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Woman who had 12 miscarriages says she blamed herself after each loss

Ellie Robson-Grice from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne endured unimaginable heartache after she had 12 miscarriages with no real explanation from medical professionals.

The 36-year-old said that without the correct advice and information she was left with nowhere to turn and blamed herself. Now she’s calling for more funding and research to help parents get the answers they desperately need when they experience a loss.

‘I was heartbroken and angry,’ Ellie tells ‘I hated my body and blamed myself entirely, I felt like more of a failure after each loss.

‘I’m really not sure what kept me going, being told by medical professionals just to keep trying was one reason. Sheer determination was another, I felt like there had to be a happy ending.

‘But in all honesty, when we volunteered for the research trials I had lost all hope of ever having a child. I just wanted to give back into research and help others find their answers.’

A survey of 1,081 women who have lost a child during pregnancy or premature birth found that 71% are not given a medical reason why it happened.

In most cases, doctors simply don’t know why a pregnancy loss or preterm birth has happened.

In the same survey 82% of parents said they blamed themselves and 77% felt guilty for what happened, though for the vast majority their actions wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

This is something Ellie can relate to. In the aftermath of her losses she grasped for answers and internalised the blame.

‘I was wracked with guilt which severely impacted on my mental health,’ says Ellie. ‘I wondered if it was because I was unable to carry male pregnancies or even if it was because I went to a gig or bought a babygrow too early.

‘I broke down and told my husband that we had to split up as I couldn’t give him a family. It was the lowest point for me.

‘A GP told me that god willing I would have a child and all I could think is that I was unworthy, that I didn’t deserve to be a mum.’

Thankfully, the research trials that Ellie took part in lead to two successful pregnancies and she now has a pair of little ones, Aidan who is four and Sam who is seven months old, but many parents aren’t that lucky.

Ellie now wants to do everything she can to support other people who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth. She says information is at the heart of this process.

‘The impact of not having answers is huge,’ explains Ellie. ‘My mental health really suffered. Without medical answers it’s natural to blame yourself and question why.

‘We seek medical explanations for so many physical and mental health conditions, it is simply unacceptable that in 2019 we don’t do the same for pregnancy loss.

‘People can’t just blindly keep trying with little to no support. At some point people will give up and that’s just heartbreaking when there are answers and treatments that could help.’

Ellie is an ambassador for the TELL ME WHY campaign launched by Tommy’s earlier this month.

The campaign aims to improve public understanding of the role of research in investigating reproductive complications to improve knowledge, which will enable better treatment and care.

‘When a baby dies during pregnancy or is born too soon, parents are often told that it’s “just one of those things”,’ says Jane Brewin, Tommy’s chief executive.

‘Tommy’s believes that pregnancy complications and baby loss are neither inevitable nor acceptable. Our research proves that we can find answers and prevent babies from dying before, during and after birth.

‘However, we need more funding for more research into reproductive health to tell all parents why it is happening and how we can prevent it happening again.’

Tommy’s believes that parents deserve to be told why their baby has died or has been born prematurely in order to end the cycle of self-blame and guilt that women like Ellie have experienced.

One in four women will lose a baby during pregnancy or birth.

Tommy’s funds medical research to discover the causes of baby loss and helps women at every stage of their pregnancy journeys.

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