Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Walks Of Life

Lily Allen. I love her. I always have. Her music and personality are gutsy and fabulous. She gets pissed and swears at Sir Elton John at award shows...which is probably not ladylike or savoury, but hilarious all the same. Her smile is illuminating and she has no fear. She has brilliant clothes.
You think celebrities are untouchable. Hardly anything bad ever happens to them (I mean, tragically bad...not a string of divorces or a drink driving charge). I googled "celebrity stillbirth" when Sybella died and came up with nothing, except for Katie Sagal (from Married With Children)...a most obscure celebrity anyway.
As you have probably heard, Lily Allen  and her partner Sam Cooper lost their baby yesterday (I believe it was a little boy, but am unsure on this). Lily had an early miscarriage in 2008.
Reports have stated that Lily went to hospital with pain after picking up an infection. She was under observation for three days, but sadly, her baby died yesterday. I am not sure whether the baby died before, during or after delivery. From what I understand, the infection is the most likely culprit. There are a string of nasty viruses that result in stillbirth, such as CMV, Rubella, Listeriosis, Varicella and Toxoplasmosis. Media are reporting her loss as a "miscarriage" although this is inaccurate. I am fairly sure that Lily was more than 24 weeks pregnant, indicating viability of the foetus, and therefore the correct terminology for her loss is "stillbirth" or "neonatal death" (in the event of death occurring after delivery). I wont get into the "stillbirth" vs. "miscarriage" debate, as most know how I feel about comparisons between the two. I will say for the record, miscarriage is a tragedy I understand the sadness that accompanies this loss. But it is a very different experience to a stillbirth and unless you have experienced a stillbirth, it is hard to understand. That is all I will say on the matter. I am not sure why the media is reporting her loss as a "miscarriage." Is that less "offensive" or confrontational for readers?
I am very sad for Lily. No more sad for her than any other babylost mother, just because of her celebrity status, although it must be terribly difficult to endure this in the public eye. I remember my intense desire to hibernate in the days and weeks after Sybella's death. I had the luxury of being able to. No doubt, Lily will be hounded by media and paparazzi, which is the utmost in cruelty during this time. If anything, though, one day, when Lily is starting to find some peace and strength, she will hopefully help bring awareness and attention to stillbirth and neonatal death.

As we see today, stillbirth affects all walks of life and does not discriminate. I hope Lily and Sam find some gentle days ahead. It's a long road.


  1. It is a very tragic event losing a baby, I think it's a little sad that there is such a thing as stillbirth vs miscarriage debate. A loss is a loss, you can't measure love by weeks, the experience is different but the outcome is the same. A mother has lost their much wanted child.

  2. I think the issue for me is that the term "miscarriage" conjures up images of non-viable tissue, and I'd say that is probably the same for most people. The term "miscarriage" refers to an embryo or foetus that cannot survive outside the womb. It is difficult to hear that a fully formed baby that actaully DID have a chance of surviving is referred to as a miscarriage. The term stillbirth gives credence to the situation, which is that the mother has lost an actual baby. A still, silent baby. That she went through labour with. Although I agree that women who suffer early miscarriages deserve recognition for their embryo as a potential life, mothers who experience the stillbirth or neonatal death of their child deserve the respect of the use of the proper terminology and the recognition that their experience was, in most cases, much harder to bear and cope with.

  3. I, too, thought it should have been reported as a 'stillbirth'. My heart goes out to her, and for it to happen so publicly must be so much more wrenching.

    (PS - 'supermodel' (whatever that means!) Linda Evangelista also had a stillborn bub.

  4. Steph, I wholeheartedly agree and have posted similar thoughts to you around Facebook today. I take nothing at all away from women who have had a miscarriage, but I lost my baby at almost 41 weeks, and like Lily Allen's baby, this was most certainly not a miscarriage (though people have referred to it that way to me).
    I think the terminology matters, and quite simply it is sloppy journalism. The facts are wrong.
    Today though, I am remembering Lily Allen's baby boy.

  5. I am not usually one for pitting different types of grieving against each other, because I think in most cases its the person rather than the event that determines the depth of grief and how it is dealt with or handled.

    Even though I have had four miscarriages, my latest at just over 11 weeks - I could not even begin to image the pain and heart ache of going though a still-birth.

    My heart breaks even thinking about it, and I am so proud of anyone who is strong and brave enough to get through such a horrible ordeal.