January 27, 2020
“She says it’s a pregnancy ‘of unknown viability’. A blighted ovum. She didn’t make eye contact and there seemed like a problem with the machine. She told me to come back in two weeks to see a doctor.”
What I’ve Learned About Supporting A Partner – And Yourself – Through Miscarriage
My partner was calling me from the hospital with news of the 12-week scan of our second child. The ‘she’ was a locum sonographer, who left my partner with an out-of-date medical term and without a clue what to do next. 
I googled ‘blighted ovum’ as my partner was on the phone. The first result? Call the pregnancy loss helpline. My heart sank. And then I felt anger – at her most vulnerable my partner was left to deal with a confusing bureaucratic process that encouraged us to believe the machine could have been wrong.
I was looking after our daughter, then just two years-old, who wanted to grab the phone and speak to her mummy.  We had toyed with the idea of taking her to the scan so she could see her brother or sister’s image on the screen.
I wished the machine was wrong but the rational part of my brain knew this was false hope. A second scan showed my partner had a ‘missed’ miscarriage which meant that the baby had died but there were no miscarriage symptoms, such as bleeding or pain. My partner was still having morning sickness that would only pass after she’d healed – a cruel, constant physical reminder of her pregnancyThe only uncertainty we faced was what to do next: the following day we saw an unhelpful GP who brusquely told us “the scan cannot be challenged”, and whose only recommendation was that my partner went back to work and ‘waited’ to miscarry. We were shocked, until our midwife took charge, contacted the right people and we were booked to remove the pregnancy. Meanwhile, my partner was still having morning sickness that would only pass after she’d healed from the procedure – a cruel, constant physical reminder of her pregnancy.
We were in shock for a few weeks after. We had not even considered there would be a single complication. We both remembered our first pregnancy and birth was straightforward (it wasn’t – my partner had chronic morning sickness, while I had a back operation on the baby’s due date). The miscarriage never would be remembered with any of this nostalgia. Even comparing the second pregnancy to stories of the first makes me feel queasy; to make light of this devastating loss seems horrendous.
But my partner needed support despite her ingrained stoicism and resilience. I was changing careers and in a position where I could put all my efforts into her wellbeing, and do more than my usual share of childcare. I made the bold call to almost march my partner to the GP’s surgery so she could get a sick note – naturally selfless, she was trying to cope by working even harder at her job. She didn’t want to cause a ‘fuss’ but I could see she desperately needed a safety net and time away from her colleagues who were mostly unaware of her silent suffering. We earmarked breaks from childcare, where I would listen as much as I could to my partner talk about how the loss had hurt her. These ‘date nights’ really helped us to keep our relationship strong so we could withstand the pain of losing our child. They weren’t fun, but they were necessary. 
Playing with our daughter was a bittersweet relief for us. We cherished her more (which I had never thought could be possible as she fills our lives with so much love) and began to hope we could ‘complete’ our family soon. Related... Birth Diaries: ‘My Husband Died When I Was 6 Months Pregnant’ The Miracle Baby Born After 8 Rounds Of IVF And Multiple Miscarriages Beyoncé Says Miscarriages Taught Her The Importance Of Self-Care Telling people really helped too. Conversations with neighbours made us feel part of a community, while talking to old friends strengthened our bonds. I felt an overwhelming gratitude and don’t think we will ever forget their thoughtfulness – especially as we were worried we would be overburdening them or they might feel awkward talking about the subject. Instead, we discovered how common it was for our friends to have endured the pain of miscarriages. Speaking up was important – if we’d known how common miscarriages were among friends, we might have felt more prepared for our loss.
But throughout all this, I hadn’t thought much about my mental wellbeing. I threw myself into childcare and supporting my partner. But I couldn’t face a pint with a mate who I thought would rather talk about football than the mourning process (that I was ignoring). Socially, I tend to prioritise entertaining friends over talking about important things, but I think many men don’t always like discussing the ‘adult stuff’ in life, as speaking about our actual problems means admitting we’re not young anymore. It’s easier to tell stories of our drunken days than face the fallout of life-changing events especially when you’re still processing the trauma.
That changed when I caught up with a friend of more than 20 years. Usually we just exchange anecdotes – in fact, our friendship is built on tall stories – but when I told him about our miscarriage, he didn’t change the subject. In fact, he did the opposite. He told me that he was relieved that I had told him as his wife had experienced miscarriage a year ago. Men need to do this more – we pigeonhole our friendships and I’ve learned that’s not always healthy. We need to let each other know that we’re there for one another. When you’re at your most vulnerable you need your friends to help you deal with the intense feelings of loss and sorrowThe second source I have to thank is my therapist. Some people probably think that I am lucky to afford this service – the truth is I barely can, but I’m grateful for the amazing advice and support. Mates are great but you also need someone impartial. My advice to anyone going through a miscarriage is that, whoever it is, speak to someone. When you’re at your most vulnerable you need your friends to help you deal with the intense feelings of loss and sorrow. Plus, it’s time we ended this idea that there’s a stigma for men who reach out for help particularly when they’re mourning. It’s not a weakness to speak about issues like miscarriage.
It’s taken me a year to but our miscarriage is something I now feel comfortable sharing. In many ways it’s liberating – I can be open and honest as to how difficult things were, but also about optimism for the future of our family. If there’s two things I’ve learned from all this, it’s how to value what you have got, and the importance of talking about what you’ve lost. We’re in a place now that hopefully some time soon we’d be lucky enough to share the news of a third pregnancy.
David Jesudason is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidJesudasonMore from HuffPost UK Personal This Is How My Dad’s Suicide Shaped The Parent I Want To Be I’m Tired Of People Not Making An Effort To Get My ‘Difficult’ Name Right I’m A Mental Health Nurse. This Is What It’s Like On The Frontline Of Our Strained Services
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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