Recurrent miscarriage and being childless not by choice

Laura Shaw, 42, suffered 3 miscarriages. She believes there needs to be more understanding around baby loss. Laura lives in Brighton with her partner Jason Alner, 40.

I suffered 3 miscarriages, 2 of them missed, then I got Asherman’s syndrome because a D&C caused scarring. That took 4 operations to remove, the last being successful, just as I was getting divorced. Heart breaking.

I’d always wanted children and, not once, did I think it wouldn’t happen. People don’t. I thought it would be something I’d do, like getting a job or learning to drive.

So I met someone I loved, came off the pill and, within months, was pregnant. We bought things, talked about names, we were having a child.

That miscarriage was straightforward at about 8 weeks, no scan, cramps and bleeding.

I wanted to start trying again straight away and got pregnant pretty quickly

We didn’t talk about names this time but I’d have put money on us having a baby.

That’s why this miscarriage was more devastating. I felt like there must be something wrong with me.

At 11 weeks when I started bleeding and cramping they thought it may be an ectopic pregnancy. I went to hospital in the morning and, by the afternoon, was having surgery to remove my baby.

I left the hospital in the lift with a woman carrying her newborn home and I tried so hard not to cry. I was hurting so much but I didn’t want to ruin that moment for her. That’s what I do, cry later so I don’t ruin things for other people. 

The third one was utterly devastating and left me feeling broken, like I would never be able to have babies. That was the most terrifying thing for me, the idea of not having children.

I’d had an early scan at 7 weeks, I’d had to beg for it, and there was a heartbeat. The baby was tiny but nobody said it was an issue. Then I paid for a private scan at 11 weeks where they gave me the awful news that there was no heartbeat.

That was a missed miscarriage

I was sent home and carried a dead baby in my belly for 2 weeks which was horrendous. They had said I could take tablets then catch the baby in Tupperware and bring it in but, psychologically, I couldn’t. So I went for a D&C which caused the Ashermans.

It took 2 years to rectify that, 4 operations and, during that time, I realised my marriage was over but I was 38 and still wanted a baby so it took another 2 years for us to go our separate ways.

I wasn’t myself at all for a long time, dealing with my loss and so much anger. I shut myself away, crying all the time, hysterical sometimes because I felt so desperate.

After the third miscarriage they said I could get referred to see what was going on. I think that rule of 3 is all about money, how much will it cost to help after just 2 miscarriages? It is difficult because miscarriage is so common but it’s important, it’s not always ‘bad luck’.

They told me that the third one was a genetic issue

But couldn’t say whether it would happen again. It would be amazing if, after every miscarriage, they looked into the reason why. That’s what you want to know, why?

It was reassuring to know it was genetic, that child would never have been born, but I still feel like I’ve lost 3 children. That’s all 6 years ago now and I can’t believe I’ve not been pregnant for 6 years.

I’m in a wonderful relationship but I’m incredibly confused. I do not want to go through another miscarriage. I’m happy, I love my life. How could I consider throwing myself back into fertility, loss, anger. My brain argues with itself, this is the last chance.

Part of me wishes they’d never fixed the Asherman’s then the decision would be made for me. I just can’t face going back into that horrendous world.

Miscarriage isn’t what they show you on the telly, a bit of bleeding, a bit of depression. It’s a lot of bleeding, it’s anger, shock, jealousy, D&Cs and Tupperware.

And you are treated so clinically at times. I remember one EPU nurse describing me as ‘one of our regulars’. It wasn’t a club I wanted to be part of.

I got free counselling through a local service after the first and second miscarriages which was brilliant

It turned out I was really angry and she helped me process that, helped me understand that it was normal. I’d felt so much jealousy too and to hear that was normal was such a relief. Hearing that what you are going through is normal really does help. Whilst writing this article I was told that one of the most devastating moments of my journey, something I’m not ready to share, was something that other women had gone through, that was such a relief.

The hardest thing right now is that I don’t think I’m going to have children and that’s really upsetting but my partner is brilliant, he doesn’t try to fix it, just hugs me and lets me talk.

It’s difficult because sometimes it feels like society has no idea we exist, the 1 in 8 of us who are childless not by choice.

So when you casually ask someone if they have children you could be ripping their heart out.

Society needs to understand that we do exist, to think before asking the question. We need awareness and understanding and that is only brought about by talking.