Meet Bex Gunn and Laura Buckingham, authors of The Worst Girl Gang Ever: A Survival Guide for Navigating Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss and founders of the award-winning podcast and community of the same name.
‘To all the baby loss warriors navigating their own shitstorm: We know it’s dark, but we’ve got you.’
When I saw the two blue lines on my positive pregnancy test with my fourth child I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d done it. I had completed my family. As a teenager, I’d never had regular periods, and as I grew older they’d stopped altogether, so my fertility had always held uncertainty for me. I was fortunate to stumble across acupuncture early on in my journey to be a mother and was incredibly blessed with three children and no problems. So, when I saw that fourth positive pregnancy test, I thought I was on the home straight. I knew the ‘loss’ statistics but arrogantly assumed I was immune, having already experienced so many healthy pregnancies.
When I discovered that our baby’s heart had stopped beating at my twelve-week scan, the bottom dropped out of my world and I realised how ignorant I was about the pain that miscarriage brings: the physical, the emotional, the psychological.
I was in hospital having tests and my husband brought in my laptop. I managed my pain through writing, and after I wrote and rewrote my experience I felt ready to publish it online. I sent it to Metro who published it. Laura read it, and she was one of literally thousands of women who wrote to me. But she stood out. She told me she wanted to go into battle with someone like me. Oh, and that I sounded like I had a hefty pair of lady balls, thus cementing our gang as being a place where a sense of humour is key. And so we began our mission.
When I compared our experiences, there was a part of me that felt unqualified to speak out, having just had one loss… but actually, I am more than qualified… I have made insensitive comments before, trying to help. I have invalidated the suffering of other women because I didn’t understand it.
I get it now, and I can’t bear the thought of women – thousands of women – suffering and feeling isolated in their grief, fearing the judgement of others should they choose to vocalise their experience.
When I lost our baby, I felt that, because no one talks about miscarriage, I wasn’t coping and that my grief was disproportionate to my experience. Then I started talking, writing and sharing, and I found myself surrounded by women echoing my thoughts and feelings, it became clear that I wasn’t as alone as I had felt – not by a long way. I knew then, with that realisation, that I wanted and needed to help others.
Our stories, whatever they may be, empower us as women. If we are given the freedom and support to own them, we will change the world.
They say one in four pregnancies end in loss, but for us it has been eleven out of twelve… and counting. Having been through chemical pregnancies, molar pregnancy, ectopic pregnancies, missed miscarriages and a heart-shaped womb repair, I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster – or rather, stuck on the bloody ghost train. I’ve spent almost a decade immersed in this world and it’s only in the last couple of years that I have felt less consumed by it – really since meeting Bex (but don’t tell her that – she’ll get a big head).
Experiencing baby loss in any form is an isolating place to be because of the misplaced shame that we feel and, of course, those poxy ugly feelings that tear us up inside. My ‘journey’ through recurrent pregnancy loss (hate the word ‘journey’, btw, but nothing else seems suitable) left me feeling so shit about myself as a woman. I hated my body, hated the world, resented others and I withdrew from everyone around me. Losing all faith and hope, I got lost down a deep, dark hole of self-loathing and paranoia. If you are there now, I see you.
It is through talking, writing and connecting with others who truly ‘get it’ that I have been able to heal a little. What we have created here at The Worst Girl Gang Ever is such a wonderful community, jam-packed with absolute warriors. If you’ve picked up this book for someone who has been through pregnancy or baby loss, THANK YOU for acknowledging the hell that we live through. If you have bought this book for yourself, you are now one of our gang. Welcome. We get you and we’ve got you!
Love Laura x
The Worst Girl Gang Ever is out now in hardback.