Everything I think or feel is ok, it doesn’t need to be questioned or judged

After recently experiencing a third miscarriage, Megan has written a powerful blog about her journey. In this first chapter she describes her conflicting feelings and a search for answers.

I think the miscarriage has finished. I had spotting Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday lots of pain but not like the last two times. Today I believe it’s Friday. I am feeling weak, fragile and my womb hurts, like an aching sensation. 

This one feels different; it’s helped that it was really early this time, so less pain and no hospital intervention. I’ve also read more articles about post-miscarriage, which has been helpful and I feel less confusion and isolation than before. I feel sad and, at the same time, numbed; a bit spaced out as though I’m watching the world go on around me. 

Shouldn’t I be used to this by now? 

I suppose not. Each time is still a loss. It’s still a process I need to go through and heal from. And, from what I’ve read, everything I think or feel, in this scenario, is normal and ok. It doesn’t need to be questioned or judged. That’s a nice reminder. Takes the pressure off the process. 
Last night, after the second day of the miscarriage, I was attempting sleep when my mind had other plans. 

Whilst typing different miscarriage-related questions into my search engine I came across the Miscarriage Support Tool on the Tommy’s website. It works from a research-based algorithm that indicates the likelihood of success in your next pregnancy. I appreciated the warning that results could be upsetting; as well as the context of 80% being the average person’s pregnancy success rate.

As a recent member of the 1% recurrent pregnancy loss population my expectations of a successful outcome were low. Very low. The tool took into consideration my age, (mid-thirties), health, (pretty good) and pregnancy history, (pretty poor), amongst other things. To my relief, even with an increased chance of miscarriage after pregnancy loss, the algorithm results showed there was a 71% chance that my next pregnancy would be successful. 

Perhaps I’ll be ok after all. Perhaps I can have a baby. Perhaps things aren’t as hopeless as they feel. 

I noticed that many internet articles referred to the pregnant person as a mother or parent. This felt comforting after my first miscarriage; the idea of still being a mum gave my pregnancy validity and was something I could take from the heart-breaking experience. 

But, as Michelle Obama says in her inspiring book, The Light We Carry, what works in one phase of your life doesn’t necessarily work in another. Now, 2 miscarriages later, I don’t want to think of myself as a parent of 3 babies that I don’t get to hold. That’s not conducive to a peaceful mind. To me, that feels guilt-inducing; it indicates that I failed and it’s too devastating. 

My alternative, more compassionate, offering to myself is that my body is filtering and looking for a perfect chromosome combination. Twice I’ve said to myself ‘the next one will be the one’.

But it wasn’t. People around me have said the likes of ‘it’ll be fine this time, ‘you’re meant to be a mum’, ‘you’re a good person so it’ll happen for you’, ‘stay positive and relaxed’. 

Doctors have said ‘take Folic Acid’, ‘take Vitamin D’, ‘take Paediatric Aspirin’, ‘your tests are normal’, ‘there’s no reason you can’t have a healthy pregnancy’, ‘enjoy it’, ‘it’ll be fine this time, just relax’.

Have you ever ‘tried’ to ‘relax’ after somebody has told you to relax? It’s quite counter-intuitive.

‘Cruel’ is a word that I have used more and more throughout my pregnancy experience; from the Two Week Wait, to the disenchanting periods, to the early weeks of pregnancy where you’re between fear and excitement. That’s without considering what’s happening around you. 

For example, my first miscarriage happened 9 years ago with an ex-husband who, now, has a baby with the woman he left me for. On top of that, 5 of my good friends have had ‘accidental’ pregnancies and have successfully delivered. I recently spoke to one of these friends, relaying my sense of injustice, as to why people who accidently, or unexpectedly, get pregnant seem to have healthy pregnancies. Meanwhile, I’m doing what I can to conceive and create a healthy baby environment and it’s not working! 

She asked me: “What do these people have in common?” 

“They’re not stressed because pregnancy hasn’t been on their mind. They’re not thinking about getting pregnant.” 

Initially, my mid-thirties body clock and grief-fuelled bitterness struggled to empathise with this. Haven’t I been ‘trying’ to ‘relax’? Also, I’ve read that there’s been no research to support that stress is related to miscarriage (although, this may be because you can’t ethically conduct a study where stress is inflicted on a control group of pregnant women! I suppose they could assess people’s state of mind retrospectively or via a questionnaire. But I digress). 

As well as the successful unexpected pregnancies, there are many uplifting stories of couples who, after giving up their battle of conception, go on to have natural pregnancies when they least expect it. 

So, in my unprofessional opinion, my friend actually makes sense. Stress and anxiety levels could potentially have an impact on pregnancy. 

It took a couple of days to digest the news that my HCG hormone levels had decreased and a miscarriage was imminent. Unlike the last 2 losses, when it felt like my lungs were collapsing and my heart was cracking as if stepping on an iced lake, I surprisingly started to feel a sense of lightness. The pressure of what felt like walking on a tightrope had gone. I no longer had to deal with the anxiety of getting and staying pregnant. It felt oddly liberating, as if I was able to take a deep, relaxing breath for the first time in a while. 

It presented me a second chance to live life to the fullest; without the restrictions of thinking twice before I ate or drank something or committed to a plan. I no longer had to think things like: ‘Is this safe for my pregnancy? Am I doing it right? Should I eat this? Can I lie on my stomach? Is this Yoga pose safe? Did I walk too far? Is my shower too hot?’

This was the tight rope I felt I was on.

Read the second part of Megan's story