27 July, 2020

Talking about The Unthinkable

I was thinking over the weekend that it was time I wrote a more upbeat post here. Because life right now, here in New Zealand, is good, and only a few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of gratitude. So I should practice what I preach! Then this morning I heard an interview with a couple who had lost their baby shortly after birth. Their story is the first in a podcast series about being produced by Radio New Zealand (RNZ), and rightly, the podcast is getting plenty of publicity from our national radio station. And I have to say, as sad as the story was, it was good to hear it at peak time on Monday morning, sandwiched between political commentary and news reports, less than two months from our own election. The interviewer too, let them talk. It helped that the woman in the couple is a journalist for RNZ, and they were both very open and articulate.

You can hear today’s interview via this link, and the five-part podcast is aptly titled, The Unthinkable. Episode One, about the first couple’s experience, is already up.

One issue that the father talked about is one I could very much relate to. He talked about those first fleeting moments of happiness or laughter, then being wracked with guilt. “How could I laugh when I’ve lost my baby?” he remembered feeling. I lifted my head and looked to the sky and said, “oh god, yes!” I had exactly that reaction, almost verbatim, numerous times. Until I realised that it was okay. It didn’t mean I didn’t love the baby I never had, the pregnancies I had lost. It didn’t mean I didn’t deserve it. I’ve written about this a lot, most recently here and all of them labelled “guilt” are here. But even though I knew all this, it was very good to hear it being said, and very good to know that others in need were hearing this too.

Another interesting point was they talked about a subsequent miscarriage, in between the two children they have had since. They talked about how hard that was, and how that brought considerable fear the next time they got pregnant. Many can relate to that. It was the theme of my post only a couple of weeks ago. Our innocence – that we can have a pregnancy (healthy, or at all) – is gone.

Yes, it can be hard listening. It is far from upbeat. But there is really good advice about relationships, about how people can help (we can all relate to that I am sure), and about the hope. Because there is hope there too. Hope for recovery. Hope to understand that they will feel happy again. Hope to know that a good life is possible; in fact, inevitable. And that's the best news any of us can have.


  1. My longtime penpal in Auckland just sent me the link to this one this morning! So glad to see this issue being tackled -- in five parts, no less!! I will look forward to listening.

    1. Great minds think alike! lol I am looking forward to listening to the whole thing too.

  2. I'm adding this to my podcast queue.

    Interestingly, the one I listened to today might be helpful in our community. It was On Being, an interview with Pauline Boss on ambiguous loss. https://onbeing.org/programs/pauline-boss-navigating-loss-without-closure/

  3. Oooh, I will listen to that one too. And I'm not really a podcast listener!