Just over a week ago, rugby league star Matt Sarsfield’s partner Charlotte Dawson revealed the tragic news that she had suffered a miscarriage only around a month after finding out she was expecting.
The pair - who already have a toddler son named Noah - found out the happy news on Mother’s Day of all days, and excitedly told their close friends and family. They didn’t mention anything to their fans, however, so the first we heard about their pregnancy was with Charlotte’s post on Instagram.
“Unfortunately I’ve suffered with a miscarriage,” she wrote. “I was so excited to share our happy news with you all. Noah’s little brother or little sister, as you can imagine Matthew and I were absolutely over the moon our little family was going to be growing.
“But sometimes it’s just not meant to be, I really thought it was but it just wasn’t this time. Miscarriages are so common and not spoke about enough. We are so heartbroken right now, [we] have no words.”
Naturally, most of her fans were devastated for her and flooded her post with messages of love and condolences. The 29-year-old went on to post that while she was tempted to cancel all her plans, she pressed on with her Easter weekend for the sake of her son.
However, when she revealed that she also hadn’t cancelled her and Matt’s plans to watch Tyson Fury's boxing match against Dillian Whyte at London's Wembley Arena on Saturday (April 23), the trolls came out in their droves to attack her for it.
“What, do you expect me to not try and get on with my life because of what’s happened?” She hit back. “I didn’t really want to go but I put a brave face on and had a lovely time with our palz.”
Later, in her Instagram Stories, she revealed that she was still “in agony”, though it was beginning to wear off. The messages, however, hadn’t let up.
“I don't appreciate some of the disgusting, horrific messages that me and Matthew are receiving,” she said. “I can't even believe that I even have to defend myself like this, I've been in tears crying over s*** that people say, saying that I'm lying.”
Anyone who has suffered a miscarriage knows something about how Charlotte must be feeling about it. But that doesn’t mean that you can disagree with the way she’s handling it if it isn’t harming anybody. If you don’t know how it feels, on the other hand, then you have no business commenting on her life choices in that regard anyway.
When you already have a young child to look after, you’ve no choice but to put your traumatic experiences on hold and slap on a happy face for your kid. You find all the reserves of energy you possibly have to make life feel normal for their sake, and it’s absolutely exhausting.
Taking advantage of a child-free night out to focus on something other than the unbearable grief you’re suffering is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. Of course it feels unnatural to party while you’re in pain, but if it helps you, then it’s the right thing to do.
Why is it that society feels the need to attack women when they show strength in adversity, accusing them of lying or being hard, while men get a pat on the back for “getting on with it”? When life throws you for a loop you have to follow your instincts. And the problem with grief is that it makes you unpredictable. Society has its own way of suffering, and anyone who reacts outside of those norms makes people uncomfortable.
We need to start showing support for women as they bear pain, not just as they buckle beneath it. We need to respect their healing no matter how quickly it happens. When it comes to miscarriages specifically, these are traumas that women often expect to experience when they get pregnant and the pain that they cause is a wide spectrum. Sometimes earlier miscarriages aren’t as painful as later miscarriages. Sometimes it makes no difference. Either way, it’s none of your business until it happens to you.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and you live in the UK, you can contact The Miscarriage Association on their helpline 01924 200 799 or via email at [email protected].