Writing by Claire McCarthy
Claire McCarthy shares the background to Naarm/Melbourne post punk band Pretty in Pink’s first single ‘Pressure Socks’ off their album ‘Pillows’, which will be out in September on Little Lunch, Hidden Bay and Subjangle.
The first baby I lost was the size of an apple seed. I know that because of a popular app you can download and keep track of your unborn baby’s development alongside pregnancy symptoms. I never expected to delete the app a few weeks later or to have photos on my phone of a time when I was pregnant and then be looking at them without a real life baby in my arms or inside of me. I didn’t think it would happen to me.
What happened felt so significant to my life that I was shocked to find out how common losing a baby during pregnancy is. Estimates indicate that miscarriage or early pregnancy loss occurs at a rate of 10-20% of people who knew they were pregnant.
It should go without saying, everyone reacts differently, everyone experiences loss and pregnancy in a different way, although perhaps there is one common thread. As the World Health Organisation puts it:
“Losing a baby in pregnancy through miscarriage or stillbirth is still a taboo subject worldwide, linked to stigma and shame. Many women still do not receive appropriate and respectful care when their baby dies during pregnancy or childbirth.”
Years later I can say that for me it felt like entering a kaleidoscope of grief, a fish tank with no sides or bottom but where I was trapped. I couldn’t reconcile what I had imagined over those weeks or hoped for so much longer with the reality of all that blood. I couldn’t make sense of the series of verdicts made by medical professionals that my baby had ‘failed to thrive’ or that no one really knew why. I simply felt like it was my fault and it broke my heart.
‘Pressure Socks’ is literally about losing a pregnancy but it’s also about what it’s like to move through the world in a deep sense of discomfort, to live with guilt and shame so alive it conjures an image of Lady MacBeth. It’s about how isolating it can be when we can’t relate to each other’s experiences, which can be so hidden by the mundane. I suppose that’s why we share stories like this.
When I think back to that time now I try to remember the positives: a doctor who told me it wasn’t my fault; a nurse with a Freddy Mercury tattoo on her ankle; a girlfriend who brought me soft cheese; friends who said they didn’t know what to say but were there; an aunt who shared her story at Christmas and made me feel less alone; a melting lemonade icy-pole in a coat pocket; how life is impossible to control.
The music video for ‘Pressure Socks’ was filmed in Naarm/Melbourne. It features all three members of Pretty in Pink – Claire McCarthy, Lauren Mason and Elliot Taylor. The video was directed and produced by Sam Black, Mayzie Wallen and Michael Fox.
Pretty in Pink is touring ‘Pressure Socks’ in June:
- 23 June Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney
- 24 June Sideways Bar, Canberra
- 25 June Tanswell’s Beechworth
- 26 June Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne.