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BBC News – Miscarriage in the Media

by on September 13, 2010

By Madeline Jones

Being asked to appear on BBC News isn’t something I expected to happen whilst I pushed my trolley around the supermarket back in August.  However, a couple of hours later whilst putting my vegetables away it’s precisely what happened.

I became a Trustee for the charity The Miscarriage Association at the beginning of this year after many years of needing both their support and information.  In my quest to become a Mum I have lost 4 babies and I’m not overexaggerating when I say that this small (but perfectly formed) charity got me through some of the most difficult days of my life.

The reason behind the TV request was that The British Medical Journal were about to publish a unique piece of research that was embargoed until the following day showing new research to state that the sooner women who had miscarried got pregnant again the less likely they were to miscarry. The BBC had contacted the Miscarriage Association to see if they had someone who would be willing to appear on TV discussing the subject.  That’s where i became involved.

To say I was nervous was an understatement.  I was given an hour from the call to prepare before the reporter and cameraman appeared at my rather untidy house.  It’s amazing what you can achieve in 60 minutes when you have too.  I set my 6 year old daughter the task of tidying her and her younger brothers toys away which she got stuck into thankfully without the usual comments of ‘my arms ache’, ‘why do I have to do all the tidying’ or my personal favourite ‘I may as well just leave them all out, as I’m going to play with them again later, tomorrow, next week’ etc etc.

I got to work with the hair straightners and dug out my make up bag which I’m not known for dusting off that  often.

The reporter and cameraman couldn’t have been nicer and immediately put me at ease.  They explained that they wanted to speak to someone who had first hand experience of miscarriage, who could give them an insight into how it feels to go through the experience and of course what my feelings and thoughts were with regards to the new research.

My hubby arrived home (thanks to his very understanding boss) as I wanted to keep Megan away from the interview as we are yet to tell her about  our story.  She is old enough to understand the conversation and I didn’t want her to hear about it this way.  One day, in my own way i will tell both of my children but the time has to be right for all concerned.

The  camera was set up in my lounge and the interview began.  I was told to ignore the camera, which wasn’t so easy as it was probably only about  50cm away from my face. The questions were comfortable for me to answer, discussing how many miscarriages I had experienced, the impact it has on both the woman and her partner, how you move on from it.  I was aware that with each answer I said ‘urm’ about 40 times but hoped that as it was pre recorded this could be edited out if necessary.

They then filmed my hands so that if they wanted to edit two answers together they could cut to the hand shot and it would all flow nicely.

I was then told that they liked to film away from the interview as these clips are played whilst the news story is introduced.  They asked if I would be filmed with the children which I was happy to do.  My little boy was  having his nap and was blissfully unaware as to what was happening downstairs.  Megan, however, was delighted to be asked to be on camera and especially so once they suggested her guinea pig joined us.  They filmed us in the garden for about 30 minutes.  There was a slight incident when the pet decided to go to the loo on Meg’s trousers and I thought she may lose it, but she managed to keep her cool despite her utter disgust  at what had just happened.

Once all the filming had been done, they packed up and were done.  They explained that the story was to be shown the following day on BBC Breakfast, Lunch and 6 O’clock news.  They also said that I may be used on the radio or elsewhere so not to be surprised if my voice popped up where I least expected it.  It was also mentioned that if a big story broke then this piece may be dropped all together.

With that they were gone.  It felt very surreal, in a ‘did that just happen’ way.

The following morning I had a number of texts waiting from family and friends to say they had just seen me on the news or had heard me on Radio 1.  I was delighted that the story had run, partly as I wanted to see us all on the TV, but primarily because I wanted the story of miscarriage on prime time TV.  It’s still such a taboo subject so anything that can get it out there into the mainstream is a real plus in my view.  Meg  and I watched ourselves and of course Pickles the Guinea Pig throughout the day.  Fortunately, she didn’t understand all the scientific research that was being discussed and my comments during the interview seemed to go unoticed by her.  It was Pickles she was most proud of.  She then kept telling Oliver her little brother that this is what was happening when he was in bed. It was very strange seeing myself and my little house, family on the BBC News and I did the usual of thinking that my voice sounded awful.

We were only on for a matter of seconds and only a tiny,tiny bit of my interview was shown, but it was great that we had received air time and the research story ran all day.

In hindsight I’m glad I was given absolutely no time to think about it.  I think if I had been given more time the nerves would have got the better of me.  I felt proud of myself for doing it.  Confidence isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I wanted to do something for all of those people affected by miscarriage, including my lovely family.



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