It’s estimated that globally one in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage, and this doesn’t even begin to cover the issue of infertility, which is so much more common than many realise. According to Health Direct, one in nine couples in Australia will struggle to conceive.
Cassie and Ben represent one of those couples flawlessly.
When we first meet Cassie (HaiHa Le), she’s pregnant. Then, within the same episode, she suddenly isn’t.
It’s revealed piece by piece that her latest miscarriage is one of many in her struggle to become and stay pregnant with Ben (Hugh Sheridan). She’s afforded a moment to breathe when they run out of money to pay for more IVF, but when that situation is rectified, she seems unsure whether she wants to continue.
While pregnancy loss is always hard to watch in pop culture, the audience will find themselves feeling for Cassie as she tries to communicate just how hard the situation is from her perspective.
While her loving husband is happy to continue undergoing IVF treatments for “as long as it takes”, Cassie has her doubts. Her episode four proclamation that she can’t be "a womb on legs" will tug tightly on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever struggled with ongoing fertility issues and the regimented world of IVF.
It looks heartbreaking, and exhausting, and at times fruitless to continue such an upsetting and bumpy journey in the hope of maybe becoming a mother.
Rachel’s pregnancy seems to add insult to injury for those watching, as she arrives home in Australia heavily pregnant, having not announced her news.
This is a common feeling among women who miscarry.
Former Bachelor star, Laura Byrne, touched on it in the wake of her own pregnancy with fiancée Matthew Johnson, which ended in miscarriage.
“It seemed like every time I opened my phone people were announcing their beautiful pregnancies,” Laura wrote for news.com.au in 2019.
“All I could think was ‘why is this happening to us?’”
However, as the new episodes will convince us, motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all experience.
Although Julie is painted as the "ideal" mother, we become privy to her issues with relinquishing control. Rachel will raise her daughter as a solo mother. Tess – surprisingly – has kids, but no relationship with them. Edward’s mother is not in the picture, making Nathan the centre of his universe.
And Cassie will still be a mother, with her and Ben deciding to pursue adoption.
Dealing with human struggle with such grace and sympathy is nothing new for Rafters.
HaiHa Le noted this in a chat with WHO at the time of the series release.
“As a young mother myself, the journey towards motherhood and when you’re in it, it’s not always as rosy as it’s painted to be … it’s actually very hard,” she said.
“Part of Cassie’s journey is to really discover what her needs are, and not be consumed by everyone else’s wants and needs.
“I think the show deals with a lot of sensitive issues in a really delicate way, and they don’t really shy away from the darker human experiences.”