This week Coronation Street are doing a stillbirth storyline, or a technically speaking ‘late miscarriage’ I hate this term with a passion and will discuss it more in a bit.
I am not a massive Coronation Street fan, if it is on I will watch it but I wouldn’t have it on record unlike other soaps. But as soon as I heard about this storyline I knew that I would be stepping away from watching it. Mainly because I knew that Kym Marsh who is acting out this story had personal experience from this, and I knew it would be acted from the heart, since then I have also learned that the actor Simon Gregson has also had personal experience from this. I also didn’t want to watch as Rhianna’s birthday (anniversary) is in a couple of months and this time of the year is hard and I didn’t want to put more pressure on myself.
After seeing friends reactions over night to the show I made the right decision, and it seems it was a massive emotional episode and I am pleased it has been done so well.
But I still wanted to blog about this as it is still such a taboo subject.
One thing I read today was that in Fridays episode Steve and Michelle (the characters) are told that their little boy will not receive a birth certificate because he has been born before 24 weeks.
I can not tell you how this has made me feel.
This is something that we have struggled with and is something that not many people know.
In fact when we lost Rhianna every single friend and family member who hadn’t ever experienced a ‘late miscarriage’ were horrified when we publically announced that we had no birth certificate for Rhianna as she was born at 23 weeks and 5 days.
They like us ASSUMED we gave birth so we would get a birth certificate.
If your baby is born and is stillborn (late miscarriage) before 24 weeks in England you get no birth certificate this is one final blow for you as a family.
There is no record for you as a family, nothing to indicate that your baby is here. For us this was a massive thing for Mr L, Rhianna will always be on my records medically but for him, for his paper trail he is only a dad to two boys, and now five years on I think this is a massive fail in the system. Men feel helpless when a stillbirth happens, they are sat with their partner watching her go through hell giving birth, all to end in silence. It is huge, they can’t do anything to help.
Then they have this baby, their future stolen from them, they are broken but they have to remain strong, because somewhere in this society men have to be strong.
Every where we went in those first few weeks Mr L was told to look after me, keep strong make sure I was ok.
It is expected, I don’t know when that happened but it is.
And they are torn in two but they keep going.
And this finally kick is that there is no record that they had that little baby.
It really infuriates me.
Mr L has three children, two boys and a little girl, he held his little girl in his arms, he dreamed about her being a daddies little girl, hating her boyfriends, walking her down the aisle.
All of those dreams are broken.
He held her broken.
He watched her tiny white coffin be lowered into the ground.
And cried like he has never cried before.
He hugged me and her brothers in tears that she isn’t here.
But in future years, if someone wants to look up Mr L’s family there will be no Rhianna to find.
All because she was born before 24 weeks, all because she was a ‘late miscarriage’ and not a technical stillbirth.
We gave birth, our daughter was born not breathing.
We had a miscarriage.
They are equally heartbreaking.
They are equally sole destroying.
They are so very different.
They need to be separated.
I am so pleased Coronation Street are doing this as a story line, I have the utmost respect for both the actors, this is extremely raw and honest for them, and they are going to places no one forgets but no one wants to revisit, but if one person understands this better than they have done something amazing for their babies.
But I am so pleased that they are following this storyline with the fact that their child wont get a birth certificate this is such a huge unknown thing, and I hope in the future this will be changed at some point as it brings in a flatness, a heartache that doesn’t need to be added to the already broken heart that you have.
I hope that some when in the future, you will be able to register your child legally if you have a stillbirth before 24 weeks.
I hope that some when in the future a late miscarriage will be changed, I refuse to call Rhianna that she was a stillbirth and will always be a stillbirth to her family.
All these babies matter, and paper work, and technical terms need to be adapted. They need to lessen the heartbreak not make it worse.