Tick tock, tick tock…our biological clocks are apparently racing quicker than Lewis Hamilton on a F1 racing track. The speed at which we’re running out of time to conceive coupled with comments from unsensitive types such as, “Isn’t it about time you started procreating?” adds unnecessary pressure on to women to become mothers, on top of everything else they are trying to achieve.
But what people forget to consider before they pass judgement is they have no idea the pain and anguish so many couples are facing as they try to conceive. There is a silence that lurks and is rarely spoken about. Misscarriages, still births, an inability to conceive and pregnancies which are terminated because the unborn baby would never have reached full term, are common issues but not those you might want to bring up over dinner. However this silence needs to be shattered.
The blogzine Selfish Mother, founded by Molly Gunn, has collaborated with Tiba & Marl to launch a new range of iconic leopard print Mother t-shirts and sweaters, with all profits going to Tommy’s, a charity which supports women by funding £1.5m of research annually into pregnancy research, tackling pregnancy loss during pregnancy and birth.
Women in contrast to men are normally quite comfortable discussing problems and concerns and will usually confide in people close to them when the shit hits the fan and they feel at a loss and isolated.
But pregnancy loss for whatever reasons, for many, still seems like a taboo subject and remains off limits in polite conversation. We only ever hear about the happy endings.
Women should not feel pressured to keep quiet, it’s not a dirty secret and therefore they need not be reluctant to step forward but instead have the courage to seek support even if it’s just a reassuring ear.
I’ve learned by opening up to those close to you, although doesn’t end the heartache, suffering and loss, it does provide a release. You also learn you’re not alone, which is a common feeling felt by women when a pregnancy is lost. Instead you learn from others that they too have gone through similar experiences and ridden this rocky ride. This in itself provides a degree of comfort.
Marrying into a large family who are very upfront, open and honest I’ve gradually become at ease talking about these things. It also helps to have seven sister in laws who between them have 27 children and so have pretty much seen everything.
We all strive for perfection in some form or another. Or to put it another way we want the best possible outcome. And when we don’t achieve what we had hoped for disappointment prevails. In pregnancy, we hope and pray everything will work out okay. Every other week we see the heartwarming pregnancy announcements made by friends and the news that another gorgeous squidgy baby has been welcomed into the world. We expect that we too will soon be able to join the ‘club’ and share our news with friends and family and ride the euphoric bubble of excitement. That is only natural.
You don’t expect to be the one to face complications and have your dreams shattered. That only happens to other people and is only ever whispered about. The reality is however very different and women often consequently vanish into a dark room. You sit in silence while the world continues around you. You begin to question yourself by asking what did I do in the pregnancy to cause this? You begin to believe your body isn’t made for carrying a child and I’ve obviously failed myself and my husband. As a result you become emersed in guilt.
Talking and breaking the silence can help go along way towards easing the grief and is paramount towards removing any stigmas. It also helps you to realise you are by no means on your own. The key is not to be sorry. You haven’t haven’t failed anyone and most importantly you haven’t failed yourself.
* Selfish Mother provides a great platform for women to open up about real issues in parenthood as well as raising funds and awareness for a range of great causes. To date Selfish Mother has donated over £200k to a wide range of charities through their #GoodTees campaign.