It’s Saturday morning and there’s a pregnant woman at your local park, enjoying her baby shower. Her friends and family are circled around her and she’s smiling, her hand cradled around her bump. You can’t help but think that she looks the picture of health and happiness. And in some ways, she is. But although you can’t tell as you walk past, she’s paid a high price for that beautiful belly of hers.
That woman is me. That woman is my sister. That woman is Jennifer Hawkins. She’s Jesinta Franklin. She’s your colleague, your cousin, your best friend from high school. She might even be you. It’s a natural response to see an expectant mother and assign a positive narrative to her circumstances. But there may be so much more to her situation than love, marriage and a baby carriage.
Behind every bump, there is a story. It’s just not always a happy one.
Our long-held traditions of not speaking about ‘women’s business’ have created societal views on pregnancy that border on mythological. Infertility affects 1 in 6 Australian couples, miscarriage occurs in 1 in 4 pregnancies and 2,200 Australian families every year experience the agony of stillbirth. No matter how much we want to give pregnancy and childbirth the Disney treatment, experiences like Jen’s and Jesinta’s are important because they remind us that making another human being is hard. Every voice added to the choir shows us we’re not singing this sad, slow harmony alone and gives us the strength to keep going.
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I’m sooo happy to share with you some exciting news! Jake and I are expecting a baby girl!!! We can’t wait to meet her!???????????? Thank you to our beautiful family and friends for their love and support and, most importantly, to my hubby Jake – I can’t wait to see you as a Daddy! @jakewwall xx
Like Jen, I was shaken to my core by my first miscarriage.
Seven weeks along, I sat in my obstetrician’s waiting room animatedly chatting to my husband and my mother. All day, I’d been able to think of nothing else but seeing my baby for the first time, messaging my husband an hourly countdown. Although unexpected, this baby represented all the hopes we had for our future and our new marriage. We weren’t sure we were ready, but we were delighted to be expectant parents.
I remember handing my phone to my Mum, asking her to record the moment for me as I jumped up on the table. My husband squeezed my hand as our little jellybean came clearly into view on the monitor. It was so small! How could such a tiny thing be making me feel so sick? A rush of love and pure amazement washed over me and I turned to my husband. “There’s our little Teddy,” I beamed, already convinced I was having a son named Theodore.