Monday, 1 November 2010

Being thankful

Now, I don't want to be a Debbie Downer on my blog in any way, at any time, but today I felt compelled to write about an incredibly distressing subject that has been all across the UK media today. The singer Lily Allen and her partner lost their unborn baby yesterday 6 months in to her pregnancy.

A blog is probably a silly place to talk about such unimaginable awfulness as there are no words that can describe or come close to what Lily and her family must be going through. So, I don't want to be contrite and blab on spewing sympathetic nonsense about it. Mercifully, I don't know what she's going through; I can only imagine, and my imagined thoughts are very dark. I'm not sure how you recover from such tragedy.

I was fortunate enough to have a very easy pregnancy and birth and have a beautiful 3 and a half month old baby girl. This is no exaggeration, but I don't believe a day went by in those 40 weeks and 4 days of gestation when I didn't have a worrying thought about the health of my baby. Those fears didn't leave me after the 12 week scan, they were there all the way up to delivery.

According to the Tommy's charity website, in England & Wales:
  • about 149 babies were born preterm every day
  • about 290 women experienced a miscarriage every day
Every DAY! So there but for the grace of God, go us all.

Very distressing statistics, which not only highlight how common miscarriages and pre-term births are, but also show that for such a 'common' problem, there seems to be relatively little ever heard about it in the wide media, with it rearing up only when a 'celebrity' is involved. Sadly, but for understandable reasons, miscarriage is still a problem hidden behind closed doors and dealt with very privately. The wide range of emotions the mother and father go through are normally expressed to each other and even close friends can be kept out of the loop, as they battle to come to terms with their loss. Feelings of despair, unanswerable questions about why this should happen to them, shame and guilt are just the beginning and more research needs to be done to find the answers and reduce the figures we see above.

In an ideal world, nobody should have to suffer a miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy, whether at 4 weeks or 40 weeks. Charities like Tommy's do incredible work to this effect and need a louder voice. Visit

As you can tell, Lily Allen's tragic loss has preyed heavily on my mind today and with Thanksgiving just around the corner here in the US, gave me a reason to stop for 5 minutes and count my own blessings. I don't have a perfect life by a long shot and there are some things I wish I could change, but I stopped and gave a quiet thanks to the world for my health and that of all my family and friends.

Today, I breathed the fresh air outside and looked up at the clear cornflower blue Carolinian sky and was thankful. I hope everyone can find just one thing to be thankful for today and think about those less fortunate who are suffering through harrowing times.

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