daily mail

Guardian: Time to scrap the 12-week rule

Last year for Baby Loss Awareness Week I wrote an article for the Guardian about the language of pregnancy loss, and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity again this year. This year I wrote about the '12-week rule'; how it perpetuates the notion that miscarriage is something to hide and we shouldn’t make a fuss, thereby forcing so many women & couples to suffer in silence - and why we need a more empathic and supportive culture around early pregnancy loss.

For something that's so common (1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss), miscarriage can feel so incredibly lonely, because we're made to feel that it's no big deal and something we should sweep under the carpet. There's a difference between privacy and secrecy: privacy is voluntary, it's a choice you make to keep information to yourself - whereas secrecy is involuntary, when information is kept private out of fear for the consequences. The decision about what, when & if to share information about fertility, infertility, pregnancy and all outcomes thereafter should be a personal choice for YOU to do what's right for YOU - not an enforced societal expectation.

As a non-journalist, it’s a real honour to see my words in print - I’m chuffed to bits, and profoundly grateful to everyone who shared their thoughts on the 12-week rule with me. There's so much more I could have said, and I'd have loved to have explored the different perspectives around the decision to 'tell' - but unfortunately I was up against the constraints of a limited word count! Extra thanks to Prof Arri Coomarasamy, director of the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research and Dr Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist specialising in women's reproductive and maternal mental health and creator of the incredible #IHadAMiscarriage campaign, for their input.

As Jessica says - we may not be able to cure miscarriage, but why don't we at least attempt to cure the conversation?


The reaction

There were a few snarky comments in the Guardian comments section (as you’d expect), but on the whole the reaction to the article has been astonishing and overwhelming in the best way. So many comments on social media brought me to tears: not just because they said how because the conversation about this subject was happening and visible - and both women AND men were stepping out of the shadows to talk about their experiences of loss.

It then got really surreal when the Daily Mail published a response to my piece, co-authored by the brilliant Jennie Agg from The Uterus Monologues and Jenni Murray - describing the reaction to the article as a new campaign to overturn the 12-week rule!

And then even more surreal when a dear friend told me that the BBC ad shared the article on the official CBeebies for grownups Twitter and Facebook accounts - reaching a whole different audience than I’d ever imagined.

I’m deeply sad that so many people have had their own experiences of loss for this piece to resonate, but if it’s helped just one person feel less alone, then to me it’s a job well done.

The Daily Mail Guide to Infertility


Why your lifestyle almost certainly isn’t to blame for your infertility (despite what the Daily Mail headlines say)

[ Originally posted on Medium ]

If you’re struggling to have a baby, it can feel overwhelming to know what you should and shouldn’t do, to give yourself the best chance of success.

Well fear not! Having conducted a full meta-analysis of one leading UK tabloid newspaper (Jan 17-Aug 18), here is a summary of its bulletproof guidance and absolutely rock solid health advice, guaranteed to give you the miracle baby of your dreams.*

*disclaimer: may not be bulletproof guidance, rock solid health advice, or guaranteed to give you the miracle baby of your dreams.

Clear and simple, right? When you’re not throwing out your tupperware; getting rid of all your cleaning products; replacing all your toiletries; going cold turkey on your mobile phone; buying your partner new boxers; strutting around with a cushion up your top pretending you’re pregnant; rethinking your career goals to make sure they’re not too ‘masculine’; trying to get just the right amount of exercise (not too little, not too much); making sure you’re getting just the right amount of sleep (not too little, not too much); cutting back on alcohol (whilst still drinking 5 glasses of red wine a month); guzzling fertility supplements; charging up all your various fertility devices (one on your wrist, one up your vagina); moving out of the city to the countryside (but not taking any anti-histamines when your allergies play up); avoiding sofas, car seats, laptops, water bottles and receipts; trying to precisely measure out the exact recommended quantity of walnuts; planning your trip to China to sit on cock-shaped rocks; working out your top 5 friends; and running back from yoga and acupuncture just in time to have sex at precisely the right time of day, in precisely the right month, in precisely the right position, and for precisely the right duration — just remember that the Daily Mail has also told you that stress can double the risk of infertility.


Ignore these at your peril — because why wouldn’t you want to be rewarded for your hard work with surprise twins or triplets, like the couples featured in these stories, with their miracle babies, all thanks to these miracle cures?

And does any of this really matter anyway - because if you’re infertile you’ll probably die early regardless?

An alternative to the Daily Mail infertility regime

Maybe it’s not your fault if you’re struggling to get, or stay, pregnant.

Maybe your infertility issues aren’t caused by anything you did or didn’t do.

Maybe you didn’t do anything to deserve this.

Maybe it’s just shitty, shitty luck of the draw.

Maybe trying to be generally healthy, taking a prenatal vitamin and following any specific guidance from your Dr is enough for you to have ‘done your bit’.

Maybe it’s more important to look after your body and mind for your own general wellbeing and sanity, than in pursuit of a miracle infertility cure.

Maybe you don’t need to beat yourself up for ‘not trying hard enough’.

Maybe you’re trying your best, and it’s now down to science and luck.

Maybe the Daily Mail doesn’t have all the answers.