FeForte: Jacqui’s Story of Resilience after the Loss of her Baby

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Co-Founders Dr Jacqui Leaman Grey and Georgina Gorman took some time to discuss Jacqui’s story of resilience after the loss of her baby.

Jacqui is a thought leader on many topics including Gender and Resilience. She was previously Managing Director at NLI EMEA and previously FVP of D&I at Merrill Lynch, among many other roles. She’s a published author, keynote speaker, has a doctorate in Executive Anxiety, she’s a Trustee, she has, again, has many strings to her bow and different experiences she could talk to us about. In our conversation, she discussed her story of how she found resilience in a particularly difficult time. 

‘…it really is a choice to some degree after the initial period of grief, to choose to live again, to choose to say ‘I’m not going to let this define me’. Because sometimes bad things happen and that’s your whole life and nothing else exists. And for the people around you, you just kind of need to pull yourself up and say ‘I can face life and I will make choices that rebuild.’

Dr. Jacqui Leaman Grey

If you’ve been impacted by anything we discussed, please reach out to us at info@feforte.com or contact one of the great organisations listed here : https://babyloss-awareness.org/organisations/

Full Transcript:

Georgina: Hi everyone, I’m Georgina Gorman and welcome to FeForte. Our mission is to build female resilience using science and philosophy. One of our key principles at FeForte to help build resilience and share knowledge, and today’s conversation is one of the ways that we do this. We’ll be recording today’s session. If you are on the line live with us and would like to ask questions, please feel free to come off mute to do so or feel free to chat in and we’ll read them out as we go along.

We hold these conversations regularly, either as recorded sessions or live events, and cover many topics. So you’ll hear personal stories of challenge and resilience, hear from women in particular roles or industries who can share their advice and wisdom, and you’ll also hear from scientists and experts about the ways that we can build resilience and flourish. Make sure to sign up to our mailing list if you haven’t already or follow us on social media to be the first to know about upcoming events.

Our other key principles to build resilience are to create community and to change habits. To create community, we have established a group where women of all backgrounds and walks of life can come together, it’s a network where members can come together to support each other, mentor each other and learn from everyone. Finally, we build resilience through changing habits, and you’ll learn three key habits for resilience on any of our training courses. Check out our website to learn more.

Without further delay, welcome to today’s conversation with Co-founder Dr Jacqui Leaman Grey.

Jacqui is a thought leader on many topics including Gender and Resilience. She was previously Managing Director at NLI EMEA and previously FVP of D&I at Merrill Lynch, among many other roles. She’s a published author, keynote speaker, has a doctorate in Executive Anxiety, she’s a Trustee, she has, again, has many strings to her bow and different experiences she could talk to us about. Today she is particularly going to share with us her story of how she found resilience in a particularly difficult time.  As a warning, we will be discussing the loss of a baby during today’s conversation so just in case you don’t want to hear about that or are triggered by that, please be prepared for what’s to come. I’m going to hand over to Jacqui to tell us her story

Jacqui: Thanks Georgina. Yeah, it’s quite hard to know where to start, but I think one of the things we talk about on our programmes is bouncing back from adversity and particularly crucibles of experience where you go through really, really ‘dark nights of the soul’ as it were. And I guess my biggest one was quite a few years ago now, it was the loss of my baby is the sort of headline. What actually happened was I had inherited 3 little boys when they were very young as stepsons they were 2,4 and 6, and I had taken them on as my own. I’d been a career woman, I’d always worked, I studied Law then I was a HRD, then I got into leadership training and D&I as Georgina mentioned. And I was pretty successfully running my own SME at the time. A niche headhunting business, and everything was pretty good. We had a nice house, and we had you know, trappings of Middle-class life I suppose. And we decided that we would like our own baby between us. So I got pregnant I was 38 at the time, so quite a late pregnancy because we had been focussing on his little boys for about 10years att that time. I got pregnant fairly easily, I had a very easy pregnancy apart from a bit of morning sickness. I exercised the day I went into labour, I went swimming, and I ate healthily. Everything seemed fine, all the scans were fine despite me being 38. Life was pretty good. And I had sort of put in place, arrangements for a few weeks off after the birth, but my plan was to go straight back to work, as I was running a small business I had a partner, a Co-Founder of this consultancy who had been working with me for many years and he was happy to hold the fort until I could get back.

So all was well, then this day was a sunny day and everything seemed fine, then I went upstairs and suddenly my waters broke. And it was like ‘oh my god’ so big rush to the hospital. Some warning signs should have gone off for me in that I remember my husband at the time being very concerned that I didn’t make a mess of his front seat in his Porsche. Which, you know, I am laughing, but it isn’t really funny when you look back on it, anyway. We went to the local, what’s it called, maternity department and they took me in. And nothing much happened for quite a long time and unlike nowadays they said just sort of keep walking about, go for a walk into town. It was Ascot week, so there were all these women in big hats walking around the high street and me looking like a barrage balloon waddling about trying to get this baby to come. What I didn’t know was that this little midwife-run unit actually had protocols that said if you didn’t give birth within a certain period of time you had to be transferred to a very large teaching hospital, which was, really not a very good one. It was Wrexham Park in, I don’t know where it is actually, near Slough somewhere. And I was rushed off after about 24hours as I hadn’t dilated enough. So I was rushed off to this huge faceless hospital where the ratio of patients to midwifes was way worse than the midwife run unit that I had been admitted to, and had they left me there I think everything would have been fine because they were so experienced. But by shipping me off to this massive, understaffed hospital, it was dirty, there was no, I mean there were literally beds with blood in them not cleared up for hours, the toilets were horrible. Hardly anyone came to see me or monitored me, compared to in the midwife run little unit where it was all the time there was an experienced older midwife coming to see you, checking on everything. And so it went on.

During the I think it was the second night, my then husband decided to go home for some sleep because he was tired. And a friend that had been with me when my waters had broken, went to get some sleep too. And what actually turned out some time later I discovered was that they were having an affair. So my best friend who was with me at the birth and my husband went home to have sex, basically. I didn’t know that then. So I was just exhausted, I was quite frightened, it was a very alien, huge maternity unit. I don’t know if I should say this but, a lot of the nurses and doctors couldn’t speak English and that was actually quite scary as a woman in labour not being able to communicate with them and actually know what they were saying to each other. So there were a lot of conversations going on across me. So I felt very isolated, very excluded, as we know you need to communicate better in stressful situations for people to feel included.

There were several women that were admitted to the ward after me whose babies went into distress, so they were given caesareans whereas I wasn’t because my babies heart was fine, or so they said. I had quite a good midwife, she seemed to have everything in hand. I got moved to the actual delivery ward and everything to started to happen. It was going fine. Until she had to go because her son needed her car and it was really bad luck. And she said ‘I’m so sorry to leave you but you’ll be fine, you’ll be in good hands. Don’t worry about it.’ She left and then the quality of care diminished rapidly. It was the middle of the night which apparently is when the most things go wrong in the NHS. And my baby’s, the heart monitor that was on my baby, started to get gaps in it. Nobody was taking any notice of this. I had had an epidural, because by now I was in the third day of labour and I was exhausted and I couldn’t take the pain anymore, even though that wasn’t what I wanted. And I had these midwives that just wouldn’t call a doctor. They kept turning me because I had had an epidural, I couldn’t move myself, and they didn’t… they seemed quite afraid to call a doctor. My ex-husband at the time saw the doctor on duty sitting with her feet up at one of the stations seemingly not bothered by anyone. Just dreadful care really. The upshot was that I was suddenly rushed into the actual labour suite, hoisted up into the stirrups, the baby was forcibly dragged out and then nobody spoke to me for about 5 minutes. It seemed like eternity. And I am going ‘What’s happening? Where’s my baby?’ Then someone came over and said ‘I’m so sorry, he’s not made it’. And the reason that he died, was that he was a perfectly healthy full-term baby but he had the cord wrapped around his neck. So had they given me a caesarean he would have lived.

Then after that, pretty much, my life fell to bits. There was like a domino effect. Though my, sorry, a domino effect of I lost my baby. I lost my husband. We tried for about 6 months to make things work but it was all broken. The weaker I was the less he liked me. My business, I had to accept reality that I couldn’t work and my business partner was a lovely guy but he had kind of, grown up with me. He was a young partner when we started out, then he could run the business without me. So reality was that we made an agreement for me to leave over time. He is still trading today successfully, thank goodness. Then I lost my house, because we couldn’t afford, well we were splitting up, so we had to sell the house. It was a pretty bad crucible of experience. I tried all sorts of things, but it really was a long dark period for me. Having been very happy.

Georgina: It just sounds awful. How did you feel in those first moments when they shared that your baby hadn’t made it. I’m guessing that was complete shock.

Jacqui: Yeah it was complete denial. It’s like, ‘No that’s not possible.’ There was this huge physical sense of loss as well as emotional. You’ve carried this baby around and particularly as they get to be almost full term, they are constantly with you, they are constantly moving. So you have sort of already made friends with them, and then suddenly they’ve gone. But your body doesn’t know that. So your milk comes in. And your body wanted to feed a baby, but you don’t have a baby to feed. I found it quite difficult to hold the baby, I just, my mother sat in a different room with him for about 3 hours. She couldn’t let him go. I was so unable to accept that he had gone, that I couldn’t bring myself. I held him for a little while but then… it was like I couldn’t accept that that was my baby and he had died. He still had a heartbeat when he was delivered. But had he survived, he would have had terrible brain damage, so in some ways it was, for him, I don’t know, maybe a release.

Georgina: How did you deal with that time, as you say you, you had your husband there but doesn’t sound like he was very much help at all,

Jacqui: No

Georgina: How was leaving the hospital, how did you manage that time that came after?

Jacqui: I was physically pretty damaged anyway, because I had gone into labour on a Tuesday and I actually delivered him on the Friday morning, so it was a very long time. So I literally was in bed for about a week, with both emotional trauma and physical. And the actual delivery had caused quite a lot of damage so I wasn’t in any fit state to do very much. I remember, at Harry’s funeral, I had to take a rubber ring with me. They probably had special things now for women in my condition to sit on, but then it was the good ol’ rubber ring treatment. So I do remember that was the only light moment of the day was when I had to walk into the church with the rubber ring. I gave a talk at the funeral, and everyone went to the pub opposite the church after because I couldn’t face having it at home and I just went home, I couldn’t, I couldn’t mix with anyone or be with anyone. I just withdrew really. My ex just seemed to mow the lawn and we just didn’t communicate at all. So it just went, I mean I wasn’t aware that we had a bad relationship if I’m honest, until after, and he withdrew from me even more and his way was to withdraw from me and you know have more of a relationship elsewhere, but apparently it turns out that’s what he had always done. I was just a pattern. So huge feelings of betrayal as well as loss. Just not able to function very well in the world at all. I couldn’t work for about 6 months. It wasn’t a good time.

Georgina: No, there’s a couple of questions coming in in the chat, are you happy if I jump to those?

Jacqui: Of course

Georgina: I’ll go with the most recent one first, because I think that’s what you’ve just been talking about. Did you feel under pressure to modify your behaviour to become the strong woman that he’d fallen in love with? So when you were talking about your husband, did you feel personally…

Jacqui: Yeah I did, because he definitely didn’t cope well with me being weak. It was, I’ve always earnt my own money, made my own way. I’ve got a sense of humour. And I was just so battered that I couldn’t, I found it very difficult to be that strong person. And I genuinely am quite a strong person, its not an act generally. He, is not a strong person emotionally, and couldn’t deal with me being, instead of being the rock, I suddenly became the victim, and he couldn’t cope with that at all. I think he almost had a nervous breakdown. I don’t think I had a nervous breakdown I think I just withdrew.

I tried therapy. I went to a psychologist I think, and it didn’t really do anything for me. I found somebody sitting there with a notebook not saying anything, really didn’t help me. I’m much more of an activist, I need someone to talk back. Like what we are doing I suppose., rather than ask one question every 15minutes and expect me to come up with it all. I can talk about it now but its quite a long time since it happened, and I talked about it with friends who have helped me and I did do some talks for doctors and nurses about the patient’s perspective, and I was interviewed in a few places. And I could talk about it but talking from a couch with nobody responding, just, I remember sometimes I would get to, I would suddenly connect with my emotions after 45minutes and be into something and then I would get the ‘you know, we have 5 minutes, so need to wrap it up now’ which to me felt heartless. I know people have schedules, but it just didn’t work for me.

Georgina: No, that’s understandable. From the sounds of it, just to call back to something you said then, I don’t think you were weak at all. I don’t think you were. It sounds like you were incredibly strong during that time, and that your husband needed you to be the rock for him during that time just isn’t fair. It sounds like you did, that you held yourself together incredibly well.

Jacqui: Yeah I guess. I mean I cried a lot. I did all the things you do when you go through grief. I suppose I was fairly strong but I did, I didn’t feel strong inside. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted the NHS to not do that again. I offered to help and talk to people and run support groups or whatever at the time and they didn’t want to know. They didn’t even reply to my letters. I think someone eventually said, ‘send us a list of your courses and we’ll pick some’, and it’s like that wasn’t what I meant. It was like, more at a strategic level of consulting with how women are treated during the birth process. I mean I didn’t want to destroy the NHS in any way but I did think things needed to change.

Georgina: Did they address any of that in the moment with you, you said, you mentioned about the conditions in the ward, about the lack of attention on the monitor, and that perhaps if they had have carried out a caesarean then perhaps Harry could have been saved, did they address any of that? Did they talk to you about it?

Jacqui: I received an apology. From the consultant. He said he would privately manage my delivery if I ever, if I became pregnant again. I did become pregnant again but unfortunately, I had miscarriages, so I wasn’t very successful. Yeah they tried, but I was advised by another consultant who is a friend of mine, that I should sue them. Because that’s, he said ‘You won’t’, and this was when they weren’t replying to my emails, he said that if you don’t, if you don’t they won’t respond. If you do then they will, they will take notice. It’s unfortunate but there are so many lawsuits now against the NHS. And I did think long and hard about whether I should do that and that was why I came up with the idea of saying I will give you consulting and training to the value of whatever I get, my main objective was to actually say, this has to change, this isn’t OK.

I was talking at a conference once and the person speaking before me was talking about how many billions of pounds the NHS spend on legal action and it’s like, wouldn’t it be better to actually do more to make sure all these claims don’t happen. But then I got the response, ‘Why don’t you send us your shopping list and we’ll pick something’… which I just found ridiculous. And I have subsequently helped people in other ways around bereavement and loss and babies, just on an informal basis, so I’ve found other ways to give that money back, but it was unfortunate that I had to do that to get any sort of traction with them for change.

Georgina: So you did, you did successfully sue them in the end (Jacqui nods). Again it is such a horrible situation that that is the language that they talk, and that’s what they hear, but I’m glad at least there was some resolution in that they knew what had happened and they were aware of it.

Jacqui: Yeah

Georgina: Another question coming in, how did you manage your feelings around your stepsons?

Jacqui: I adore my stepsons, they are still my stepsons and I am Grandma to their kids. And I have subsequently remarried quite recently actually and inherited another two, so now I, you know be careful what you wish for because I now have 5 stepsons, 8 grandchildren and 3 godchildren, 4 godchildren sorry, so I’m not exactly bereft of children in my life which is nice. Which is lovely. But no they’ve been, unfortunately their mum died and they’ve always, I’ve always been in their lives and they are now very, very precious and I still see a lot of them. I am very lucky in that respect. I had a huge fear when it happened that I would lose them too. That I wouldn’t get to see them. But they wanted to see me. They were young teenagers at the time and I carried on seeing them until they were grown and now they have kids of their own. So I’m very lucky in that respect.

For anybody who is listening to this, it was an awful time. And if anyone is feeling that, my heart really, genuinely goes out. There is no cure other than time, which when you are going through it is like, ‘yeah thanks a lot that’s absolutely useless’ I get that but it is a bit true. I can still get very upset about it, but I have also moved on. You sort of can choose to move through things and look for the, you can’t in the moment or very early on, but gradually you can start looking at things as opportunities rather than what’s wrong in your life. And you meet new people and various things happen, doors open for you and you just have to step through them. We’ve done loads of research on growth mindset and how, if you can frame something as a challenge, rather than a disaster it makes a huge difference to how you overcome things. And we know that social pain lands in the brain as hard as physical pain, but there is a lot more empathy and sympathy for physical pain than social pain which goes on for a long time. And I know that my ex-husband he got a lot of sympathy at work straight away and then everyone expected him to pull himself together and he couldn’t. So it’s, it really is a choice to some degree after the initial period of grief, to choose to live again, to choose to say ‘I’m not going to let this define me’. Because sometimes bad things happen and that’s your whole life and nothing else exists. And for the people around you, you just kind of need to pull yourself up and say ‘I can face life and I will make choices that rebuild’. I’ve done that several times, I have had several bereavements unfortunately, and I just… I know it will get better. I think the first time something bad happens to you, you think ‘this is it, my life’s over, I can never recover’ and it truly, truly feels that way. But you can, you really can over time.

Georgina: And I think what you are saying there will be very helpful to anyone going through this, or potentially going through it, and there’s a chat just come in saying that ‘I know it will get better’ is a really strong message to pass on to people going through bereavement. And I think what you were sharing Jacqui around being able to, you mentioned before todays session about talking to people who had been through this and you mentioned a bit today about helping others that have been through it, I think there is a lot of power in someone saying that ‘I know it will get better’ when they have been through it themselves. I think sometimes if you haven’t been through it and you say it will get better, it sometimes sound a little bit like ‘ you’ve got no…, the reaction could be ‘you have no idea what it feels like, it’s not going to get better’.

Jacqui: Yeah and you get quite angry. I remember a lot of people saying ‘Never mind, you can have another baby’ and it’s like ‘I don’t want another baby, I want that one’ and it’s like, you have carried it to full-term, you’ve felt it move, you’ve made friend with it you’ve fallen in love with it. Don’t tell me I can have another baby. It doesn’t help me. I want that one.

People without any of that experience don’t know what it feels like, that’s the truth. And I’m not undermining it in any way because I have had miscarriages and a baby die at full-term birth, but they are different. And sometimes someone will say ‘I lost a baby at 8 weeks’. It’s still absolute torture and horrible, but it isn’t the same as losing one at 36 weeks, or 38 weeks whatever it is. It’s different. I’m not saying it’s worse because people feel things in different ways but you can’t empathise with someone truly unless you have been in those shoes. That’s my belief, I might be wrong, maybe some people can. It didn’t help me unless it was someone who had actually been through it.

My friends helped me just be being there and listening to me, and one of my friends was pregnant, she was about 6 months pregnant when I lost Harry. And when she had Anna, Anna became ours. They’ve always shared Anna with me. She’s my goddaughter and she’s lovely. And they didn’t understand exactly but they kind of were pregnant at the same time and therefore there was a lot of empathy there, and that was helpful, but they really didn’t do anything other than be with me and listen when I wanted to talk about it or cry about it. That was one of my safe places to share and I had a couple of close friends like that, that was helpful

Georgina: From an outsider perspective it must be very hard to know what to say or do when someone has gone through something as traumatic as you did. I can imagine if I was in the situation your friend was where she was 6months pregnant and my friend had just lost her baby I would be like ‘I don’t want to be happy around, I don’t want to show that, I don’t want to talk about my pregnancy as that’s, kind of, rubbing it in’. Is there anything that people said or did or didn’t do, what was particularly helpful? Was it helpful to talk about it? Was it helpful to not talk about it?

Jacqui: Yeah I think everyone’s different. I found it helpful to talk to friends, when I wanted to. There were a couple of things, when people don’t mention it at all, that just feels like you have a big, fat elephant sitting in your lap. And the other was, I had one person who, lovely woman but she wasn’t a close friend, she was actually married to my ex’s boss. She phoned me up and said, ‘Oh Jacqui I’m just so sorry’ and proceeded to cry for about 45mins down the phone. And I ended up comforting her. And that’s not really helpful. Because you are desperately trying to deal with your own grief and then you’ve got someone, who meant well, but just couldn’t control herself. So if you know you are of the type that isn’t going to be able to control, you need to look after your own emotions separately to the person who is grieving, because they just need people to be… I needed the sort of strong silent type you know, I didn’t want advice or ‘this will make it better’. I think I read somewhere, no it was our interview with Sarah Williams-Gardener, she was saying one of the most helpful things is people who just turn up with a Shepherd’s Pie and leave it on your front doorstep, because the family still have to eat, and you don’t want to cook, and you don’t want to eat, but it’s kind of like, it’s a nurturing thing to do. So just letting people know that you are there and that you care and that you are available. Wherever, whenever. I think nights are quite bad, so having people saying ‘If you need me, I’ll have my phone on, anytime.’ I always say this to people now who are going through something, I always say ‘look, the phones on, by my bed, if you can’t sleep and it’s really awful. Just call me, and we can have a chat. It’s no problem’. That’s quite helpful, because sometimes the nights seem like they are forever.

Georgina: And feeling like you’ve got that offer, you’ve got someone there to call if you need to, even if you don’t call them I guess its really comforting.

Jacqui: Yeah I think I never get called but I make the offer and I know it was helpful to me. I have had people ask if I will speak to their husbands or someone at work whose wife has just their baby, and often the men are in bits and they don’t know what to do. So sometimes I talk to them as well as the women. Because often the focus does all go on the women. And you know you are the one that has carried it and lost it. But I think men feel pretty useless, and they can support the women even better if they are feeling stronger so they need help to.

Georgina: Is there any advice that you would give to partners, apart from being there and supporting how they can, is there anything else?

Jacqui: Unfortunately there is this ‘man thing’ where they withdraw emotionally, so I would say be present. Be there. Don’t force a conversation but don’t hide from one either. Because I think there is a tendency for them to go off and ‘lick wounds’ and they don’t want to, don’t really want to talk about it. That was certainly my experience and I have heard other people say it too. Even the midwife who came to see me after it had happened, the one who had gone home, who was devastated that she hadn’t stayed, she said you two just need to really work hard at staying together. Because apparently, this was her version I don’t know that we have research for this, but she said most couples who lose a child split up, they don’t make it. But some do, so work really hard at that. I think it’s just being kind, being present, being willing to talk, rather than avoid emotion. Yeah it’s one of those funny things, things like being brought something, whether it’s a plant or flowers or chocolates that you don’t eat, even though they don’t mean anything in the scheme of your grief, they kind of do as well, as they are just somebody trying to tell you that they love you. And you feel like you are the most unloved thing in the world. You just feel like there is no point to your existence and having people make, for me anyway, it helped people demonstrably saying ‘we are thinking about you’ in any way at all, whether it was a card or a gesture, was very helpful. I’ve still got all the cards and things and it was quite a few years ago now, and I just occasionally look at them, and it’s, it’s comforting in a way, it’s comforting.

Georgina: It’s lovely that you had that network and that they were there when you needed them the most, and it’s those little gestures that mean the most. Quick comment from the chat, someone has kindly shared they miscarried a baby at the time that their sister-in-law was pregnant and they didn’t know. The babies would have been born around the same time and it was decided not to tell her and that was more painful. So it’s, sort of, a really difficult time.

Jacqui: Because you are being excluded aren’t you. This is a classic ‘I don’t know what to do, so I won’t say anything’, and I think you need to come closer and more inclusive. Or ask, actually say ‘Look, I’m so sorry for your loss, obviously I’m still having a baby, do you want me to talk about it or do you not want me to talk about it, because I don’t know’. I think that’s probably the best thing to do, because the person then has the permission to say ‘Actually I can’t deal with your pregnancy right now I would rather that you just got on with that and I’ll come back when I can.’

Georgina: Yeah, giving you back some control in that situation.

Jacqui: Because everyone is so different, everyone will, some people will want to know, some… I found it comforting that my friend let me share her baby when she arrived. But I did find it excruciating walking around supermarkets and seeing women with new babies. It’s only since I’ve had grandchildren that I’ve really been able to enjoy new babies. I’ve always liked them a bit more when they start toddling about. Because it’s always been painful to be to have to hold someone’s new baby. I’m fine now I can, but for a long time I couldn’t.  

Georgina: Is that because it reminded you too much of that situation or just the kind of principle?

Jacqui: Yeah, just new babies, sort of, too much love in the oxygen, too much. It was just a complete heart pang, that I… it was easier for me to push it away. It’s a bit like me not, after the very initial holding Harry I couldn’t then go back and hold him again. I just don’t want to do this. And now, if someone could magic him up now, I would hold him, but that’s hindsight. I found the same with very small babies in my circle or even just seeing them, I would just, I’d rather not look. I don’t want to… and it is horrible, but you can’t be happy for somebody else like that. It’s just really hard.

Georgina: Awful. There’s a question in the chat going back from, going back from quite a lot earlier. You mentioned organising the funeral, that must have been really painful, and bearing in mind at the time were you given any support by the health visitor team in doing that? How did you get through that time?

Jacqui: No not really. I didn’t organise the funeral, I think my ex did that. I just organised the poems and the prayers and the music that a friend of mine was a songwriter and he wrote a beautiful song and sang it. And I found some poems by Kahlil Gibran about love. And I sort of got to a place that it was all about the experience of love, that’s what I learnt. This deep, deep love that you have for a child that you don’t experience any other way really. and OK he only made it to the world and then left it straight away but that whole period of carrying him was an experience of love. So I had readings around love, rather than grief and loss I wanted to celebrate his existence, I suppose.

Georgina: That’s lovely. And how has it changed your approach to things since losing Harry, would you say that it’s impacted you as a person, had it changed your outlook?

Jacqui: Family has probably got very important to me, most of, I’m still very committed to work but I’m also very committed to family and living, living now, living in the present and being grateful for what you do have. It all sounds really trite. It’s like, I remember when I was growing up and my grandmother would say things like that, and it’s like ‘but they’re true!’. It’s like you know, if you slow down and smell the roses, and you appreciate what you have got rather than what’s wrong in your world and what you haven’t got, I think these big things actually do mean, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just, like the coronavirus, I’ve got things going on which aren’t great, you know, and I, but I know it will be OK. I think it teaches you, that you are resilient and what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So I guess it’s changed me in that respect that I, I still will go through periods of struggle and then I’ll go, ‘You know what this is just too hard, I’m going to move on.’ and I know I’ll be OK. Based on… I always have been. So it’s sort of, it is about resilience. It’s about saying, this was very, very bad but I can learn from it, and I can bounce back and I can help others with it. That’s part of the reason we want to do these things in FeForte, it really is a community where women can help each other. There are things I can’t help with because I don’t have those life experiences and it’s not who I am, but this happens to be one I can help with, and you know, menopause is another one, and things like that. It’s just, women are a very powerful force for good in the world, and moving, helping each other, supporting each other is definitely a powerful way to go for changing the world. That’s my little project. Change the world.

Georgina: Small task! Well I am absolutely on board with that too as you well know. We are coming towards the end of the hour, I’m just going to give a minute to see if anyone wants to pop in other questions in the chat, anything coming up. Jacqui, anything else that you would like to make sure people listening takeaway.

Jacqui: No I guess, if anyone wants help and they want to, they want a chat at any point, we’d be happy to, within reason. It’s an important subject and you do feel very alone and excluded at times. You feel like you’re the only one that’s going through this, even though you know logically that it’s not. It’s a massive thing to happen.

Georgina: Absolutely, thank you, thank you Jacqui. There’s nothing else come in the chat, just lots of thank yous and thank you for telling us your story and appreciating all of that, so thank you everyone that has joined us on the line today, and to anyone listening to the recording thank you as well for tuning in to us.

Just to quickly wrap up, we do hope you found it interesting. It is such an important topic to speak about. We mentioned on social media at the time when we launched this event, that some of the stats, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 women have experienced miscarriage, which as Jacqui said is loss of a baby before the first 23 weeks. And 8 babies are stillborn every day in the UK so it is very much something that affects a lot of women, and couples, and families. If you do know someone that’s struggling through this and you want to know how to support them, take some of the tips from Jacqui. As Jacqui said, ask what they need, rely on that as your guide, rather than going full force with what you think may be the best approach. Give them some control of the situation.

If you are suffering through this yourself, if we can help you we would love to. There are also lots of charities and organisations that can help you and we will list those where the event is live too. So to learn more about resilience and thriving through challenge you can join us on our next training program. We’d love to meet you, and we would love to see you in the FeForte community.

Thank you again everyone for joining us today, we hope to see you again soon! And a final thank you to Jacqui for sharing your story with us today, we really appreciate it.

Jacqui: You’re welcome.

Georgina: Thank you everyone

Jacqui: Bye

Georgina: Bye

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