So when she confessed backstage that she was in the middle of a complete rebranding and looking to move away from the dating niche, I was surprised at first. But when she later told me the whole story, it all made sense...
"About 6 months ago, my life dramatically changed." Hayley shared. "A chain of personal incidents changed my whole world view. I had a miscarriage and it was the hardest thing I've ever been through in my entire life. I had never experienced a loss before."
Having gone through a tough miscarriage myself over the summer, I empathised. I knew exactly what she meant by being in shock. "After about 2 weeks, grieving and loss hit me." Hayley said. "And they hit me like a wave... in a really big way."
Unfortunately, we don't talk enough about baby loss, even though it can impact us so much as women. Shame, guilt, a general lack of understanding, and a failure to acknowledge the depth of birth trauma and loss -- all of these factors contribute to turning miscarriage into a taboo.
We try to forget about it and pretend it never happened. But I believe (and so does Hayley) that this is not an issue to be silenced, and here is why:
1. Miscarriage is a lot more common than we think. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), approximately 10 percent of all clinically recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage. "The risk of miscarriage for women aged 20 to 30 years is between nine and 17 percent", the ACOG reveals. And "this rate increases sharply from 20 percent at age 35 years to 40 percent at age 40 years, and 80 percent at age 45 years". Personally, I had no idea about these statistics before I had a miscarriage. And when I wrote about it on my blog, I was surprised to receive so many supportive messages from women all over the world sharing similar stories and thanking me for starting a conversation on this subject.
2. Talking about it helps us feel less lonely. "Where do people talk about this? It's never spoken about!" Hayley points out. "We're not even supposed to tell anybody that we're pregnant until we're 12 weeks pregnant so not to jinx it", she says. But keeping it a secret only prevents us from finding the comfort and compassion we need at what often becomes a crossroads in our lives.
3. Miscarriage can be a defining moment. All of a sudden, our priorities and values become clearer. And we're pushed to make better choices. "Even though I don't have my baby, my life has changed beyond recognition", says Hayley. "And it was all the result of that one incidence. I'm a lot healthier, I've got better quality friends, I've made-up with my family, my living space is nice, I can finally make some food for myself without ordering a take-out."
4. Why not honour and share the lessons learned? I have yet to meet a woman who says that she learned nothing from losing a pregnancy. I think most of us make important shifts after a miscarriage. We commit to taking better care of ourselves. Our outlook on relationships may change. And even our careers can take a whole new direction. Hayley, for example, realised that she no longer wants to be known as a traditional dating coach. "Dating is ok" she says, "but there are a lot bigger issues at play. [The miscarriage] has made me more passionate about femininity, how we're choosing our relationships, dealing with loss, being able to be patient, waiting, grieving, loneliness, love, security. All these underlying core levers that are at the heart of who we are as people! That's what I want to speak about and that's what I'm passionate about in my business and my brand." Sharing the lessons we learned through our unborn babies is a beautiful way to share honour their spirit, I believe, and also...
5. Time to help each other. "Assisting one another, having a sense of society, understanding how to deal with things like loss and loneliness -- that's part of our human conditioning, that's part of our nature", says Hayley. "We all carry our stories and these are traumas. We need to talk to one another about it."
Having a miscarriage, in my view, is such a defining moment. It should not be glossed over. It should not be a taboo. "The more openness we have around this, the more we can begin to create a shared and supportive community for women to understand what is part of nature and is part of our lives as women", Hayley states. And I agree.
Watch my complete Q&A with Hayley Quinn right here [13 minute video].
You may learn more about Hayley and her unique perspective as a relationship coach by visiting her website at www.HayleyQuinn.com.