Okay, so technically Sky TV didn’t reject me (please don’t sue), it was probably just someone in the editing room who was told by someone else higher up, who was instructed by someone over the phone to cut me out the feature, but I’ve still got something to say about it.
Sky TV, I cleaned my house for you. I even dusted and I cleaned the windows – I don’t even do that when my mum visits. I did my hair for you, albeit in a messy, kind of just got out of bed look, but still I tried to style it – I’m curly/frizzy haired, I did the best with what I had. I tried to dress nicely, in a kind of cool, casual/smart way using the clothes available within my budget as a vicar’s wife – basically I wore a top that was less than two years old. I made your cameraman a nice cup of coffee with real coffee, not instant. I read all the articles on the recurrent miscarriage research more than once to make sure I could try to sound like I knew what I was talking about. I even told ITV they had to come a bit later so that I could fit you in – coordinating TV interviews is not one of my regular hobbies. I did everything you asked of me, I looked into the camera and answered your questions, I shared my story, I rejoiced in the news of the findings of this new research. I cared about the story, I was all fired up to represent the women who’d suffered recurrent miscarriage with no answer as to why and no hope of a cure.
And instead you showed an interview with a woman and her baby.
You told me I’d done a good job? You said I expressed myself well.
Okay, I didn’t cry like the other lady. Also, her kitchen looked nicer than mine and she had better hair and her top was probably less than two years old, but why her and not me? Or why not both of us?
She did a great job, her losses were significant and I stand with her in her grief. But this research that’s just come out is for the 50% of women who’ve suffered from recurrent miscarriage but have never found out why. I’m in that 50%, I’m one of those women the doctors at Warwickshire University are carrying out their research for. Okay, right now I can’t provide you with a ‘happy ending’, I can’t show you a cute baby, I may not have the answer or the outcome I’ve hoped for but that doesn’t mean my story shouldn’t be told and it doesn’t mean my story doesn’t have value.
Sky TV, you made me sad. No one’s going to see how clean my house can be. I used up the last of my fresh coffee beans on making a drink for your cameraman and I now I have to use the crappy coffee at the back of the cupboard tomorrow morning. Staying at home to do the interview also meant I missed out on spending time with my friend Laura, hanging out in a cafe together and pretending to write. But more than that, by replacing me with a woman and her baby it felt like you were saying her story was better than mine and that’s an opinion I’ve been fighting for years.
I know you were just doing a piece to connect with your viewers and everyone likes a cute baby in the shot, and after today I’ve just realised how much I hate seeing myself on the telly. But I wish you’d used my story, or replaced me with a woman who has better hair but is still trying to live a life of purpose without children.
Sky TV, I’ve decided that if you need to interview me again, and if you ask nicely, I will still speak to you. You can come round to my clean house, I’ll do my hair and find a new(ish) top, I might even give you fresh coffee. But please do not replace my story with a woman and her baby.
And now, for those of you who weren’t in my living room last Tuesday afternoon, here’s a highly exclusive, edited, far more eloquent summary of what I tried to say on Sky TV.
The experience of recurrent miscarriage has been the most traumatic and the most life changing I’ve ever had. I have known great pain, both physical and emotional, I have known loneliness and had communities gather round me, I have gone from great hope to deep despair. The experience of six losses followed by the news that the hospital could not find any medical reason for my miscarriages was a painful one, but it was the struggle of learning to live in the reality of this pain that taught me and changed me. Yes, I would love to have a family, but I don’t see motherhood as the pinnacle of my story, or any woman’s story. I am trying to live out a meaningful life with what I have right now, I don’t know what will happen in the future but I do know I don’t need a child to have purpose in this world. I am deeply encouraged by the new research that has been published, that there are medical professionals and scientists fighting and striving to find answers for women like me and I am grateful to them. I don’t know if this research will enable me to have my own children, but I still have hope. I have hope for the other women this will help and hope that regardless of whether or not this research can help me, I can still live a very full and meaningful life.
Oh, Lizzie, I’m sorry that they didn’t include you. I gues we’ll never know why.
Love & prayers,
Thanks Lou xxx
Hi Lizzie, I can really empathise with your story! I think our culture has a huge blindspot around infertility, what Jody Day (Gateway Women) calls ‘symbolic annihilation’. I have also had a very similar experience of being asked to be interviewed for National Infertility Awareness Week by a prominent national infertility charity as I was one of the few people actually willing to talk about my recurrent IVF failure whilst not having had eventual ‘success’. Later the Head of Communications phoned me to say that basically, as I had not yet been successful, they’d decided to pass on me for someone who had been. It totally and utterly sucked – if even an infertility charity chose to exemplify stories of eventual success, then who (I felt) was actually going to advocate for those who have to live out the alternate reality. I love your blog, it’s always helpful reading and I hope SKY TV read your post! Cat xxx
Hi Cat, thanks so much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a similar experience, it’s so frustrating because stories like yours need to be shared to help encourage people who are in a similar position. No wonder it can be so difficult at times to believe you’re living a meaningful life when you don’t have kids because the media seems to be focused on stories with classic ‘happy ending’. Thanks so much for sharing, we definitely need to keep representing those whose stories aren’t straight forward! So glad you like the blog, sending lots of love to you xx