Actress, presenter, vlogger/blogger and bestselling novelist, Giovanna Fletcher is a woman of many talents. Mother to Buddy and Buzz, and expecting another baby soon, Giovanna speaks candidly to her followers about parenthood, not shying away from the highs and lows, including her experience with miscarriage.
This is Giovanna's story
'For a long time I was really angry, at myself, at my body, but I think anger and sadness are a part of the grieving process.'
I’d always wanted children and one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t be able to have them.
Just before we married I discovered I had PCOS and, at that point, I felt it wasn’t going to be easy, so when I fell pregnant straight away it almost felt too easy. A few days later I miscarried, that was my first experience of being a mum.
I woke up and just knew something wasn’t right, I was a bit crampy, my boobs didn’t feel the same and then, when I went to the loo, there was that sight that everyone fears. I phoned my doctor and set off to hospital for a scan. Driving there I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s going to be fine,’ but sadly when they scanned me there was nothing to see. I’d had a complete miscarriage.
Like most women, I had hopes and expectations about the kind of parent I would be and I failed.
All those hopes and dreams for that child, crumbled and vanished and it was hard.
I felt devastated, terribly sad and like I’d failed me, my husband and our baby.
It’s such a rubbish thing to go through, there was anger, grief and that sense of needing someone to blame and the only one I could blame was me.
I didn’t tell my husband Tom that I felt I’d failed him but I really wish I had because I know he’d have told me that wasn’t the case at all, but in times like this rational thought goes out of the window and all you’re left with is that raw emotion.
Miscarriage isn’t spoken about so I felt like the only one, completely isolated in my sense of failure and my grief.
There’s a sense that you shouldn’t say anything until you reach that 12 week scan but, if anything does go wrong, surely you want those closest to you to know.
When I miscarried I hadn’t told my family I was pregnant. I wanted them to know what I was going through but didn’t want to have that conversation. I literally sent a message to tell them I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage and it makes me feel so sad that I felt I couldn’t really talk to them. It’s like you need people there but you also need the space to work through your feelings without having their feelings on top of that.
Social media can be both good and bad.
I remember feeling like, all of a sudden, every single person I knew was having a baby and I was the only one who couldn’t. I think if you have to unfriend people on Facebook for a short time because their pregnancy posts are upsetting, they will completely understand.
But it’s great that there are places online where you can talk and feel less alone. Seeking out people can make you feel that tiny bit better.
I remember a friend telling me that her doctor said it was just a bunch of cells, that you weren’t really pregnant until you were 12 weeks.
I know she was trying to be kind but the words really cut and I remember feeling surprised that someone I called a friend could be so heartless. People say things and don’t necessarily mean them, it’s hard to know what to say to someone who has lost a child. Her words didn’t help with my grief but I think it’s up to us, the women who have been through miscarriage, to walk away, to let those comments go or they can fester and make us feel worse.
I had been pregnant, miscarriage was a horrible thing to go through and you have to allow yourself to grieve in your own way, not compare it to others. You can feel sad, you can feel angry because you’re entitled and allowing myself to really feel those emotions helped.
I remember another friend telling me she was pregnant and thinking, ‘Why isn’t it me?’ then feeling terrible, but I know what I went through and I wouldn’t ever want a friend to feel they couldn’t enjoy their own pregnancy because of how I’m feeling.
When it happened part of me just wanted to get pregnant again but my body was in lock-down mode.
I really needed time to process what had happened and if I’d fallen pregnant straight away I know it wouldn’t have been healthy.
When I did find out I was pregnant for the second time I was happy but, in a way, it was tainted because I couldn’t shake that dreaded feeling, just getting through every day felt like a relief.
Tom was more protective over me than ever before and rather than having a negative effect on us, going through miscarriage brought us closer together. Still, it was years later that we actually sat down and talked about it, time is what we needed.
As someone so beautifully said, when you say you had a miscarriage the conversation ends.
Until you go through it you can’t know what miscarriage feels like, how much it hurts to have all your dreams taken away.
We have to learn to have that conversation so we can break that taboo. The more we talk, the more people will know how to talk about it.
Having said that you can’t force a conversation. Sometimes there is nothing you can say, sometimes you don’t need to say anything.
You have to give yourself time and allow for your feelings and emotions as you learn to cope with your loss.