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Andie Chen recounts learning about wife Kate Pang's miscarriage, and why it's important to talk about it

Andie Chen recounts learning about wife Kate Pang's miscarriage, and why it's important to talk about it
Andie Chen and his wife Kate Pang.
PHOTO: Instagram/andiechen

In 2015, in the middle of a shoot for a TV drama, local actor Andie Chen received a phone call bearing sad news. His wife, actress-host Kate Pang, who was just about four weeks pregnant at the time, had suffered a miscarriage.

“I remember getting a phone call from [Kate], I was in the middle of my shoot. She told me what had happened and she was crying,” Andie said, describing the moment as devastating.

The 35-year-old said although a prior visit to the gynaecologist had warned them that “something did not seem right,” he and his wife were not prepared to hear of the news.

“So when she told me what had happened, I walked off the set and started crying,” he recounted.

'I felt very helpless'

“I felt like it was my fault because I was busy as well and when I am busy, I couldn’t take good care of her and I allowed her to be so busy, too.” 

Kate was in between her hosting gigs then, and had to undergo a procedure to remove the foetus as it was no longer developing and the umbilical cord had shrunk. At that time, they already have their son Aden.

“I think it really hit me hard, after the procedure. When I saw her after and I could tell that she was in pain both physically and emotionally, I felt very helpless. I felt like I failed as a husband and a father that I couldn’t protect my wife and our baby,” said Andie.

“There was a strong sense of guilt because I felt responsible but much as I want to, I could only wish to share the physical pain she felt.

“She is my responsibility and I allowed this to happen and I couldn't protect her, I couldn't and I didn't protect her. I feel like, on my part, that was a bit hard to swallow.”

More determined to have another child


Andie also shared how he knows other people who have gone through a devastating loss chose not to try again because of the fear of the possibility of a miscarriage again.

This was not the case for them. The miscarriage made them more determined to try again and have another child.

“I think we were even more sure that we want to have another child after what happened,” said Chen. “And I am glad we did.”

A year later after the miscarriage, they saw welcomed daughter Avery, who was born on the actor’s birthday.

ALSO READ: Andie Chen and Kate Pang relocate kids to Taiwan

On keeping health in check

“I learned a lot and I am sure my wife did, too. But if there’s one thing, I learned that you whether you are trying or not, and because you really do not know when a baby comes, you really have to keep your health and stress levels in check,” said Andie.

“I realise when my wife and I go through a rough patch, it’s usually because we are stressed or overworked. I think that’s the case for most couples. If one or both parties are just stretched too thin and if you don’t keep your health in check when pregnancy comes, you and your spouse might get even more stressed.” 

“I don't know whether if it is scientifically or medically proven, but I believe stress levels affect your pregnancy as it does with your overall health. So always keep your health in check for the sake of your family.”

“It is important to talk about it”

He admitted that he initially felt hesitant to talk about the loss of their baby.

“Initially, I thought of it as a private matter [that] we didn’t have to tell people about,” Andie said. Later on, he realised how important it is to talk about it, especially because it is part of the grieving process and that it can help raise awareness.

“[At the time] there weren't many people who knew she was pregnant because she was in her first trimester.

“But [Kate] wanted to [share the story] and I was convinced because we realised that there were a lot of parents out there who had experienced the same thing and it’s really common, in fact, surprisingly very common.”

And it is true. According to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, 25 per cent of pregnancies in Singapore end in miscarriage.

ALSO READ: Lee Teng and wife devastated after she miscarries

“Communicate your willingness to support but respect the way they deal with the loss”

While Andie knows that there is no one-size-fits-all advice for couples who have experienced a miscarriage, as well as for those around them, it is important to “over-communicate your willingness to support in any way you can,” and that timing is very important.

“Test the waters. Do that every day. Start with something small like asking them if they want to talk, or go out, or eat, ‘What can I do to help?’, these things. Constantly check the waters and constantly remind the parents — the mum, especially — that you are there to support them and are willing to do whatever it takes.”

ALSO READ: Lee Teng's wife after miscarriage: 'I wanted to destroy myself'

Andie added it matters to be sensitive about what you say when you are being supportive.

“Some people would tell couples who suffered a miscarriage, especially those who are just starting to build their families, that ‘It’s okay, you’re still young, you can have another one’ and that does not help. The baby lost is our son or our daughter, he or she is not replaceable.”

Andie said that while people grieve in different ways, support, in the end, is about giving the grieving parents respect by allowing them to deal with the loss the way they want.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.

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