Katherine Ryan says girls should be taught about the realities of miscarriage after suffering her own pregnancy loss earlier this year.
In a candid talk with Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore – who has also written about her experience of miscarriage in the past – Ryan says the pain and shame surrounding the topic should be tackled on the education curriculum.
“I think it needs to be on the curriculum,” the Canadian comedian tells the Castaway podcast. “I think girls need to know that you can have this secret silent miscarriage.
“I mean, because I’m 36, I thought I was very well-versed on women’s issues and I genuinely didn’t know that a miscarriage could happen in this way.”
Ryan and her partner Bobby Kootstra miscarried in February, 10 weeks into her pregnancy.
“It can be a very lonely experience,” she says. “I felt embarrassed and shameful. Not that I had the loss but I felt embarrassed for getting excited before the loss.
“I felt all these things, and I looked for stories [of people who suffered in a similar way] and I really couldn’t find many of them.”
A few months ago, Ryan recalled her miscarriage experience in a raw and honest edition of her own podcast, Telling Everybody Everything.
“It was important for me to share that I think, even if it just helps one person,” she says.
Ryan adds that she herself was helped through her trauma by Whitmore, who wrote a piece about what happened when she miscarried two years ago.
“I felt I had to be sad alone,” Whitmore said, after finding out at her 12-week scan that there was no heartbeat. “Apart from a handful of people, no one knew. I had to deal with high intensity work situations without anyone around me knowing what was really going on inside my head.”
“You did really help me a lot,” Ryan tells Whitmore on the podcast, referring to the piece.
In a strange twist of fate, Whitmore also revealed that she went onto see Ryan perform live the evening after she and her partner Iain Stirling suffered their miscarriage.
Whitmore remembers saying to Stirling, “I want to have a little bit of escapism for an hour. I want to laugh and I want to watch a show and then I’ll deal with it.”
The two presenters agreed that there is a “collective grief” involved in miscarriage that means women often feel like they just have to get on with their lives: even while they’re still reeling from the pain.
“I felt like a walking tomb and it took me a month to sort it out to get it out,” Ryan says. “It’s crazy, they don’t teach us this in school.”
Around one in eight women suffer from a miscarriage according to the NHS. It’s not uncommon to feel like you cannot talk about the loss, especially if you never made your pregnancy public to begin with.
But as Whitmore says, “We’re all people, we all go through the same sh**”. The more we can open up dialogue around the struggle of this very unique loss, the less alone women going through it will feel.
Are you suffering from the loss of a pregnancy? You’re not alone. Seek help and support with the Miscarriage Association
Main image: Getty