#misCOURAGE story by Uzma Mohamedali,
There’s no point waiting to take it, I thought.
I was on the train back from Switzerland to my home in France from the gynaecologist. She’d said it was fetal demise. I felt nauseous.
I looked around me at the other passengers buried in the morning broadsheets, on their way to work or protected in their own world, skulls muzzled in large earphones. I looked out of the window at the grey sleet.
I glanced with shame at my husband sitting opposite me. We exchanged pained looks. I wanted to avoid another fresh set of tears, so I said what I thought: “there’s no point waiting to take it.” In a gruff voice I demanded the drugs and the water.
In a jerky move of self-disgust, I jabbed out four tablets from the silver blister pack. I noted the ivory hexagonal pattern and was momentarily fascinated by this snowflake-looking poison for my 8 week old baby. I threw them back down my throat and swallowed.
I didn’t know what to expect. While waiting for whatever I was meant to experience, I felt like a killer. Should I have waited to think about it? She did say I could wait until Wednesday. Was my pragmatism ill-judged? I knew I’d done the right thing, there was nothing in my power to hold onto my dead child. My mind needed to tow my body to catch up with it, and my body to acknowledge cold reality.
During the journey, I contemplated the rainbow of emotions I’d secretly fostered. Hope, determination, positivity, neutrality, disappointment, bitterness and depression. This time would be different.
The binary: zero or one. The go. The no-go gates. The get-out-of jail-free card was denied. I felt like a big zero walking. A hole in the middle.
Fast-forward to 1600mg of snowflakes, Tens and thousands of milligrams of pain killers. Pain-killers. If this is expectant management then I demand the emotional pain to be killed along with the severe contractions. I am numb. I feel nothing.
I crave sympathy messages, cards, robust bouquets and fancy chocolates. But second time round, none arrive. I have told everyone that I’m unwell. And that I’m going underground. What do I want?
My grief is a private bubble. It’s shiny and I share it with my dearest soulmate. We are bound in love and shackled by sickness. We know we will pull through. We share our news in concentric circles starting with people who know. I am touched by the depth of feeling from people who love me and reach out in all their wisdom. Those that don’t understand will only know if it happens to them.
I will emerge from this cocoon. I will unfold my hopes. Dust off my motivation. Unfurl my determination.
The vibrancy and energy will return. I’m practising patience and learning resilience.
You are always stronger than you think you are.