Last Sunday night’s episode of Outlander revealed a tragic backstory for Young Ian (John Bell).
There had been hints prior that Young Ian left the Mohawk tribe due to a sad situation. It had been revealed that not only had Young Ian been married, but a child had been born.
However, Episode 5, titled Hour of the Wolf, delved much further into this storyline.
Young Ian and his wife suffered terrible losses
Young Ian had decided to stay with the Mohawk Indians after he originally sold Roger (Richard Rankin) to them. When he realizes who Roger was, a trade was then made to get him back, and Young Ian selflessly agrees to trade himself for Roger’s safe return.
It is here that Ian becomes a fully-fledged member of the tribe and takes on a bride, Wahionhaweh (Morgan Holmstrom), who he calls Emily, for short.
The pair conceive a child, and Emily carries the baby almost to term before something goes wrong and she loses the baby girl. Then, when they try again, a miscarriage occurs much earlier in the pregnancy.
Most likely, these losses occurred due to a Rhesus negative issue. However, because of this, Young Ian is sent away from the tribe, and that is how he returns to his family on Fraser’s Ridge.
Then, when members of the Mohawk tribe turn up at a gathering that Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Young Ian are attending, there is a tender and heartbreaking conversation between Jamie and his nephew about baby loss, with Sam having also suffered the loss of his daughter, Faith, back in Season 2 of Outlander.
The pair have a deep conversation that not only discusses their grief but other factors regarding the losses, such as the questions that arise and feelings of personal guilt. It is something not often seen on television and, particularly, between two men.
This conversation has earned the praise of baby loss support charities, according to the Scottish Daily Express.
Charities praise Outlander’s depiction of baby loss
Both the Miscarriage Association and Bereavement Support Services have spoken out regarding how Starz handled the baby losses in Outlander.
“Outlander is to be praised for its portrayal of two bereaved fathers sharing their feelings after baby loss,” a spokesperson from Miscarriage Association said in a statement.
“The scene highlights not only their feelings of grief and loss but also the search for answers that so many parents have, women and men: Why did this happen? Is it something I did?”
Jen Coates, who is the Director of Bereavement Support Services at Sands, also issued the following statement regarding Episode 4 of Outlander.
“Showing conversations about pregnancy loss or baby loss as part of a popular TV series can really help break the silence around these issues. Seeing other men talking about baby loss may also lead to a bereaved dad or other family member getting the support they need.”
In particular, Coates wanted to draw attention to the fact that “almost a third of men” who had suffered from the loss of a baby were not given support or directed to a helpline to help work through this grief, and this can often lead to “ongoing mental health issues.”
Season 6 of Outlander currently airs every Sunday night on Starz.