by Rachel Campbell
When I was growing up I always said I didn’t want kids and I wasn’t really bothered about getting married either. All through my twenties and into my thirties, I honestly never thought about it. When my friends were having children I still never thought ‘that will be me one day’.
When I was 28, I met Jason and soon realised he was the one for me. We got engaged quite quickly and stayed that way for about 5 years. We married in April 2010 and settled into our way of life.
After a year or so I started to think, ‘well if we are married, do we start a family? Not thinking much of it, we began to try. I got pregnant so quickly that I could barely take it in! By the time I was adjusting to the idea, I'd started spotting and having cramps. A trip to doctors confirmed I was miscarrying.
Because I was only about 4 or 5 weeks into the pregnancy, I went home thinking, 'well it wasn’t real yet, I will get over it' etc. In hindsight I should have just got in touch with someone and talked it through.
I have now had 4 miscarriages in a row. None getting further than 10 weeks.
The fourth pregnancy was the most promising, having a scan and seeing a heartbeat. We cheerfully went to my mum’s at Christmas (in France), but halfway through the break, I started bleeding. A trip to hospital confirmed the dreaded truth.
After the third miscarriage I had a series of tests which all confirmed there was no problem and we were advised to keep trying, especially as I was 37 at this point. But I was an emotional wreck. How can I not be bothered about having kids all this time and then be so hell bent on it?? Bloody hormones! I was so angry all the time; my body was changing so much through getting pregnant and then losing my babies.
If I saw a pregnant woman I was just so filled with rage and jealousy, even now I can’t explain just how angry that made me. Even though I had no idea what that woman will have gone through to get pregnant - maybe it was easy, maybe not. The thought of it now still upsets me, the way it made me feel, ALL the time.
When Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) told the world he and his wife had miscarried, he summed it up perfectly for me. He said it was such a lonely place. That is so true.
I was surrounded by people and I just could not express how I felt. People look at you with sympathy, then expect you to just get over it and start again.
After my fourth miscarriage my husband and my mum sat me down and said, you need to stop putting yourself through this. If you have to, try again but then please think about another route.
I decided I couldn’t keep trying, the thought of losing another baby just did me in. It is one of the most traumatising experiences I have ever been through. I began to question everything. If I can’t have kids what's the point in my existence? What’s my legacy? How will people remember me if there are no kids to carry on the family?
When people ask and you tell them you are going to stop trying they look at you look you are in denial. Maybe I was. I didn’t trust my judgement on anything, even food shopping! And to this day I still have serious moments of doubt, even over the most basic things. But now, I have started to stop and think to myself "come on Rach, you are a normal rational person, just make a decision!"
The thing for me is – and always has been - the pregnancy. As much as babies are lovely and kids are great, I still don’t have that great need for a child.
Now I feel more like me, I realise the pregnancy was the thing I needed to get to grips with.
Then last year on my birthday (of all days), I strolled into work to be greeted with the new that two of my colleagues were pregnant. My head just went. I went home in my lunch break and just thought, ‘I can’t handle this’. I work for a small company and I am good friends with the girls, so I had a inkling that they were both pregnant but the confirmation was like a punch in my chest. I rang Jason at work and told him, he came home and he said go to the doctors. Which I duly did, and they gave me tablets and transferred me for counselling. I didn’t take the tablets, and the NHS counselling service was a long list, so I went private for a couple of months before I decided to stop going.
The counselling helped, and made me think differently about things, and just take it easy. I stopped beating myself up over things.
It still smarts when someone says they are pregnant, and I have friends of all ages so I still seem surrounded by people having babies, but I am 40 in a couple of weeks, and I want to get on with my life. I feel like the last 5 or 6 years have changed me totally, and not always for the better. But I do believe what is meant for you won’t go past you.
I wonder if there are many people in my situation - not wanting kids, trying and miscarrying anyway, and then living without them. I only seem to read about women who have miscarried but eventually gone on to have children. I honestly believe now that I can live my life and not regret my decisions about not having children. Can’t say I haven’t tried!
But it has taken me about three years to get to this point in my mind. I don’t want more tests, IVF etc. Jason and my family have no idea of the thoughts that have run through my head over the last few years. I truly hope to get peace of mind over the whole situation.
Now we have a dog, and I can’t tell you what a difference he has made to our lives! Before I had the miscarriage in France, we had just got a dog. I had these lovely visions of going out with our new baby and walking the dog at the same time, like millions of other women do.
But the plus is that our dog has saved my sanity and my marriage! He has given me focus, and make me laugh and smile again. Jason adores him.
Never in a million years did I think I would go through all this, but I did. We did. We got through it. So to all the people who are struggling - whatever happens, you are never alone. You must remember that.