Broadcaster Síle Seoige says a full cultural shift is needed when it comes to conversations around miscarriage.
In 2019, Síle spoke publicly about her own experience of experiencing a miscarriage.
For a new TG4 documentary premiering this week, the broadcaster has met with couples who have experience miscarriage - as well as experts in the field - in an effort to talk openly about an issue that affects so many women and couples.
Síle told The Hard Shoulder it was her own experience that prompted her to work on this documentary.
She told Kieran: "I had no clue what it was like to go through miscarriage until it happened to me.
“Once it did, I found the cultural silence that surrounds it deafening. I opened up to friends and family, and then I took a step further and decided to talk about it publicly on Instagram.
"When I did, I got this absolute avalanche of messages - from not just women, but men as well… primarily women though - saying ‘thank you for opening up’ and allowing them to share their own experience.
“I felt less alone having gone through it. I felt it hadn’t just happened to me… I think when it happens to you at the time, you can only just process your own experience. But I think it is healthy to have normal conversations something that impacts so many people.”
For Síle, there’s a need to ‘normalise’ the conversations around the subject.
The broadcaster said a 'culture of silence' has existed in Ireland for many generations, particularly around women's issues.
She said: “That stuff has been carried on down through the generations… it’s been layered with an element of taboo and shame. A huge amount of it is shrouded in shame… when it happens to you it feels like you did something wrong.
"Absolutely I did… I think it’s quite common, and I’ve yet to meet a woman that has said otherwise. Perhaps there are, and I hope there are.
“When it happened to me a second time, I tried to manage my negative feelings around it. When I was feeling that blame and shame creeping in, I was quicker to stop that narrative in my head - because I knew how destructive it was.”
Síle herself found out about her first miscarriage through a scan when no heartbeat was detected.
She had shown no symptoms of having miscarried - a situation known as a 'missed miscarriage'.
She said: “It’s a confusing and strange one, but it does happen. The first time it happened, I went in for a scan and I was told there was no heartbeat… I went instantly to ‘what did I do wrong?’
"We have to unlearn a lot of conditioned thinking that has been ingrained in us… particularly in Ireland.”
Síle believes it's important to give women and men the space to grieve when they've experienced a miscarriage.
Síle went straight back to work after her own experience, but months later had a 'form of breakdown' as she hadn't dealt with it.
That manifested itself in anger, frustration and sadness - something Síle says was 'delayed grief'.
She observed: “If it’s upsetting and it has hurt you, you have every reason to honour that feeling.
“Everybody has to honour their own process with it. Some don’t want to talk about it, and I feel they should 100% be entitled to not talk about it. But I do think culturally if we could see a full shift into at least giving people the option that it’s OK."
Síle said the documentary was challenging to make, but she's extremely proud of the team's work.
It's also a project that has helped her process her own grief.
She said: “It did allow me to process my own grief - I realised at the beginning of it I hadn’t processed it at all.
"But through meeting people, having conversations, hearing other people’s perspectives and getting all the expert advice… it really did help me to understand it a bit better.”
Síle Seoige: Deireadh Tochta airs on TG4 tomorrow - Wednesday April 7th - at 9:30pm.