Gemma Collins revealed earlier this week that she had suffered a miscarriage four and half months into her pregnancy. Despite suffering a trauma which clearly still deeply affects the ‘Only Way is Essex’ star four years on, Tommy’s is shocked to see the online backlash the star has faced for voicing her story, and the criticism of how she handled the miscarriage in the hours immediately afterwards.
Speaking to therapist Mandy Saligari for Channel 5’s ‘In Therapy’ show on Tuesday evening, she described how the miscarriage took her completely by shock.
‘I woke up with excrutiating pains, so my mum’s going ‘Oh Gem, you’ve got a bad stomach, just sit on the toilet, you’re constipated. And I’m thinking, ‘No, like, something’s not right here.’ I rung for an ambulance and went to my bedroom. My mum could hear how much pain I was in and ran upstairs. At that moment, I came out of my room, looked at her and then ‘bam’ – I ended up giving birth on the landing.’
Gemma was unaware she was pregnant, having been on the contraceptive pill. She describes her initial reaction;
‘Mum, Mum, Mum, pick it up. What is it? What is it? Pick it up. My mum just said: ‘Leave it.’
Heartbreakingly, Gemma says that she feels the miscarriage must have been ‘God’s punishment’ for an abortion she’d had just months before when a long term relationship ended. Gemma is facing backlash for two reasons online. Some people have expressed disgust that she has spoken so openly about her miscarriage and specifically, the scene on her landing. One online commentator said,
‘TMI! Devastating but details not needed re bleeding etc!
Another criticised the public nature of her announcement, saying:
‘…if this is true, I'm sorry to read it. But God's sakes- you keep this to yourself or a REAL therapist.’
Still more questioned her decision to attend the National TV awards hours after her miscarriage. Gemma explained,‘I look at that picture of me at the awards and I can recall having loads of padding on underneath my dress because I was bleeding heavily. Only I know how I was truly feeling, but to the outside world I was perfectly happy…I had to disassociate myself with that [the miscarriage]. It’s only when I hear you [the therapist] saying it that I think, ‘Bloody hell, did that happen to me.’ But the show had to go on.’
Gemma’s story has made many people upset and confused. Some regard the public nature of her story as a ploy to further her career in the media limelight; making light of both her and other women’s experiences. Others regard her story as crass, too detailed: something that should be dealt with in private rather than on national television.
What is clear is that NO ONE deserves to have a miscarriage. No matter what you have done or the choices you have made previously in life, women should expect to be able to carry their baby to full term. Tommy’s will continue to fund research programmes dedicated the finding answers and to reverse the statistics. Currently 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth in the UK.
Secondly, only Gemma knows why she chose to work through her miscarriage story in this way. If she finds that by talking about her miscarriage to Mandy has helped her in processing and coping with her grief, then we fully support her all the way. Women deal with their miscarriages in very different and hugely personal ways. Miscarriage is devastating; and women should not feel ashamed in describing their experience. In talking about miscarriage we throw light on the unacceptable reality that many women receive no answers for why it has happened, and how likely it is to happen again. This needs to stop, and Gemma’s voice joins hundreds of others who have bravely shared their stories.
Have #misCOURAGE Gemma – we wish you all the best.