I'm feeling brave for sharing this but why do we say that? Why is this subject taboo or even a secret sometimes? This week is baby loss awareness week and there is a campaign to break the silence around this subject. This month is particularly tough for me.
Sadly we miscarried last year, what this means is that we should have been getting ready to celebrate our babies first birthday this month.
At a routine 12 week scan we discovered we had had a missed miscarriage, in a flicker our baby and pregnancy had been quickly snatched away from us.
The picture we had built up of what our little family would be like was ripped up in a moment, the hopes, dreams and excitement we had were gone.
There would now be no baby in the house for Christmas, no holiday with us being pregnant, no big announcement that 3 were becoming 4. All the investment in the year ahead was shattered in just one moment.
Thank goodness we hadn't told R she was going to be a big sister as managing just our grief was enough. Coming home from the hospital with a baby bump but no baby that we were ever going to meet was so so hard.
These were the things I didn't know about, I'd heard of miscarriages and of course had always been sympathetic but no one could ever prepare you for living through your own. I didn't know that women could be sent home to see if "nature took its course". This is what the hospital had me do.
In a way this was good because the thought of a "procedure" under general anaesthetic petrified me. Nature didn't take its course at first so it was a long week still being technically pregnant.
After another trip back to the hospital and because a routine internal scan had not being offered the week before, this meant I was sent away again to see if "nature took its course".
Well that night nature did take its course and the pain was horrific, again no one can prepare you for this. Full on contractions which I just wasn't expecting and the passing of the placenta left me shaking, howling and sobbing on the toilet with it feeling all too familiar to childbirth but with no baby to cuddle at the end.
Dark days followed where I didn't want to get out of bed, I didn't want to eat and I just wanted to use the time whilst R was at school to cry so I could then put on a brave face for when my gorgeous girl returned home.
I didn't want R to worry because that's what our kind caring little girl does, she was asking why Mummy was sad? Would Mummy smile again? Why did Mummy's tummy hurt?
At that time it was my gorgeous girl that kept me going in that moment where the grief was so all encompassing that I didnt want to keep on going.
The support from my husband who was massively grieving too and the outpouring of love and support from family and friends was my saviour at this time.
Thankfully my family and friends know me well enough to know that I didn't want to hear that we already had R so that was ok, that it obviously wasn't meant to be or that we could try again. I knew all of this already but I wanted THAT baby so they just listened and let me grieve, they said what had happened was crappy and that was the perfect response I needed because it was crappy.
Aside from the support of family and friends, another way I sought comfort was from listening to stories from other women and men who had been through what I was going through too. People I knew, people I didn't but what struck me was that most women had a story to share involving loss and fertility, even some close friends shared experiences that I had had no idea about.
This sharing of experiences was very healing for me in what they describe as silent grief. At that point I wasn't ready to share my story to everybody. However one day I knew I would be able to as a kind of tribute to our baby that never was.
Eventually I was physically and mentally well enough to return to work and we were very very lucky to fall pregnant quite quickly again.
Did this make everything OK? No. Did this make us forget? No. Did I feel guilty for moving on from one pregnancy to another? Yes. Had the miscarriage taken a little bit of the innocence and sparkle away from this pregnancy? Yes. Did I cry all day on our supposed due date even though I was pregnant again? Yes.
After what seemed like a long and anxious pregnancy our beautiful rainbow baby M arrived safely in the world and do we love her with all our heart? Yes. In fact I look at M and can't help but think if we hadn't of miscarried then we wouldn't now have her. Does that also make me feel in a way guilty and dismissive to the baby that never was? Yes.
So many mixed emotions even 18 months on.
Have we now forgotten about our loss? No. I don't think we ever will. There are still moments in my busy life where I am almost caught unaware and I burst into tears and grieve for the baby that we never got to meet, who would they have been? What would they have become?
I know that these moments will get less and less, they already have but I also know that every year there will always be an extra thought and maybe a tear or two on the anniversary of the day we found out our pregnancy hadn't progressed as it should have and on our supposed due date. Which in another cruel twist of fate was the same day as my birthday.
Thank you for listening it was very cathartic sharing my story and breaking the silence. Maybe my story will help others as other people's stories helped me.
In the height of my grief it helped to have others put words to what I was thinking and feeling and hidden amongst those words were the promise of healing and moving on, not forgetting because you don't forget and I wouldn't want to forget but the promise of healing.
I am now healing.
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