Drama, dance and other forms of artistic expression can be a way of expressing and releasing difficult emotions following miscarriage and baby loss. Rachel Miller’s play, Killer Cells, tells the story of her journey through ten miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy.
“Just before getting married I had my first miscarriage. I then went on to have 6 miscarriages before going up to St Mary’s in London to get some more help.”
While waiting to be diagnosed with Hughes Syndrome, Rachel suffered a further three miscarriages. After yet another miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy, Rachel was referred to Warwick University Hospital to have the tests for natural killer cells which came back positive.
“Basically the play is about my journey through the losses and through the miscarriage. It was a way of me finding help to get over what had happened, to talk about and explore those feelings through drama as oppose to bottling them up.”
Following her last miscarriage and the ectopic pregnancy that followed, Rachel talked about her struggle coping with day-to-day life. Through writing Killer Cells, she has found a way to move forward and heal, as well as encouraging her friends to talk openly with her about her miscarriages.
“I feel like a different person. Before, people used to avoid the subject but now I feel like people are able to talk to me, knowing that I’ll be fine to talk about anything and want to talk about stuff because I feel it helps to support other women. I met a man in his sixties a few weeks ago whose daughter was going through a similar thing and was able to have a chat with him about it. It’s been very therapeutic.”
Killer Cells has been performed to a research and development audience of 20 selected guests but hasn’t been performed in public yet. This year’s Edinburgh Fringe is the first time that the play will be seen by the general public.
“It’s definitely going to be nerve-wracking. What I don’t want is people walking away from the performance feeling really negative. I want them to feel the optimism that I feel, that it is still possible to have a successful pregnancy, but also to understand and appreciate that for everybody, it’s not always that easy.”
The story is written and performed from the perspective of four different characters; Rachel acts as one of these women. She intentionally didn’t write the male perspective on this topic as she didn’t want to assume her partner’s voice or describe his personal experience.
“I don’t want to be the voice for him. I’ve left it so that if he wanted to, he would be able to write his own perspective on things, but obviously we all deal with things differently. We are communicating so much better now, he’s very supportive of the play.”
Rachel’s experience of healing through artistic expression has led her to recommend other women in a similar situation explore their feelings and emotions through art.
“I think that music especially is really powerful so singing and dancing is a great way to connect with those emotions. Just to be able to express what’s going on and outwardly project this as opposed to bottling those feelings up.”
Through writing and performing Killer Cells, Rachel has been able to process her experiences and confront some of things she was going through in a way she couldn't before.
“I used to feel embarrassed. I didn’t feel like I was a woman because I wasn’t able to give my husband a baby. The fact that I’m able to say that out loud means I’ve been able to cope with it a lot better. I think that’s really important.”
See Killer Cells Official Trailer here
Read more about ectopic pregnancy here
Read more about miscarriage support here
Read about Professor Jan Brosens’ research into natural killer cells here
Killer Cells is running Aug 15th – 20th at Edinburgh Fringe and will then be returning to South Wales.
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