Dear -Fill in the blank,
One of your journalists approached me a few months back when I was on a 2 day break with my kids and cousins,via email with the subject of “Will you talk to me”. Now, I’m sure I can be forgiven for thinking that this was junk mail and to be honest, I should have deleted it and sent it to the trash where it quite rightly belonged but I didn’t. Instead, I engaged in a lengthly conversation about my experience with Post natal depression – and against my better judgement (as I had a feeling and a “niggle”) telling me not continue or share ,but oh boy, I sure did. See,that’s what some journalists feed on .. a person’s vulnerability and/or the need to want to help people and break down stigma , that they are willing to let you in to their thoughts and feelings, to tell the story of how they nearly god damn died because of what was going on.
I have been blogging and talking about my journey for many years and until recently, I didn’t have it in me for fear of judgement, to talk about and admit to the termination that I had. Due to shame and regret? Possibly and most probably but I was told that it would help other women. You got me hook,line and sinker. Silly ,me I guess. Now, it is true that I had told this story to an amazing woman in a previous publication(so as your title suggested, it wasn’t an exclusive) a few weeks prior to but the Sun is much closer to home and I know that the chance of people I know reading it was more likely than the other.
When I received an email to tell me that it had been published, I was away at a residential bootcamp and had no coverage apart from wifi at certain times of the day. Imagine my shock when I opened this.
My stomach sank and I was nearly sick. I have never ever been made to feel the way I felt on day of publication. I couldn’t read the whole thing due to tears streaming down my face and the bile rising in my throat from my stomach. Over dramatic enough for you? Well unfortunately its all true which is more than I can say for your headline which I was told wasn’t written by the journalist who spoke to me- despite only her name being on the article.
I want to ask one thing… The headline talks about how I “aborted my healthy baby”. How do you know that this baby was healthy or not? How do you think that impacts a mother on the brink of suicide, making such a difficult decision , who thinks that she’s murdering her baby? Because i’ll tell you this, I was at that stage in my life and I fought so fucking hard to get through it all and I did. It was my husband, my daughter, my cousin,uncle and close friends who helped. Your paper hides behind the guise of wanting to help and share these stories but it is YOUR paper that adds to the stigma when you print headlines like that and take advantage of people like me. You did real good though.. I like to think that I’m intelligent,worldly and educated pretty well….Maybe not.
When I tried contacting the journalist, she wasn’t in the office but her boss was. he didn’t reply until I sent two other emails and her dismissive attitude was a further kick in the stomach. I responded to her mail but I haven’t had a reply back so I am reponding to a few points via this open letter Number 1. Apparently, “Sometimes seeing your story in print can be painful”- ahh , yes especially when it’s sensationalised. which leaves me to point 2. questioning ethics…”Headlines are meant to grab attention” at the risk of someones mental health? Really, you want to go there? 3.The Scottish Sun has tackled many sensitive subjects without complaint – lies. Ask blogger @TheRealSupermum and the doozy which was done on her.
I vowed after this “story” was published( which some of it appears to have been taken from a certain other publication, tut tut)that I would never share anything again but I looked back at some of the old emails,texts and comments on my blog of support, and thought about why I started writing and share my story in the first palce. The conclusion that I came to was my need to let women (and men) who make difficult decisions every day or go through PND,Prenatal depression or depression as a whole, that they aren’t alone,there is support and no one needs to feel shame. You won’t destroy that because I won’t let you. Your “rag” of a newspaper is thought less of than I am. The only one who should feel shame, is you.
Angeline Brunel Dickson