My husband and I have a regular Netflix and Hang-out date night thing going on. It sounds like the usual Netflix and Chill thing, without the need to be dressed up or groomed in any way. We regularly watch relatively un-offending series with great passion and dedication. It’s our relationship’s specialty. And as a result we look for series that have the most seasons – for obvious reasons.
Anyway, we came across Offspring.
An Australian show about an obstetrician with epic social anxiety/incompetence. And her crazy family. And all of their collective chaos.
Firstly, I love it so much!
I love her fashion sense.
I love the caring and dysfunctional family.
I love how she gets herself into mess without meaning to.
Classic drama stuff.
Secondly, it is incredibly brutal.
And those two things co-exist.
I find myself watching the ultrasound images thinking, surely they could have recorded someone’s actual ultrasound that was a bit closer to that date… and laughing at the dismissive nature of the doctor / patient reality… as well as the time warp speed of pregnancy of a regular character.
There are excited mothers, bored and expectant mothers, drugged and dangerous mothers. There are family emergencies, and there are baby emergencies. There are baby deaths, and mother deaths.
There are people who have some form of infertility – and I applaud the show for giving it air time, no matter how insignificant it was to the plot. It was so important for me for the characters to go through that worthlessness and shame and blame process.
And it sucked when two characters got pregnant after their ‘first try’ of a new strategy.
I needed them not to get pregnant the first time. But they did. And that hurt.
Then they had a miscarriage.
And that was like a gunshot through my heart.
I knew it was coming. The episode still frame implied it. And for those of us that have an extra critical eye for that stuff, it had to be that.
But that didn’t make it any easier.
I was still there, in my pyjamas, clinging onto my husband’s arm; my legs wrapped in his, silently begging him to hold me together whilst I break apart, all over again.
I cried and cried. Silent cries. Loud audible cries. Squeezing into the pillow because I’d gone to hide in my bed cries. Those cries when your throat hurts and no sound comes out at all. All of the cries.
Retriggering is the most over-simplistic and yet almost all-encompassing definition to this. This miscarriage, as all other triggers, was brutally painful.
And yet part of me needed them to have a miscarriage. I needed it to be on the screen, for it to be real, and debilitating. I needed the surety of positive feelings and certainty to be taken away with no explanation or care. I needed the relationships around it to struggle and for people to re-adjust. I needed for that constant memory/reminder thing that happens when you are grieving to be there, on the screen, as if it validated every silent experience that thousands (millions!!) of women have experienced before hand. I needed for the unhelpful things to be said on a grand public forum, although I don’t think they were addressed with an appropriate rebuttal anywhere near powerful enough.
I needed to see how others wrote about this experience, how did actors play this experience, and what are people doing about it? How is this in our collective psyche? Because this experience, and grief, and pain, and most of all – our compassion and understanding – needs to be in our collective human psyche.
I am sure that it is probably mentally healthy to have not watched it at all. I am really not sure why I am watching it. Maybe in the same way that after escaping a psychopath, Wolf Woman had to keep watching documentaries and movies about the same thing. I don’t know if this show is healing or hurting. But a huge part of me needed this to be on the screens – to be available to the world. So although it hurts, I think I’m glad I saw it.