Woman's powerful story of 'gratitude' in face of miscarriage prompts outpouring of support

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Susan Devaney
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The subject of miscarriage is still shrouded in silence, even though the NHS says one in six women who fall pregnant will miscarry.

But one young woman, Shelly Mettling, has courageously opened up a dialogue about miscarriage on social media after losing her own baby and she has an important message to share on what it means to be a mother. 

After miscarrying two weeks after discovering she was pregnant, Shelly took to Instagram on Thursday to share a deeply emotional and bravely honest post about how she was feeling and coping with the loss.

Starting off by describing the last 72 hours as “UGH”, Shelly shared a snap of her and husband Matt looking drained after having experienced every emotion from sadness and anger to confusion. However, she acknowledged that she also felt a sense of gratitude for the chance to know motherhood and to be able to share her story with others who might need to know they are not alone. 

“I'm grateful that I got to feel (even for a short time) the power of Motherhood!” she wrote. “I'm grateful that I got to experience the bond that a woman feels the instant she finds out she is growing a little human in her belly! I'm grateful I got to feel the love I was capable of feeling/giving to someone that I had never even met.”

“I'm grateful for the family and friends that have been checking in on me and lifting me up when I've been so knocked down it's hard to visualise standing again! I'm grateful I have a platform to share my story to help others who have made room in their own hearts for someone special they too never got to meet.

“I'm sad, I'm heartbroken, I'm torn to pieces – but I'm grateful.”

Many social media users have been sending their condolences to Shelly and Matt, along with women sharing their own fertility struggles and understanding of the complex set of emotions that come in the face of such a loss.

“So sorry for your loss. My first baby would have been 17 years of age November 10. You never ever forget but I am truly blessed with my family I have now,” one user shared.

“I am so beyond sorry you are having to deal with this and am so proud of your outlook,” another commented. “It takes a strong and courageous woman to be able to look at it that way. Praying for you and your husband to find peace during this time.” 

“Very sorry to hear, Shell. Having been a parent who has lost a child I understand and feel your pain. It wasn't meant to be sweetie. But God will bless you with something beautiful, whole and healthy. Like it was in my case. Prayers, thoughts and immense love for you and your husband always,” another Instagram user posted. 

Research has proven that the psychological impact of miscarriage can be so severe that many women experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. From isolation and guilt, the symptoms suffered can continue to worsen with a support network and the opportunity to speak openly.

But thankfully, public figures have been creating a conversation around miscarriage in recent years to try to break the taboo.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, spoke last year for the first time to The Sunday Times about the miscarriage she suffered in a bid to "challenge some of the assumptions and judgments that are still made about women – especially in politics – who don’t have children”.

Speaking to journalist Mandy Rhodes for the book Scottish National Party Leaders, Sturgeon revealed that she had a miscarriage shortly before the 2011 Holyrood election, when she was 40 years old and working as Deputy First Minister.

Sturgeon, who has faced incessant questioning about her childfree status throughout her career, said she made the decision to discuss the miscarriage in order to dispel the myth that she had chosen her career over starting a family.

She said that she did not want young girls who consider her a role model to believe that was the case. Instead, she conveyed her hope that having a family would not have negatively affected her career.

In her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, Beyoncé opened up about suffering a miscarriage before the birth of her first child, Blue Ivy.

“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life,” she said.

“Being pregnant was very much like falling in love. You are so open. You are so overjoyed. There’s no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you, so of course you want to scream it out and tell everyone.”

But before she could share the good news, the singer had complications in the early stages of her pregnancy.

“I flew back to New York to get my check up – and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.”

The singer said it was “the saddest thing” she had ever been through.

Images: Instagram / Getty