The Legacy of Leo

Back in October 2018, the Death Before Birth team were delighted to be invited to contribute to The Legacy of Leo as part of the ‘It Still Takes a Village’ blog series.

The Legacy of Leo site, run by Jess, is an important and very useful forum which seeks to provide an honest account of baby loss, stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy after loss. You can also engage with Jess on twitter, on which she runs a baby loss hour on Tuesday evenings with the hashtag #babylosshour.

Special section of ‘Women’s Studies International Forum,’ guest edited by Karolina Kuberska and Sarah Turner

Dr Karolina Kuberska and Dr Sarah Turner, post-doctoral research fellows on the Death Before Birth project, have guest edited a special section of the Women’s Studies International Forum. Motivated by the work undertaken as part of the DBB project, Karolina and Sarah have produced this section in the hopes of ‘capturing the tensions and frictions inherent in the ambivalent nature of every pregnancy loss.’

Read their introduction to the section here,

List of articles in the special section:

Leah Eades, ‘Social realities, biological realities: The 24-week foetus in contemporary English abortion activism.’

Maria Verdaguer, ‘Mothering cancer: Maternal subjectivity and the status of the foetus in a case of cervical ectopic pregnancy.’

Samantha Murphy, ‘”I’d failed to produce a baby and I’d failed to notice when the baby was in distress”: The social construction of bereaved motherhood.’

Caroline Lafarge, Sophia Rosman, Isabelle Ville, ‘Pregnancy termination for fetal abnormality: Ambivalence at the heart of women’s experience.’

Deborah Davidson, Gayle Letherby, ‘Use of the internet and grillwork in perinatal loss: Motivations, methodologies and meaning making.’

Iva Šmídová, ‘The Czech intimate presence of perinatal loss in the Post-Socialist absence of institutionalised humanity.’

Reader Post: Yam’s Story

As part of this blog, we invite readers who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth to share their stories with us. You can submit your story on our Share Your Experiences page.

We’re very grateful to Yam for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, Yam, and we wish you all the best.

I was diagnosed with early menopause aged 17 from a ceasing of periods aged 11. At 20, I took a year out from the University of Birmingham for medical investigations which concluded that I could only have children via egg donation or adoption. Seven years later I was diagnosed privately with mild but complex post traumatic stress.

Daisychain is a wonderful charity led by medical practitioners in London but it took 18 years to go to my first conference and meet others like me. Through the network, I learned of telephone counselling by someone who had received appropriate counselling but the result was one of acceptance. While this may be appropriate for some or the majority of women, for an eleven year old, this is dismissal by society of a right to family life. I assume on the practicalities of cost benefit.

I am now 41 and accept whole heartedly that I may not have children but still break out in stress around the topic such as a cold sore reaction recently to a family supported visit to my new nephew.

This project may be focused on pregnancy loss but I write to raise awareness of societal attitudes and affects of childlessness. I appreciate that there are many children needing adoption. I don’t think that is appropriate for my life experience. Thank you for this opportunity.

Reader Post: Christina’s Story

As part of this blog, we invite readers who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth to share their stories with us. You can submit your story on our Share Your Experiences page.

We’re very grateful to Christina for getting in touch with her experience. Thank you, Christina, and we wish you all the best.

It took me 5 years to get pregnant and when I found out I was having twins I was so excited! Everything was going great until week 14 when twin A started to gather fluid on the back of her neck, we were told she has Turners syndrome, and she has 20% chance of survival but if she did survive she would have some medical issues but she would live a normal life. I had to go in weekly for check ups and week 15 everything was still going good and that’s when we found out they were girls. I paid for a special ultrasound to get a 3d and stuffed animal with their heart beats. That’s when I heard those words..I don’t see a heart beat….then they measured twin A, Noelle and she stopped growing at 16.5 weeks..that is the day that a part of my heart died. The hardest part was I had to carry her until her twin Nova decided when it was time. The positive side is I got to see Noelle Weekly but at the same time it was a reminder that she was gone. When I delivered I was told that there were no traces of Noelle left (they said she came out with my water which happened on the toilet that I flushed) but one year later I got my surgical note and it noted that she was there she was deformed but there.. I could of had my baby cremated.

I hate when people tells me these phases
‘Be happy you got Nova still’
‘Everything happens for a reason’

And I hate when people try to tell me that Nova is living in Noelle’s shadow..which is not true, we don’t celebrate there birthdays on the have day we consider noelle birthday the day she passed.

Death before Birth at New Street Station

We spent a very rewarding day on Saturday sharing our findings with people at New Street Station in Birmingham on Saturday. This was part of an  interactive exhibition of research that is being conducted at the University of Birmingham. We were co-exhibitors with Helen Williams, who is doing valuable work on the experiences of fathers following pregnancy loss. We spoke to a number of healthcare workers, including midwives, as well as people who had experienced pregnancy loss. We hope the event was informative. It certainly was for us.

New Street Station with Helen Williams