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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Injured but not defeated: Leeds health professional says injury won’t stop him scaling high peaks to shatter taboos around miscarriages.

Leeds-based health professional Satbir Saggu, who pledged to scale a height equivalent to Mount Everest, has had to postpone his mighty mission – but only for now.

He was forced to abort his quest – conceived as a taboo-busting mission to spread awareness of miscarriage and raise money for charity – after injuring his knee whilst climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland and the British Isles.

His challenge came about after he and his wife experienced miscarriages, which some in the South Asian community consider a taboo issue, and a woman who has been through a miscarriage is at times considered a bad omen. They can be prohibited from attending a family’s auspicious ceremonies.

Satbir, who is head of service for community neurological and stroke rehabilitation at Leeds Community NHS Healthcare Trust, began strongly on 17 July with an attempt on 1,345m-high Ben Nevis.

However, just two days later, on 19 July, he announced on social media his decision to abort the mission due to a freak knee injury.

He wrote: “Devastated to be writing this but I have made the difficult decision to stop. I injured my knee yesterday which is very painful this morning. Hopefully no long-term damage done.”

Despite the setback, Satbir aims to continue his mission to spread awareness about miscarriage and to educate people.

Satbir spoke to Asian Standard following his injury.

He said: “What I was to do is to scale an equivalent of Mount Everest. My prime reason was to spread awareness for miscarriages. What’s a better way to put yourself to a difficult challenge: to scale a height equivalent to over 29,000 feet in seven days? Until the injury I had already scaled around 20,000 feet in two days. That’s four miles. I could have done it [completed the mission] in three days.”

Satbir added: “Me and my wife have experienced miscarriages for a fairly long time. I remember a lot of questions were being asked to us. We’ve been trying for children for a long time. We were getting questions like, ‘Why are you not having children?’ and that just added pressure. We were already experiencing difficulties.

“The people that we actually shared the reality with, they were like, ‘It wasn’t actually a baby, you need to get on with it’. This was not very accommodative.”

Speaking of taboos, Satbir told Asian Standard: “I am not sure why it is even a taboo. I don’t know why people look at it that way. When people have miscarriages, the first question they ask is, ‘What did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me?’

“Then you’ve got the people who are your relatives. They do not even talk about it, not even recognise it. There’s just a bit of a conflict.

“It does not help by not talking, by not asking, ‘Tell me how you feel’, and not be a part of it. Especially the older generation.

“They always blame the woman; they fail to see that there are two people involved. It might be also something with the man’s contribution to the baby. They think it’s all because of the lady and that she is not worthy.

“This mindset needs to change.”

Speaking about his mission ahead, and in spite of his injury, Satbir said: “I might do something different this time in future. I will continue to raise money, raising money is always good, but more importantly I want to get people talking about it.”

Tommy’s Charity, with whom Satbir was raising money, has found that an estimated one in five pregnancies in the UK ends in miscarriage and about one in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages.

The charity further lays down that more than six in ten women who have a recurrent miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy.

If you want to help Satbir spread awareness and help about miscarriages, you can visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/yn6bkh-taking-on-the-height-of-everest-in-3-days

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