Birthing a stillborn baby is something a lot of mothers experience but it is not talked about as often as it should be. With a massive amount of courage, actor Zara Noor Abbas opened up about her traumatic experience with her firstborn Aurangzeb and discussed all the things that didn’t sit right with her during the process. She also shared valuable advice for expecting mothers so they are better prepared.
On Sunday, she shared a clip from a podcast with Frieha Altaf and wrote, “It’s always a task to talk about what you have lost forever. But after so much discussion and a few months later, I could finally talk my heart out with my beautiful and compassionate friend, Frieha Altaf and share my experience of the healthcare system, the negligence, the aftermath of trauma, how women clap so little for themselves and don’t know how brave and strong they are when it comes to resilience.”
“I hope I can gain some hope from women who have been through the same or maybe worse and together we can create awareness and have support groups for everyone to share their story,” she added.
The host addressed the matter by saying there of every 1,000 births, at least 53 stillborn. She encouraged the Badhshah Begum actor to talk about her experience.
“Looking at it now, it is a lot of support from the family, very less [from] friends, I think one or two, maybe four. It has to do a lot with my family. Asad, of course, because he was his child also,” she started, discussing her support system during the time. “When you have a child together, it makes your bond extremely beautiful but when you lose a child together, it makes your bond extremely beautiful also. I think me and Asad have seen the worst now, we ask, ‘What else will we see? Okay, it’s God’s will.’ Everything for me and Asad ends at whatever God wills because whatever is His will is His will. Yes, there’s an extreme sense of loss and I think I’m still grieving.”
Altaf directed the conversation towards guilt that mothers sometimes have in the aftermath of such a loss. Abbas admitted that she did suffer those feelings too. “I did at a point. I thought maybe I didn’t eat right, maybe I didn’t make myself strong enough, maybe I should have lost more weight before conceiving, become thinner, maybe I should have had an intake of vitamins, maybe I should’ve taken folic acid. But all of that is a ‘maybe’. God gives a child to even those who aren’t physically stable. He gives to those He wants to give to and takes from those He wants to take from.”
The Ehd-e-Wafa actor said her parents consoled her with the thought that it is probably what was best for the future of the child and the parents. “When it happened, my father and everybody kept saying, ‘Who knows? Maybe he wouldn’t have been able to do things that normal children can do. Then what would we do? It’s our kid, we can’t do anything, we have to keep him.’ This is for a better future, for us, for him. I am 120 per cent sure about it.”
She stressed on the importance of timing and taking care of your mental health as much as your physical health. “What I think women should know more about is that you can have a short cervix, you can have missing amniotic fluid in your system, you can have a weak uterus but all of these things you’ll never know before time. That is the beauty and payback of it. Until and unless a woman is pregnant, you cannot figure out these things. And when you’re pregnant, this is a huge miracle so try and take care of yourself mentally and physically as much as you can. Because as important as your physical being is, your mental being is much more important than that. And loss, I think, is a lifelong thing. I am a mother and he was my firstborn.”
Abbas shed light on the hopelessness that may follow such a loss. “One more thing I’d like to add is that loss brings you to a point where you don’t want to do anything again or try anything again or you’re scared of getting attached to people again because you think that this might repeat like before,” she said. “But I think that is the breakeven point where you have to step up and be like no, even if I’m going to fall again, I will not stop trying and I will not give up on what I think will happen. I have to keep on going. This difficult work is what I think life is about because if there’s no movement there’s no constant, hustle — and there’s no life.”
The Zebaish actor recounted the process and advised expecting mothers to have their gynaecologist’s personal number on hand, to book an appointment beforehand in order to avoid waiting in that fragile state and have a plan B in case something goes wrong. She explained that she had gone for a regular check-up only for it to transition into the nightmare that premature birthing can become. She said she was in such as traumatic state, she needed someone to make decisions for her because she was unable to process her surroundings. The doctors made her sign papers that shifted the responsibility in case of her death on the table off their shoulders. She wasn’t even aware what she had signed until later.
Abbas discussed the need for greater empathy on medical professionals’ part and the need for support groups so women who have gone through the same thing can sit and talk to each other and understand it better.