#misCOURAGE story, 07/04/2017, by Francesca
My name is Francesca and I would like to share my story with you.
Seven and a half years ago, I met a wonderful man and fell in love. Fast forward through all the mushy nonsense that make a relationship and we find ourselves on holiday six years later, returning home as fiancé and fiancée. Hurrah for this exciting life development!
Six months later on my twenty-eighth birthday - April 1st 2016, we got married and I graduated from the 'Miss' menagerie to the 'Mrs' brigade. We had a glorious wedding filled with lots of love, laughter and happiness. As a wedding gift, I composed a piece of music called Love, which I then played at the piano. Let's be honest- as a musician, whenever the opportunity arises to play a grand piano, are you likely to pass it up? The answer is resolutely no (in case you were unsure!).
After the wedding a honeymoon then followed. Lovely. We had a wonderful time, basking in our newly-weddedness, thoroughly happy and content.
And then I came off the pill. That was the end of an era, which began when I was at university. No more microgynon for me, but thank you for doing the job so well for all those years!
If I'm honest, I thought that I would fall pregnant immediately - within days of being off the pill. I thought that there’d be a pile up of eggs, waiting to dance the fertilisation tango. But that didn't happen. So I learnt to listen to my body. Within three months of being off the pill, my body was like clockwork and I knew what was normal for me with each cycle.
In early-mid October I started to get an inkling that my body was doing something out of the usual. What was with the sore boobs? And the bloating? And the overwhelming exhaustion? How odd. So I waited until my period was due and the day came and went. Ohmygoodness, ohmygoodnessme, this is actually happening! Breathe Fran, breathe. This is it.
October the 21st. That was the day that I found out I had been pregnant, because that was the day that I had a miscarriage and I saw what would have one day been a someone.
It was an early miscarriage- almost six weeks, but that didn't make it any easier. My mind questioned what could have been constantly. My heart felt heavy and any hope I had deserted me, albeit momentarily. I felt like there was an invisible wall around me and for the first time in my life I understood what people meant when they say that a crowded room is often the loneliest place to be.
Fortunately I have the support of a wonderful husband, family and friends. Nobody thought any less of me, but I did. Perhaps I was too hard on myself. But in my mind, I had failed; my body had let me down. I didn't know what I was supposed to feel or how I was supposed to feel. I still don't.
Anyway, I did the only thing I know how to do: write. I sat at my piano and I composed the most beautiful piece of music that I have ever written. I poured my heart into that music and called it Goodbye Before Hello. I didn't want this loss to have been in vain. I wanted to turn something sad into something good; something that will one day bring thousands of people comfort and most importantly, hope.
As the weeks passed, I realised that I am not alone. The more people I spoke to, the more people I learnt of whom had been affected by miscarriage. It was like opening the door to a whole other world where there were already thousands of residents, all bound by their same- often secret, experience.
On your website you say as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth.
I never knew that statistic was so high, until it happened to me and I became a statistic. Until that moment, I knew of just one woman who had had a miscarriage. Now I know of over twenty-five- and counting.
In the middle of December, I began to suspect that something was afoot in this body of mine once more. The flipping boobs were excruciating. Only this time, I told not a soul of my suspicions. I was going to wait and take a pregnancy test and then share the news as and when. Only I never had the opportunity to do this.
On December 20th, I had another miscarriage. My second early miscarriage. Just after I'd managed to patch my heart back up, it came lose at the seams. But this time, I told only my husband and for the second time, he had to see what would have been. In time we also told our respective mothers, but that was all.
With Christmas just days away, I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge- I simply couldn't have given a damn. I just wanted to be alone with my book and disappear into the world of Harry Potter. But I couldn't do that, because I had work to continue with. And we had a meal for 10 to cook on Christmas Day.
Instead, I did what I have become very good at doing over the years: I smiled and was the happy, jolly person that people expected to see. All the while I felt simply broken inside. Nobody was any the wiser.
A couple of days later, I had an epiphany. But again, I kept this to myself until after the New Year. And then I proposed my idea to my husband. And then my best friends, my Mum, a couple of my clients..
I have been playing the piano for over twenty years now and composing for over ten years. I have been sending my work off since I graduated from university, in the hope that one day it will be recognised. Ninety rejections or so later I am still trying. It's that pesky eternal optimist in me. Sometimes life would truly be easier if I were a pessimist! But sadly I am not.
Music is the one thing I know that I am good at. When I sit at the piano, I am connected to it by an invisible force (sorry! It sounds very Star Wars, but there's no other way I can think to describe it). And when I compose, I often surprise myself. How can I write such beautiful music, when I am the same clumsy person who- just minutes before, walked into a door?
My husband said to me that my best compositions are when the stakes are highest. He is absolutely right.
For years I have questioned why I have the ability that I do. It makes no sense to me. But now I think I understand my purpose. I feel compelled to share my music with you, because Goodbye Before Hello is written to do good.
And though it may be my music, it belongs to every mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, auntie, niece, best friend, confidante... it belongs to each and every person who has ever been affected by miscarriage. This music is for them; it is their story.
So please, take a moment to listen and watch my composition. If it's easier, close your eyes to enjoy the music and for four and a half minutes, simply be. The world won't stop turning if you just be, because honestly - we don't take enough moments to simply be, do we?
Perhaps one day, we’ll be able to use this music to help raise vital funds for Tommy’s and raise awareness of miscarriage etc. Yes, that would be nice. I would like that very much.
Sometimes I ask myself what is the point in being good at something if you cannot use your talent? Well now I know. All the rejections I have experienced; all the hard work; my lost someones... they have led me to this moment. That's what it's all for. They have led me to this idea to do good, and they have led me to you. Because this matters a great deal to my husband and me.
Music so often does what words cannot. It offers a voice when yours has momentarily deserted you. It brings joy, sorrow, love and hope. It allows you to cry if you let it. It brings the comfort of a thousand words in a matter of seconds.
I hope that Goodbye Before Hello will give courage to all those women who have never told a soul of their loss and I hope that it brings strength to anyone who has- or will be, affected by this. But above all, I hope that it reminds people that they are not alone.
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