Mother who lost 11 babies during pregnancy has message for internet trolls
Some comments were incredibly hurtful
By Elizabeth Daoud
October 21 2019
A Melbourne woman who lost 11 babies during pregnancy has hit back at internet trolls who called her a ‘serial killer' and sent other hurtful messages.
Samantha Rowe, 40, had three stillbirths, six miscarriages and lost twins to cord entanglement.
Rowe received an overwhelming response after sharing her and partner Paul Lyons' story to 7NEWS.com.au, ahead of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day on October 15.
Some of the feedback was welcomed, heartwarming and brought a tear to her eye.
Other comments were incredibly hurtful.
“Someone called me a serial killer,” Rowe told 7NEWS.com.au
“It's God telling you you're not meant to have children.
"Why would you keep trying? It's sad and it's also selfish.
"What age will you give up and stop trying? 50? 60?
"Why not try a surrogate with their own sperm and egg? Her body continues to reject pregnancy after pregnancy. It's not fair.
"Lost 11 babies - did they look under the lounge cushion? Maybe check the linen cupboards?"
Sharing the story
Rowe and Lyons eventually had to put their phones down and stop reading the negative comments.
"I was getting really upset," she said.
But the 40-year-old doesn't regret sharing her story.
Her concern is that the negativity might stop others who have gone through similar things from sharing theirs.
"That kind of behaviour perpetuates the cycle of isolation because other people who do experience loss see this response from the general public," Rowe said.
"These are complete strangers that are persecuting us.
"I think then if anyone was perhaps on the fence as to whether they wanted to be honest and upfront about their own experiences, that would make them turn and run away and say, 'we're not gonna tell anyone'."
'There are other ways'
The 40-year-old also received plenty of messages from people asking why she hadn’t considered surrogacy or adoption.
And she wants those people to know she has, but the process for both is complicated, costly and takes time.
"I'm a bit confused or amazed that people would reach out to start a conversation about something that they actually don't even have any knowledge about," she said.
"Anyone who has been on a journey like this for as long as we have - there is no way that you haven't done your due diligence.
"We spent days, weeks, months trawling over websites and forums, talking to people, contacting organisations to talk about adoption, permanent care and surrogacy."
The 40 year old said she responded to the private messages, explaining the couple's difficulties.
"When I respond and say, 'on average it costs $150,000 and upwards to undertake the use of a surrogate to get a baby in Australia... they're blown away," Rowe said.
"It also takes, on average, five years.
"We don't have $150,000 and we certainly don't have another five years to give to our baby journey so it's not suitable for us."
Rowe also said adoption in Australia, even adoption from overseas, was difficult and the number of children that are adopted is low.
"One thing that's become really clear to me is that the majority of the general public has no idea how complex and costly and timely surrogacy and adoption are," she said.
"They're certainly not a one fit for all and they're certainly not accessible to all people that are struggling to have a child the traditional way."
In 2017-18, only 330 adoptions were finalised in Australia - including intercountry adoptions - according to the Australian Institute of Human Welfare.
The average waiting time for adoptions was just under three years.
The impact has been widespread, but Rowe said it has also hit home.
Friends who have silently watched her and Lyons’ journey reached out to them.
Even her eyelash technician shared the story and tagged her in it.
After losing 11 pregnancies, including two miscarriages this year, the couple has sought the help of donor eggs.
They're now excitedly waiting on the arrival of the eggs, which will be implanted next month.
It's hoped it'll mean they get to try for baby number 12.
Anyone wanting to follow the couple's journey can do so on their Facebook page, Memories of an Angel.