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How I Survived Two Miscarriages And A Failed Adoption

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Gillian Attard is a respected vocal coach in Malta – she teaches at La Voix School Of Performing Arts, and has been a vocal coach at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. She’s enjoyed a successful career in the music business for thirty years, but her most ardent dream is to become a mother again. This is her story. 

I’ve always had a passion for music – I’ve loved it since I was four years old. I’m a proud working mother, with a career in the music industry that spans thirty years. Music is my passion, and although I’ve endured many challenges throughout the years – nothing could keep me from doing what I love: vocal coaching.

But my aim in life was never just music, I also wanted to be a mother. I already had a son – Beppe – but I desperately wanted to grow my family. The day I found out that I was expecting another child I was overwhelmed with joy, ecstatically happy. Giving birth to a new baby would make my dream of having more children more realistic. 

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“Grief overwhelmed me physically and mentally”

I became pregnant in 2015, but because of my busy schedule I didn’t realise right away. I experienced heavy bleeding whilst I was at work, which prompted me to visit my gynaecologist. It was only then that I found out I had miscarried my baby in the third trimester.  

Grief overwhelmed me physically and mentally. But I knew that having another child was what I wanted. So my husband and I starting trying for another baby. Soon enough I became pregnant again, but this time it was only after six weeks that I miscarried our baby.  

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I suffered the devastating blow that no pregnant woman wants to endure – one miscarriage directly after another. Coping with our loss was so hard, but it was all made worse when my husband and I were advised by my gynaecologists to avoid conceiving again. 

Their words left a huge void in me that only a childless woman or mother can understand. It’s something that you never really comprehend until it happens to you – it’s hard to articulate the depth of sadness that overcame me. Day and night I thought about my two angels, and what it would have been like if I had carried them to term. I had no words to thank God for my son Beppe being in my life. 

“My husband and I were advised by my gynaecologists to avoid conceiving again”

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In 2016 I asked Paul Ellul to write lyrics for a song expressing the void that a woman feels when she can’t have children – the broken dreams of building a photo album of her child, the emptiness she feels inside her womb. I looked at it as a form therapy, as well as tribute to my two unborn babies.

The song materialised as Pupa tal-Plastik composed by Marco Debono and sung by Dominique Azzopardi during L-Għanja tal-Poplu 2016. I am sure it has touched a lot of broken hearts out there. 

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“I fell in love with a baby girl there, and set about trying to start the adoption process. But that dream was quickly shattered too”

In August 2016 I was nominated to form part of a team travelling to Ethiopia to work on Il-Proġett – a venture which sought to build a sustainable farm for underprivelged local communities. Helping people in great need filled me with joy and comfort, but at the back of my head I was still thinking about growing my family. I was thinking of adoption.  

I fell in love with a baby girl there, and set about trying to start the adoption process. But that dream was quickly shattered too, when I was informed that Ethiopia had closed its adoption channels with Malta. Once again, I was devastated. 

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This year, thanks to Jennifer Hubbers, I adopted a baby doll in memory of my miscarriages and my trip to Ethiopia. I posted a photo of this baby doll on Facebook and somehow, without intention, it touched the hearts of so many out there – mostly women who have been through experiences similar to mine. 

I am telling my story not to look super-human or special, but simply to share my experiences of deep sadness for the children I lost. Because at the end of the day, we all need each other’s stories to help us through our hardships. At the end of the day, we are all human. 

Have you suffered a devastating loss which you would like to share with Maltese readers? Write to us about it on [email protected] 

READ NEXT: An Unplanned Pregnancy Is A Game-Changer, Not Game Over

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