Woman shares 'real' body photos during miscarriage in bid to end pregnancy loss stigma
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Featured Image Credit: @fitnesswithkeisha/Instagram
Trigger Warning: Discussions of miscarriage and baby loss
We have come a long way in the baby loss community. Parents are finding it easier to open up about their experiences, and families will soon be given certificates to mark the tragic loss of their babies within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
However, women are still facing disparity and stigma around difficult situations like miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy in their lives, which is shocking considering that one in four pregnancies end in a loss, according to pregnancy charity Tommy’s.
One woman who is determined to overcome the taboo of baby loss by sharing her experience online is Keisha Sethi, a 23-year-old fitness influencer from London. You can see her sharing the realities of baby loss here:
Keisha tragically suffered a missed miscarriage on 28 September at her 12-week antenatal scan, where she was heartbreakingly told that her baby stopped growing at six weeks.
A missed miscarriage, also known as a silent miscarriage, has no warning signs. For Keisha, there was no blood or pain initially, and many women still feel pregnant as hormones may continue to remain in the body.
Keisha excitably attended her scan alongside her partner expecting to see their baby for the first time - perhaps blowing bubbles or sucking their thumb - but instead was told the sonographer couldn't see 'anything' on the screen.
The ‘PCOS Coach’ told Tyla: “We had a three-hour wait in a waiting room before we actually got to see a doctor to tell us that we had a miscarriage, but I was crying because I already knew.
“And I think working with so many women, you already know the process and you know what people go through. My partner already knew, I told my mum that it wasn’t looking good.”
One of the hardest parts of grappling with a miscarriage that her body had not yet recognised was that Keisha was already imagining a life with her partner and their future baby.
The founder of Fitness with Keisha said: “I feel as though your love for that baby the moment you find out you’re pregnant - whether it’s two weeks, whether it’s four weeks, whether it's six weeks - that emotion just builds.
“Everything that you think about for the next eight months is different, the way that you plan your days is different, the way that you think about what you're going to buy for the house.”
And Keisha’s desire to start ‘nesting’, in her early stages of pregnancy is still serving as a constant reminder of the baby that she has sadly lost.
“I mean, I had already bought my maternity pillow when I got to three months pregnant. We bought a new sofa for the house because we currently have these really low-floor couches that weren't comfortable.
“And from when I miscarried, I just had to take that maternity pillow out of my room. For the first few days, I was like, ‘can I even sit on the sofa?’ It felt awful.”
Eventually, Keisha's mind and body caught up to each other, and she expelled the pregnancy naturally when she returned home.
Not only did Keisha open up to her followers about her honest feelings through this process, but she also shared what exactly her body went through.
“I decided to record my gym sessions and talk about how my body is changed because my body did change during pregnancy, and I was loving this body change because it was another part of my life and I was accepting it because it's okay.
“Our bodies are so magical that if we choose to steer it in one way we can and if we're going through something hormonal, it will change.”
The influencer took it upon herself to share pictures of herself going through the reality of miscarriage symptoms like vaginal bleeding, cramps, and lower abdominal pain - as well as the emotional impact of what she was going through.
“After the miscarriage, my body kind of became a reminder of what I've recently gone through.
“I really wanted to get it back into a state where I know that I feel happy and feel confident, not look a certain way, but just feel a lot better about myself," Keisha explained of her decision to return back to the gym after her body recovered.
“I wanted to share that because miscarriage is more common than we know,” she explained with the hope that one day everyone can be understanding of what it's like to go through baby loss.
“There's a lot of experiences that we put out there on social media that are now accepted, and I feel like this should definitely be one of them because it's just life.”
Through her important role in ‘helping others take a more self-care and loving approach towards themselves’ when dealing with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, she has fostered a community of understanding and empathetic clients.
For Keisha, it just didn’t feel right not to share her personal journey through baby loss, when she has already shared so many other aspects of her life with them.
“I really wanted to put my experience out there even if it helps one person who's going through something similar, or who has gone through something, to help them understand that it is more common than you think.
“There is a whole community of women who are going through this who can literally hold your hand through experiences that you've gone through, or may go through or are going through right now.”
It’s women like Keisha who are shedding light on the baby loss community and will eventually end the disparity they face through opening the conversation.