Do you feel like we talk about fertility and miscarriage enough as a society? Rebecca Medhurst thinks not, and tells us why.
You know the way more and more, as a society, we’re talking about mental health? And being open about our experiences with things like depression and anxiety and trying to understand the experiences of others? How we’re still not there yet, but we’ve improved?
Well, I really hope we get like that about fertility issues and miscarriage.
I don’t have children, but I’ve counted around 20 of my good friends that do have children or are trying to conceive. And the majority of them (that I know about) have sadly lost a baby in the first trimester, struggled to get pregnant and/or have tried IVF. The majority.
It’s been heartbreaking to see my mates go through the absolute horror of miscarriage; the devastation of desperately wanting a baby yet despite their best efforts, getting a period every month; and the absolutely draining and nerve-wracking wait to see if their second – and last – round of IVF works.
They say they feel like everyone around them is having babies, and at the click of their fingers (thank you, Facebook).
They feel their fertility issues or miscarriage makes them less of a woman, and like there’s something wrong with them.
They say they feel so alone.
Which is just the shittiest – because this isn’t just an unlucky coincidence among the people I’m close with. This is happening to women and couples a hell of a lot. According to Tommy’s, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The NHS say fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK, and in 25% of those couples struggling, there is no rhyme or reason why. They also say it’s normal for it to take up to a year to get pregnant, and longer if you are 35 and over.
But the problem is, no one really talks about it. Like with mental health 15 or 20 years ago, there are still taboos about miscarriage and problems with fertility. Like with mental health, there shouldn’t be.
The answer? I’m not sure. But I do know I’d like to see more features about the struggle to conceive in magazines, people’s honest accounts of miscarriage on social media, and celebrities speaking up about IVF. I’d like to see more charity campaigns about how common this all is. But most of all, I’d like to see my friends feel more empowered to speak up about their experiences if they choose to and, likewise, get support from others – rather than feel ashamed and isolated.
Do you have any ideas on how we can open this debate and better tackle the stigma surrounding fertility and miscarriage? Pop your ideas in the comments below!
Join our tribe
We promise to pop a whole host of good stuff into your inbox every Wednesday to brighten up your week. Can't say fairer than that now can we?