This year in July my husband and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage. When we got married, we both knew children were part of the not-too-distant plan, but life took us a different way.
As of today we have been trying to for a baby, off and on, for 6 1/2 years yet still it is just the two of us as we have experienced the heartache of recurrent miscarriage. The first was deemed a "chemical pregnancy" that happened early on in our marriage and to be honest, I didn't really realise what that even was, let alone register it emotionally but I have also had two more which happened at 11 and 10 weeks. The first on our 5 year anniversary weekend away. The second the week my first nephew was born a few years later. I am staggered still, to this day how little people understand about miscarriage, I am sure biologically people know what happens but it seems no one really understands the emotional side, not unless they have been there.
When I miscarried I was in agony, both physical and emotional. Tears were streaming and my heart was in tatters and, call me ungrateful, but I didn’t want to hear that it’d get better soon. People said things like, ” Don’t worry, it’ll happen for you one day ” and, “You’ll be able to get pregnant again, just you see.”
But I didn’t want to be pregnant again with another baby, I wanted and was excited about the one who was now gone.
I didn’t want to envision holding a different infant in my arms, I had fallen in love with the one that had just died. The baby that had caused my morning sickness the weeks before. The baby who had made me to stop drinking my beloved tea, the baby I had spent (too much) money on pregnancy vitamins for, the baby that made my jeans a bit tighter for my friend's birthday party so I had to wear a dress and I worried (but secretly loved the fact) I might be showing already. That baby. No one engaged with the loss of their life that my husband and I had lived with for the last ten weeks and had put all our hope into. “Well at least you know you can conceive”. Well, yippee.
Don’t get me wrong. I have had a very blessed life, my childhood was idyllic. I have an incredible family, I was a fun and crazy teenager and I’ve since met my soul mate and settled down and got a good job and a cat and a nice home. Tick, tick, tick. But miscarriage completely knocked the wind out of us – and some - . For months.
You just don’t expect it to happen to you. You get sore boobs and see those two pink lines and your life changes in that instance forever. You start thinking of nursery themes, names and working out when maternity leave will start. Yet years on from those first pink lines, my life, from the outside at least, looks no different. The loss of our babies rocked our marriage, it changed our personalities, it caused us emotional and spiritual turmoil and we’ll never be the same. It wasn’t just a blip to get over, which is sometimes how it feels people think. Especially when it happens all over again.
No one really knew what to say or how to react; I guess you don’t unless you’ve been through it yourself before.
Which is why this Tommy’s campaign is so important. I am so glad that my experience of miscarriage was the first I’d ever known about because to be honest, I think I would have been the same had I been consoling a friend or loved one without the insight I have now. But now…I know. I get it. I realise that it’s not just a glitch. It’s monumental and it’s not ncessarily about pregnancy and the holy grail of parenthood, it’s about going thorugh a huge bereavement process.
I think because we don’t know their names, or the colour of their hair or their sex even, that people think it’s not that big a thing. How can you love someone you don’t even know is male or female? Well I know you can because I do. Still. The word heartbreaking doesn’t seem to cut it. Not enough.
My wish is for people to understand the trauma, pain and devastation of miscarriage so that they can offer the best support they can to those they know have lost a baby. But I also want people who have been through it themselves not to feel embarrassed or ashamed or like they need to keep it hidden. It can’t stay a taboo.
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