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.
"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.
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"
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.
"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.
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.