering reminder that more than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage – probably around a quarter of a million in the UK each year.
Most miscarriages happen in the first three months of pregnancy – but experts warn that they can happen up to the 24th week.
Support groups said many people who had gone through a similar experience of miscarriage would find it helpful that someone of Mrs Johnson's standing had chosen to speak of her anguish.
Ruth Bender Atik, the national director of the Miscarriage Association, told The Telegraph: "It can really help when someone in the public eye talks of their experience of miscarriage because it reminds us that its not only horribly common, but also that it affects people across the spectrum, whatever their circumstances or social standing.
"Carrie talks about it being heartbreaking and it’s significant she talks about that aspect in public because that is something that so many people feel, including men."
Ms Bender Atik added: "It's also significant she talks about her miscarriage now, when she is probably half way through her new pregnancy and perhaps feels a bit more secure. People often don’t talk about being pregnant after a miscarriage because they still feel very nervous and it’s encouraging and helpful that Carrie is doing so."
Mrs Johnson was last seen in public when she accompanied her husband to England’s Euro 2020 clash with Denmark at Wembley on July 7 and a week later at the G7 summit, when she was photographed with Mr Johnson at Carbis Bay.
News of her miscarriage comes after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex revealed in November last year that she had miscarried the previous July.
Writing in an article for the New York Times she described feeling “an almost unbearable grief”, adding: "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
She went on to describe how she watched “my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine”.
The Duchess wrote that “loss and pain have plagued every one of us in 2020” and urged people to “commit to asking others, ‘are you OK?'” over the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
At the time a source close to the Duchess said the couple wanted to talk about what happened to her after having come to appreciate how common miscarriage is.
That came shortly after the US model Chrissy Teigen, the partner of singer John Legend, drew both praise and criticism on social media for posting a photograph of herself in hospital taken after she had suffered a miscarriage.
The striking black and white image showed her sitting on a hospital bed in tears. In the accompanying caption Ms Teigen described being in "the kind of pain we've never felt before".
In April last year Mrs Johnson, who was in the late stages of a previous pregnancy at the time, revealed she was suffering from Covid symptoms and was isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple's dog Dilyn.
At the time she tweeted: "I've spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of coronavirus. I haven't needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I'm on the mend.
"Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying. To other pregnant women, please do read and follow the most up-to- date guidance which I found to be v reassuring."
At the end of that month it was announced that she had given birth to a "healthy" baby boy at a London hospital.
The couple named their first child Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, after Mr Johnson’s grandfather and Mrs Johnson’s grandfather. Mrs Johnson said that the middle name Nicholas was a tribute to two NHS doctors, Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart, who "saved Boris" life last month’ following his personal fight against Covid.
Shortly after Mrs Johnson published a picture of herself cradling the newborn Wilfred on her social media. In September the couple held a private baptism for their son just days before new lockdown restrictions on social gatherings came into force.
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