You may or may not know that beloved documentary maker Louis Theroux and his wife Nancy are parents to three boys – 14-year-old Albert, 11-year-old Frederick and four-year-old Walter.
Content note: This post discusses miscarriage and traumatic birth.
“I didn’t understand”
Parenthood has not always been smooth sailing for this couple who have now completed their family and are sharing more about their life together.
Louis says that he “campaigned” hard for their final child, Walter, but that his birth was not an easy one.
In just-released autobiography Gotta Get Theroux This, Louis reveals that they endured two miscarriages as well as this traumatic birth. It’s clear that it’s been A LOT.
The MailOnline shared extracts from Louis’ new book and it’s a glimpse into the pair’s emotional path to parenthood – and how differently they experienced the loss of their pregnancies.
“Getting to term had been a trial, two had ended in miscarriage,” Louis wrote of the period leading up to Walter’s birth.
“We’d been through nothing like that before. A language of grief and the social forms I was versed in did not seem adequate to the occasion.”
“But sadness was complete and if I’m honest, I didn’t understand what she was going through. It still seemed abstract to me whereas for Nancy the babies had been real.”
“As pale as a vampire”
When Walter was born, Louis said it was a traumatic experience, a reminder that childbirth does not always go according to plan and that parents are sometimes dragged along on a bumpy ride.
“When they raised the baby’s head, tiny, cross faced and smeared like a bagel in what looked like cream cheese and jam I glanced at Nancy. I thought, ‘We’re not doing this again.’ He’d arrived after a harrowing c-section one afternoon at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.”
“Nancy looked half-dead afterwards, as pale as a vampire. The procedure had been delayed and delayed for various reasons. We felt like passengers whose flight kept getting cancelled.”
Thankfully mum and baby recovered from this fraught birth, but it’s clear that the trauma of this baby’s arrival deeply affected Nancy and Louis.
Both miscarriage and birth trauma affects many, many couples in fact and it’s brilliant that this couple is speaking openly about their own experience. It helps to make it clear that – sadly – not every birth is an easy one and that sometimes a time that is billed as being ‘magical’ can actually be distressing – even several years down the track.
If you’re struggling with the loss of a baby, please don’t go it alone. SANDS counsellors are there to support you and provide helpful advice about living with loss.