Imtiaz Fazil has been pregnant 24 times, but has only two living children.
She became pregnant for the first time in 1999. Over the next 23 years, she had 17 miscarriages and five babies died before their first birthday due to a rare genetic condition.
The 49-year-old from Manchester, England, told the BBC it is not easy to talk about her losses, but she is determined to do so. In part, this is because such things remain a taboo subject among South Asian communities in the UK and many other countries.
She said she wants to change that and break the stigma around losing the baby.
She said her own family “don’t talk to me much about these things” as they think “I might get hurt (by) remembering those memories”.
“It’s very sad; that’s why no one addresses this kind of thing. They just keep it to themselves.”
She said that despite suffering so many losses, “no one has even asked me if I’m okay (or) if I still think about my babies.”
“There isn’t a day that I don’t think about my children,” he added.
Another couple — Sarina Kaur Dosanjh and her husband Vik — also want to break the silence around the loss of their baby.
The 29-year-old from the West Midlands, England, created Himmat Collective, a charity that offers a virtual space for South Asian women and men to share their experiences.
The couple had two miscarriages in the past two years.
“The matter is swept under the rug,” says Sarina
She said it creates a stigma to avoid having sex with anyone who has had a miscarriage “because it’s almost like it’s contagious.” “That’s one of the stigmas that needs to be broken,” she said. Vik said he received mixed reactions when talking about the loss of his baby. He said that while some men said he helped them deal with trauma, others said it wasn’t an issue he should be talking about.
However, he said he firmly believes that a “shared problem is a problem halved.” Sarina said that people “in our community need to know that they shouldn’t feel ashamed if they have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or any type of loss of baby.” “My hope is that in the long run people can see that this is normal and that they can talk about it.” This is also Imtiaz’s hope. She said the pain of losing 22 babies is a big burden in her life, but she wants to help others who face similar situations with some simple advice. “Don’t keep it all inside yourself”, she advises. “If you hold back, you won’t make it. You need to open up and talk about it, otherwise you won’t make it.”
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