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#204 - The Matrescence of Miscarriage with Katrina Thompson
Episode 20427th July 2022 • Happy Mama Movement with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz • Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
00:00:00 00:32:52

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One of my dear mentors, Jane Hedwick Collins often says that every pregnancy results in a birth and shows the mother, what she most needs to know for the next season of her life. Miscarriage and early pregnancy loss impacts us in ways which are definitely underacknowledged and we need to be having more conversations, such as this one, with my guest Katrina Thompson. Kat is a Mama of four:  two healthy Earthside children and two angels.  Her miscarriage experiences were traumatic and led to huge crackings open into a dark period of her life. Listen to this vulnerable conversation about:

  • Fully experiencing, accepting and allowing permission for the fourth trimester of matresence, no matter when we give birth and what other trimesters we may, or may not, have experienced.
  • Assumptions that birth, motherhood and pregnancy is something we 'should' just be able to do.
  • The rush and pressure to try again after pregnancy loss, how that can impact the grief process.
  • Questioning our body when it falls short and how connected we can feel to the tiny human growing inside (at all different stages of pregnancy).

This conversation is raw, open and honest. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, please check in with yourself and seek help and support as necessary for your own matresence journey. To find out more about Kat and the Sacred Support Circles and 1 on 1 support around miscarriage you can find her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/miscarriage_transformed/.

If you would like a deeper understanding of matresence and how we support women differently, Mama Rising facilitator training opens just once a year. For early offers and to join the 5 days to a motherhood revolution event before August, please jump the link below to join the wait list. https://mamarising.net/mama-rising-waitlist/

Transcripts

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Welcome back Mamas.

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Today's episode is a special one.

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We're talking about the matresence of miscarriage.

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Something that I hope we can all speak more and more about.

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One of the key things that I hope this podcast and this platform does

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is bring all of the truth and all of the elements of becoming a mother

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to the surface and into the light.

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And miscarriage is a really important part of that.

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One of my dear mentors, Jane Hedwick Collins often says that every pregnancy

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results in a birth and shows the mother, what she most needs to know

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for the next season of her life.

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My other mentor, Dr.

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Aurélie Athan says matresence begins the moment you contemplate becoming

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a mother, things begin to change.

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Therefore, with both of those explanations, of course, there

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is a matresence of miscarriage.

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Whether you only knew you were pregnant for a few days, a few

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weeks, you are a mother and you are changed through that experience.

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I know that this is a very personal issue and powerful issue for many, many of you.

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So please check in with your heart before you listen, but know the following

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conversation will warm your heart and I know will help you heal because the

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person I'm speaking to is Kat Thompson.

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I have known Kat for many, many years.

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She was one of the first women in my early programs.

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And she has now gone on to train as a Mama Rising coach and facilitator

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specialising in miscarriage.

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She's as she describes a Mama of four, two healthy earth side children, and

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two angels and her experience with her two angel babies, not only transformed

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her, but I know will also help her transform and support so many others.

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Enjoy this conversation.

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It's so important.

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Kat, beautiful Kat, welcome to the podcast.

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Thank you so much for having me.

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I'm so excited and I'm so excited to have these conversations out in the

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world and not hidden behind closed doors.

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That's it.

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That's what we are here for.

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I have known you for a really long time.

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So it feels like a really special moment to have you here.

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You, uh, came into my world a long time ago in one of my programs and

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have been on such a divine journey, even though I don't love that word,

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a divine journey of matresence, of understanding yourself and now, uh, really

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stepping into this place of advocacy.

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And that's what we are here to talk about.

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So can you share with us how this all began?

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Sure.

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So, um, I am a Mum of four, two angel babies and two healthy earth side babies.

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Um, each and every one of those was a huge cracking open in it in its own matresence.

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I didn't discover you and the word matresence until,

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my first earth side, baby.

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And, um, yeah, obviously that gave me well, there were lots of tears

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initially because it gave me the roadmap.

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It gave me the framework to understand everything that I

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was going through at that time.

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But then also later circling back to understand, why I had felt the way that

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I had when I had my two miscarriages.

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Because for me, they were completely earth shattering.

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I was devastated.

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And, um, it has taken a lot of work to understand how that

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has changed me in my identity.

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Hmm.

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Do you mind sharing with us those experiences?

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Yeah.

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Sure.

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So I come from a long line of women who, carried their babies naturally,

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uh, or sorry, easily gave birth naturally breastfed with ease.

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And so that was part of my identity that I believed that would be the same for me.

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And my first pregnancy, we were overjoyed and excited for all of our hopes and

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dreams for ourselves and for our baby.

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Um, but at about eight weeks, I started to spot while I was at work.

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And, um, I'd heard that spotting was normal in or could be normal.

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Um, certainly during early pregnancy.

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And it was a Friday.

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I remember kind of just getting through the day and making a GP appointment

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they said, you know, we'll send you off for an ultrasound the next

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day, which was Saturday morning.

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So off we went and I had heard that, you know, if there was no

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healthy heartbeat, we had been to a dating scan a few weeks before.

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So we had seen that.

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Um, but we'd heard that they don't really say anything.

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They turn the screen away.

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And certainly that happened and the woman left the room for a long time.

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And then, someone else came back in to check and we heard those words that for

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every woman who has been through this will know, uh, etched in her mind forever.

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And that is I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat.

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And my world imploded.

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And, I remember my partner pretty much had to carry me out

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through the waiting room of all the other healthy pregnant women.

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I was a mess and we sort of stood there in the car park of the, of this facility.

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And we just both looked at each other and said, well, what now?

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I couldn't get back into the GP because it was a weekend.

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And, you know, so there was a lot of uncertainty.

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We didn't know what was going to happen.

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And, um, anyway, later that afternoon at home, I started to bleed really heavily.

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And, um, it's interesting reflecting back because it's all a blur and I, I

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feel like I must have sort of been in the throes of those labor hormones.

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There was no sense of time, but certainly after about four and a half hours of being

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stuck on the toilet and bleeding really heavily, I thought, well, maybe I'll

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call nurse on call and bless that woman.

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She was able to, I guess, hold space for me enough that, you know, is there

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somebody at home, I think you need to pack your bags and go off to emergency.

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So, um, Yeah, I then went into emergency and I'd been losing

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a lot of blood for a long time.

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And I was signing paperwork for a possible blood transfusion.

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And it was very chaotic and very bright and sterile.

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And there was a lot of blood and, it was a really scary time.

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But essentially they were able to get the, the bleeding under

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control and, the next morning, they booked me in for an operation.

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And I remember that was a Sunday morning.

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And, I remember the first feeling I felt as I woke up, I woke up in recovery

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and the first thing I felt was relief because I no longer felt morning

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sick, but then I remember looking around this is, it was the biggest,

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um, women's hospital in Melbourne.

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And just looking around this recovery ward, every other bed was empty on

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this cold wintery Sunday morning.

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I was the only woman in Melbourne who needed to have this operation

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and, um, that really confirmed for me, the, the isolation loneliness.

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And later that morning, obstetrician came in, you know, how are you feeling?

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Obviously, like I said, fine, like, cuz I'm no longer going through all of that.

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She said, oh, well you can go back to work tomorrow.

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And that was that.

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And so in that moment, you know, I learnt from the world that what I'd

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been through, wasn't significant.

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Um, they didn't expect me to have any big feelings or any

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big emotional toll or recovery.

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And yeah, I ended up having to go to the GP every day that week, to ask

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for one more day off, one more day off because I was completely falling apart.

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And, certainly returning to work was really hard because I was no

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longer the version of me that I had been before, but nobody knew.

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Yeah.

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I couldn't tell anybody, uh, I was going for a promotion.

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I didn't wanna get shelved for the promotion.

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Um, yeah.

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So I remember this really profound feelings of just feeling like

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nobody has any idea that I've just been through this huge experience.

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Um, yeah.

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And then my second, uh, we were lucky we fell pregnant early again

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and the, um, oh, sorry, easily.

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And same thing about the same time I had started to bleed,

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but it was a, a Thursday.

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I knew what I was gonna do.

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I finished up my day.

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I left, I'm a teacher, well, a high school teacher I'd left all

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my work ready for someone else to take my classes the next day.

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Went home, I fasted with the plan that in the morning, um, my partner

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would take me into the hospital and, got in there and they said, well,

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you don't need to have an operation.

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You could just go home and wait for this to happen naturally.

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And I said, well, I can't, I've used up all of my sick leave.

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I, I don't have time to take off work anymore.

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Um, and behind that was the, I don't know if I can go

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through this emotionally again.

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Um, and I just remember that midwife looking me in the eye and she understood.

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And she said, I will fight for you and I will get you on a list.

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And, uh, she did.

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And that was it, had the next that operation.

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And, um, I was sent on my way and, um, kind of just, I, I

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felt that I should be okay.

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And I really, really was not okay.

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Yeah.

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And then luckily, again, for us, we fell pregnant easily again.

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Uh, that in itself, pregnancy after loss is this whole other kettle of fish.

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And, um, I spotted through the first trimesters with both of

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my earth side children and, um, yeah, that was also traumatic.

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And there was a lot of anxiety around, around whether I could

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carry another, another baby.

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Yes.

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So those are in a nutshell of my two stories.

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Thank you.

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Thank you for sharing them with us.

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Thank you for the depth of detail and feeling and emotion.

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Because whether you've had a miscarriage or not, I think you can

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totally feel what that would be like.

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And the thing I think I can hear is two things I would love to discuss with you.

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One is that sense of silence that because we have this culture of, you

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cannot tell anybody until 12 weeks.

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There's a real silence around this experience, both for both partners.

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Let's be honest.

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There is also grieving and trauma there for the partner,

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the non birthing partner as well.

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And the second is then, um, what do we need in the system to do

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differently in terms of that support that, uh, post operation support,

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the post bleeding support, all of that, but let's first start with you.

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When we live in a time and place where early pregnancy is not

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discussed and therefore early pregnancy loss is not acknowledged.

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What do you think this does?

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What did it, what did you experience and what do you now see?

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Um, it's fuel for the stigma and taboo, you know, that we're, we're labeled,

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um, as well, even the name miscarriage implies that the woman has done something

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wrong and that it's shameful, uh, and that, um, you know, tying in with that.

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Our definitions of, in our culture of what is a successful woman and

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what is a good mother, um, in both of those definitions, if we can't carry

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a baby or we, we lose our baby, that we have failed somehow in all of that.

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Um, and certainly an interestingly, the, the 12 week rule, my understanding is

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that's actually quite new in our culture.

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Became, um, present with the development of ultrasounds.

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My understanding is that before ultrasounds, like in my grandma's

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generation, women wouldn't actually say anything until they started to

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feel the flutters of those early kicks when they could feel the baby

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and start to confirm the pregnancy.

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Um, yeah.

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So it's interesting that that's quite new in our culture.

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I, um, I want to share that, um, I experienced a miscarriage.

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The thing that I found really interesting Kat, reflecting on what you just said

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was I found myself apologising to him.

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I'm sorry that my body did this.

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I'm sorry.

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That, and it really does feel like there's something that your body did wrong.

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Even though cognitively we know that that's not the case.

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Even though cognitively we know it's because this wasn't a healthy, viable

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baby in, in one way or another, it still, it does still feel like a failing.

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Doesn't it?

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Yeah, it really, really does.

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And I haven't, as much as I've explored it, I still haven't kind of got right to

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the center of, of where that comes from.

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But, um, yeah, I just think it's so ingrained in our culture that.

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You know, we, as women are the, are the creators of life.

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And that we are also the sight of death, but our baby is also in as

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with all stage of, of pregnancy.

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Even at the end, when, um, a full term baby itself begins labor, but that's hard

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for us to kind of cognitively understand.

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So it does feel like us because we are the ones who are fueling and

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nourishing and building that baby, you know, we've supplied the oxygen, we

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supply the food, we remove the waste.

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Um, so it's just, it's so inherently intertwined with our own beings.

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Isn't it?

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It is.

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And very much that assumption that because we are born female, this

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should be easy and natural for us.

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You know, that this is something we should just be able to do.

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And so therefore, if at any time we can't.

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Then that does tie back to a questioning of yourself, of your body, of who you are.

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The other thing that really surprised me was how connected I

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felt in such a short amount of time.

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And again, found myself thinking you shouldn't be this upset,

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it was only for a few weeks.

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Again, internalising this story that our culture tells women, which is oh,

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you know, it was only a few weeks.

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It wasn't really a full formed baby yet.

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All of the things we are told also look at your age.

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It's probably a good thing.

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Like all of those things that we are told, we internalise these stories as well.

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Don't we?

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Yeah, we absolutely do.

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I remember saying to people, um, you just don't realise how connected to that

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ball of cells you are until they're gone.

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And certainly now with advances in, in medical technology and understanding,

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we know that as soon at that, at that moment of conception, there is a cascade

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of physiological changes that begin within a woman that are irreversible.

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And we can't see them, they're invisible, but they have begun.

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And they, you know, it's leading to changes in our brain.

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These, these changes are real and they're significant.

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And although in the beginnings, they're invisible that doesn't take away from

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how big and, um, important they are.

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That's right.

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And when we look at our definition of matresence that we use from Dr.

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Aurélie Athan.

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That whole circle of transformation has begun, the minute you

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find out you're pregnant.

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You do begin to rethink your social position, your career, your money, your

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other kids, your relationship, your body, your place in the world, your

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future, all of that kicks in immediately.

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And so that process of changing your identity, changing who

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you think you are, has begun.

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Yeah, absolutely.,

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Also, what's so important that matresence of miscarriage, the

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matresence of pregnancy begins.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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And, um, and our rethinking and how all of those points that you just spoke

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about, they all get affected as well.

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When then our baby dies, you know, our relationships.

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Um, we go into a postpartum period.

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Um, economically there can be impacts loss of work or other fertility treatments

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that we might need in the future.

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Everything is impacted again.

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Mm, before we move on to the system and what we need to be doing better.

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I also just wanted to share that something that really helped me move through this

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is the work of Jane Howard Collins,

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Mm,

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which says that every pregnancy, ends in a birth.

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That's right.

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And it shows the woman what she needs to know for the next season of her life.

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I loved that.

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And she talks about this, whether the birth is a miscarriage, whether it is

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an abortion, whether it is a stillbirth, whether it is a beautiful, healthy earth

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side baby, every pregnancy ends in a birth and shows the Mama something.

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And that really, that was a mantra for me through this.

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And I wanted to share that with you with, and everybody.

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How do you feel when you hear that?

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Um, yeah, I love those words.

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It's incredibly validating.

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Um, and there's, ah, there's so much that I want to say about that.

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Um, yeah, I think it's just, firstly, I think it is really

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important that we realise that, um, miscarriage does end in a birth.

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And, um, as you know, one of the, I, I don't like the word miscarriage because it

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implies that the woman has done something wrong and there's, that's certainly been

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something that's been spoken about for a long time, but what do we replace it with?

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Um, and the word that I like to replace it with is early birth because, that

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has really positive connotations.

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It helps us, build links with the, the knowledge that actually, our

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body does know what it's doing.

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Um, when a, you know, a new pregnancy, a new baby is I hate

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this word, but it's not viable.

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Um, it's because the baby and our bodies know that there's

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something that has gone wrong.

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Um, and so our body does everything that it possibly can to make sure

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that, this pregnancy needs to end and it does everything and it needs to,

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to, make sure that before that labor begins, the baby is actually dead.

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So I think it's really important.

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Yeah.

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That we, we can begin to flip the lens that we, that we view it through.

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And, and I, like, I just love the, the term early birth for that reason.

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Um, and then linking with that idea that, you know, we do go through a birth.

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There, there is a labor and, even I was recently rereading something

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on the, the women, the Royal women's hospital, their fact sheet about

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miscarriage and, you know, many women just have like a heavy period.

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Well, No

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Hmm.

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For some, yes, that's true.

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And particularly the earlier on in the pregnancy, that might be true, but

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certainly I was having, I couldn't sit.

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I was having full well, you know, contractions, um, and my baby had

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died at about seven weeks, right through to miscarriage is defined

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all the way up to about 20 weeks.

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Well, certainly 20 weeks in Australia.

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Um, then you are, you are delivering a baby and for some

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women, their milk comes in.

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And, um, yeah, so that what happens on the birth altar is Jane talks about absolutely

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sets the scene for who we become in this next identity that we are becoming.

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Um, and that's why I sort of alluded to earlier that when that obstetrician said,

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oh, well, you can go back to work the next day, I understood that what I was

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going through shouldn't be significant.

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The rest of the world didn't value it.

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Didn't see it as a big deal.

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Um, and it was really an opposition to what my, my lived experience was.

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And so I felt a lot of shame, a lot of guilt, a lot of isolation I hid further

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and further away because what she was telling me, the world thought about me.

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Didn't match with how I felt about myself.

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Um, And I think we definitely, I mean, this is the same for all motherhood,

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but certainly moving into that fourth trimester, I think when we don't allow

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ourselves to, to feel like we're allowed to have a fourth trimester, if we

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deliver earlier, because it's called first trimester, second trimester,

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third trimester, fourth trimester.

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Well, are you allowed to have a fourth trimester if you haven't

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had a second and a third?

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Wow,

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No.

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So.

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Beautiful question.

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Could we change the language around that?

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Because we should feel like we have permission to be in a postpartum period.

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Our body needs to recover.

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We need to do all those restorative nourishing things for a period of

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time to get our bodies, um, you know, back and come home to ourselves.

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Wow.

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Hmm.

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That is a really amazing concept that I haven't thought of before

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a fourth trimester for whatever trimester you have birthed in.

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So, what did you need?

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And looking back wish you had

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Um, acknowledgement.

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um, you know, acknowledgement, is always the first step, Megan Devine who wrote

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the book, It's Okay That You're Not Okay.

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That's what she that's, that's her language and I love it.

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Um, I needed a safe space.

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Certainly by the time that I felt like I had enough M back to be able to

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make a phone call to go and seek some help was well after the three month

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period, which is the first three months is the only time that the hospitals

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in my local area offer support.

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So I felt like I'd missed out there.

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So yeah, just a safe space that's non-judgmental um, people who get

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it is really, really important.

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And I think just having these conversations to normalise the

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experiences gives us the permission that we need to allow ourselves to grieve,

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to allow ourselves to process, to go into that darkness or to go within,

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to be with whatever devastation or pain that, that we are in there's,

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there's, there's no way around that.

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There's only through it.

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So, um, we just need to provide those spaces where that can happen.

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Because so often the focus is to try and get pregnant again, it's, it's such a,

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what we would describe almost as this, you know, productivity focus, you know?

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Okay.

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Failed that time, but let's try again and let's try again and let's try again.

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And that space in the middle to grieve is rushed because you want to try and get

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pregnant again, as quickly as possible.

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And I think that's so much of the experience of motherhood, isn't it?

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There's no time and space to just honor where you are before

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you move to the next step.

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And I think when you say acknowledgement, who do we need that acknowledgement from?

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Ah, interesting question.

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Um, everyone.

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Yeah, that's what I thought.

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But certainly at least from one person.

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Yeah, we need someone to say whatever you are or are not

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feeling is, is okay, and normal.

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Um, you know, I was completely broken apart by my miscarriages because I

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wasn't expecting it and I didn't have any support around me and I didn't.

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Know that I was allowed to seek support and all those things.

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Um, but I, some people miscarriages are blip for them and that's

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completely normal and okay for them.

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So, um, I think by having these discussions and normalising that, that

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there is a full range of experiences, um, not every like the actual physical

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process itself is really different.

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There's a lot of variation in that.

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And there's a lot of variation, how we respond emotionally

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and then spiritually as well.

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Just normalising all of that is we do that through having these conversations.

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And what do you think just finally, before we finish up?

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What do you think about the idea of miscarriage leave?

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That some workplaces and some places are, are discussing?

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I love it.

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My, in my ideal world, um, We would just be signed off for two weeks,

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mm

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Actually longer, but let's say two weeks.

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Um, and that if you choose that you were ready to go back to

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work within that time, you can.

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Um, and that should be offered to everybody in the, you know,

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the, the mother and the father or both parents, I should say.

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Apologies.

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Yeah.

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Um, and.

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I really feel that if that leave is offered, our productivity on

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return would be worth it because why do we want broken people to go to

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work and, and not do a great job?

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That's right.

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Let's give people the space they need to heal and process, and then rise up again.

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Ready to go again?

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And it would also break down the silence because if it's visible in the workplace,

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then we can finally make it visible.

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Absolutely.

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I think it has to be treated with such care.

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You know, it should be anonymous if you, you know, if you need it to be,

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to be able to contact someone in HR and just have that one person know that

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this is why you're gone for two weeks.

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I think there needs to be some, some honoring around the sensitivity of it.

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But if we can hopefully get to a point where.

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It's not this taboo thing.

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It's not this secret thing that no one shares and talks about.

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I feel that the healing for women will be profound and their partners.

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I said finally before, but I do have one more thing.

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I want to ask you.

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What if a woman is listening to this, and she had a miscarriage five years ago, Kat.

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And she's only just realising, or maybe in fact, she's realised for a

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long time that that affected her more than she thought, what can she do now?

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Well, firstly, absolutely acknowledge with kindness to ourself or to

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herself that, um, what she has been through is significant.

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Um, and it's not in her head.

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Mm-hmm

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And that she is allowed to go and seek support to go and ask for help.

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Um, and to go and find a safe space to process and heal, we can

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start that journey at any time.

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And certainly grief is not linear and it never ends.

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And it comes up at the most inconvenient times.

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So if you are listening to this and it's cracked you open again, um, then

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please reach out and seek support.

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And recognise that this is another, this is an opportunity to heal

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and process a little bit more.

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Beautiful.

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That's it.

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This is an opportunity to heal, and rewrite that story and really connect

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with that experience in a different way.

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Kat you are starting to create monthly gatherings of women to be able to heal, to

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be able to reflect and be in a safe space.

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I'll share all of those details in the show notes and your Instagram.

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And of course, people can reach out to you to follow up in if they're needing it.

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But thank you.

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I am so proud.

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I am so proud that we are here now, after the years of growth together, you and

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I, and to now witness you stepping into this role of advocacy and a voice for

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these women with early birth experiences.

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So thank you for your courage and your commitment for all these

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years to be here doing this.

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Thank you.

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Thank you so much for having me and, so much gratitude for all of that as well.

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And again, just for being able to have this conversation and connecting

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with so many women and families out there will really make a difference.

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Yeah, thank you, beautiful.

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It is such an honor to be able to have conversations like this.

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To begin to talk openly about how these experiences change us and how

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we need to be doing them better.

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You can reach out to Kat share with her, your reflections on this podcast.

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Lean into her if you need some extra support, whether your miscarriage was just

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recently or many years ago, you can find her on Instagram @miscarriagetransformed.

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And also remember that you can do this differently even now,

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no matter when this happened to you, it was meant to be honored.

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It's changed you.

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And I hope that this is the beginning of your healing.

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As always we are here, if you need.

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