Posted 20 hours ago

Hard to Bear: Investigating the science and silence of miscarriage

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Hard to Bear is a work of witness, advocacy and hope. It originates from Isabelle Oderberg’s experience of being told by an obstetrician, during her sixth miscarriage, that if women were better educated about pregnancy loss, she “wouldn’t be crying about it”. Bleeding and cramping as the doctor waves aside her grief, Oderberg still finds a gift in his dismissal – a fervent and furious flame: “the desire to write this book”. I should like to know, too, by what mysterious law of nature it is that before you have left your watch “to be repaired” half an hour, some one is sure to stop you in the street and conspicuously ask you the time. Nobody even feels the slightest curiosity on the subject when you’ve got it on.

Oderberg begins with her own history, because she can write about her own experience directly and ethically. Her reproductive history creates a narrative line through Hard to Bear, extending outwards like a cantilever to provide space for the vast chorus of other voices she assembles. Her frank account continually expands to include other observations, many of them counterpointing or offering a different angle from her own. Sheila put up with Damian’s immaturity for as long as she could, but she considered his infidelity too much to bear.

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Dear old ladies and gentlemen who know nothing about being hard up–and may they never, bless their gray old heads–look upon the pawn-shop as the last stage of degradation; but those who know it better (and my readers have no doubt, noticed this themselves) are often surprised, like the little boy who dreamed he went to heaven, at meeting so many people there that they never expected to see. For my part, I think it a much more independent course than borrowing from friends, and I always try to impress this upon those of my acquaintance who incline toward “wanting a couple of pounds till the day after to-morrow.” But they won’t all see it. One of them once remarked that he objected to the principle of the thing. I fancy if he had said it was the interest that he objected to he would have been nearer the truth: twenty-five per cent. certainly does come heavy.

What does too much to bear mean? Too much to bear is a phrase that means to the point of excess. In this case, the infinitive to bear means to carry or endure. Note: The term to bear fruit uses bear not bare. (This term is often mistakely written as to bare fruit.) I can speak with authority on the subject of being hard up. I have been a provincial actor. If further evidence be required, which I do not think likely, I can add that I have been a “gentleman connected with the press.” I have lived on 15 shilling a week. I have lived a week on 10, owing the other 5; and I have lived for a fortnight on a great-coat.I will discuss the differences between too much to bare vs. too much to bear in this article. I will also use each of these phrases in a few example sentences, so you can see them in context. Hard to Bear is essential reading for anyone interested in the intersection of systemic inequality, empirical evidence and lived experience. The wisdom and warnings contained within will echo loudly in the hearts and minds of compassionate carers, victims of loss and – hopefully – future generations of ethical medical professionals. If you can never remember whether to write bear with me or bare with me; if you can’t tell the difference between I can’t bear it or I can’t bare it, then you’re not alone.

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