When Vicky Treherne fell into depression after multiple miscarriages, she found solace in the TV series Nashville and its music. Catherine Scott reports.
Vicky Treherne didn’t realise the power of music until she was at the lowest point of her life.
“My husband Matthew and I had three miscarriages in less than two years and, after the last one in the summer of 2016, we were left reeling,” explains mum-of-one Vicky from Leeds.
“We had struggled to have our son and needed fertility treatment which worked on the third attempt, which in itself was very emotional. Then when I fell pregnant naturally after we’d had Adam we were over the moon as we never thought we’d be able to conceive naturally, but then when I miscarried at eight weeks it was even more devastating.”
Two more miscarriages followed in a relatively short space of time during which time Vicky felt that the NHS just wasn’t geared up to deal with the emotional grieving process of a miscarriage.
“I have been through a lot of medical care and a lot of it has been extremely good and we are really fortunate to have the NHS, but some of it has been not so good, especially around the emotional side of miscarriage.
“When you fall pregnant you are looked after at every stage in the health system, but if you lose that pregnancy you feel that people just want you out of the system as quickly as possible and there is no where to go. I was sent home to miscarry which is a physical and emotional nightmare. It left me with a lot of trauma about different rooms in our house. I would rather have been in hospital to go through something like that.”
Vicky became increasingly frustrated that although her medical needs were being met her psychological ones weren’t.
“As a society we have a problem talking about miscarriage,” says the Leeds University development manager.“We don’t tell people we are pregnant for the first three months as that is when the risk of miscarriage is greatest but, if you do lose your baby, that is exactly when you need the support and understand of colleagues, family and friends the most.”
After her first miscarriage, Vicky says she was determined to get back to work as quickly as possible. “I think I just wanted to get back to normal but I really wasn’t ready. I kept having flashbacks and just wasn’t coping at all well.”
Eventually, after her third miscarriage in a relatively short space of time, Vicky was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“I was lucky in some ways as I worked at the university and was able to access some counselling where I was told I was displaying signs of trauma and I was recommended ENDR which has really helped me.”
But she says it was actually watching the television series Nashville that was a turning point in her recovery.
“After our final miscarriage someone recommended watching Nashville, and so as a way of distracting ourselves from what we were going through we did and we were just hooked from the word go.”
The series chronicles the lives of various fictitious country music singers in Nashville, Tennessee. “But Nashville is more than just a TV show. If you know it, you’ll know that it’s the music which makes it special – music often takes the place of dialogue between characters. I suppose for me especially, that music became a way for me to have a dialogue with my own pain,” says Vicky.
“Through Nashville, I discovered a whole new genre of music and a whole new group of performers and songwriters. I discovered that the man behind my favourite character, Deacon Claybourne – aka Charles (Chip) Esten – was releasing a new song every single Friday. I was struggling to look forwards to our future, but I could at least look forward to Friday and a new Chip Esten song. I began to understand just how much we had been damaged by our experience, and I realised at the same time that I wanted to speak out about what had happened to us, and to do something to raise awareness of miscarriage and the pain and devastation it wreaks.”
Vicky started running again, a hobby she had enjoyed before her miscarriages, while listening to her favourite Esten tracks and this gave her an idea to raise awareness of the devastation miscarriages can cause and also raise money for more research into why some women suffer multiple miscarriages.
#StrutYourSongs took place around Harewood on June 17 last year, but also in places as far afield as America, Belgium and Germany.
“I set myself the challenge of running for as long as it took to listen to my favourite Chip Esten playlist. And, on June 16 2017, over 100 people all over the world and across five continents joined in and ran, walked or cycled for as long as it took to listen to their own favourite music playlist – quite literally, we strutted our songs,” recalls Vicky.
“Together we raised awareness of miscarriage, we celebrated the healing power of music, said thanks to Charles Esten – and raised £4,500 for the Miscarriage Association.”
Buoyed by the success, Vicky has decided to organise #StrutYourSongs again this year on Saturday June 9. This time she aims to raise £7,767 – the cost of running the Miscarriage Association’s helpline for a month. And the launch event earlier this month had a very special visitor.
“The cast of Nashville were performing in the UK and we went to see them a few times. I met Chip Esten and told him my story and how his music had helped me, he seemed genuinely interested.” Not only that but Esten took time out when he played at the Leeds Arena to perform at Vicky’s launch event.
And Chip gave Vicky a direct message of support.
““I saw the work you were doing last year and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I don’t believe any of us will know what you’ve been through, but I do know you’ve done what the only answer to pain is, and to grief and darkness, which is you take your time and just let yourself hurt and you let yourself bleed emotionally until you get your bearings and you stand up and do something on behalf of someone else and you try and take away someone else’s pain a little bit,” he said,
Vicky hopes that through campaigns like hers the taboo surrounding miscarriage will be lifted.
How to take part
#StrutYourSongs2018 takes place around Harewood on Saturday June 9.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register and for further details. If you can’t come to Harewood, you can take part wherever you are in the world.Do your own run/walk/cycle of any length in solidarity and take a photo of yourself (or a screenshot of your playlist). Post it on Twitter using the hashtag #StrutYourSongs and don’t forget to tag @vickytreherne @miscarriagea
To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/StrutYourSongs
Further information on the work of the Miscarriage Association can be found by visiting their website www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/