Tommy's guest blog, 27/10/2016, by Laura Costello
Following the loss of your baby, there is sometimes little that anyone can say to make you feel better about the pain you have experienced.
Many men and women talk about finding other people’s reactions and responses to their miscarriage insensitive or hurtful.
87% of the women we asked felt no one understood how they actually felt.
Blogger Laura Costello told us how many people used the phrase “time is a healer” when trying to console her and her partner Amy after the loss of their first baby.
“‘Time heals all wounds.’” People love to say that! People love to say it instead of ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘that sucks.’ They just jump in with the fact that one day you will feel better. One day you will forget. One day you will heal. In the case of miscarriage, I’m not sure time is the healer.”
For many parents, statements about when they will feel better is not comforting. Offering these words of wisdom is sometimes less helpful than recognising their pain and offering a friendly ear or a shoulder to cry on.
In a recent Tommy’s video responding to a miscarriage storyline in EastEnders, Al Fergusson from The Dad Network pointed out, “It doesn’t need encouragement, it needs acknowledgement.”
For Laura and Amy, they had been trying to have a baby for two years and four months before Laura fell pregnant through a sperm donor.
“Two beautiful blue lines. I was pregnant. I called Amy and we squeaked for a while.”
At just over seven weeks, they were given the devastating news that their baby had stopped growing at around five to six weeks.
Over the next two years Laura blogged intermittently about their experience of grief, memories of their baby and reflected on loss after certain periods of time had passed.
Her blog posts show the way that for some parents their memories do not necessarily become less painful over time or get eclipsed by later happier ones.
For some parents time cannot completely heal the hole that losing their baby leaves.
“My loss was a relatively early one at just before eight weeks, but I still think of that baby. Who they would have been. How old they would have been (about 18 months now). What they would have been doing. I look at friends with kids around the same age and I wonder who that little blob on the screen would have been.”
Miscarriage can be devastating and it’s important to allow yourself time to process all of the emotions you may be experiencing as well recovering physically.
Six days after her miscarriage Laura blogged about how she was feeling,
“I don’t feel like my emotions are moving forward or backwards really, just staying the same. There are times when I forget and then it hits me like a tonne of bricks.”
This experience of forgetting and then remembering is one that many women talk about experiencing after loss.
It is important that you do not feel bad or guilty for forgetting and equally that you don’t feel like you should forget and move on.
Nobody can tell you how you should or shouldn’t be feeling after a miscarriage and that is true whether it is six days or six years on.
For Laura, she and Amy felt like parents the instant they got their positive pregnancy test.
“That was the moment everything changed. After two years and four months we had created our first child. The child we had dreamed about and already had a few little things for, the child we had longed for and already had names picked out for. This was it. I felt fiercely protective over this teeny tiny human, and I know Amy felt much the same.”
This made coping with the loss of this much wanted baby a long and painful process as Laura’s blog from a year on from this miscarriage highlights,
“It’s been a year today since we went through what no couple ever wants to go through – miscarriage. A year since the child that we loved so much was taken from us. A year since I realised that even losing ‘just a ball of cells’ was heart wrenching and something that we would never fully recover from.”
For Laura and Amy the birth of their rainbow baby Eden helped them cope with their previous loss and gave them an exciting new focus.
“No longer did I worry that I would never hold a baby. No longer did I fear childlessness. I'm so grateful for her and for being able to experience parenting. Eden is our rainbow after the storm, but it doesn't mean the storm never happened. But the ghost of her would-be big brother or sister won't ever leave. That wound won't heal, no matter how much time goes by.”
We are so pleased for Amy and Laura that they got their beautiful rainbow baby, Eden.
It is important to remember, however, that going on to have children does not mean that earlier losses no longer hurt. For some people time may be a healer, for others it may not.
As Laura herself wrote on the week marking 2 years since the loss of their first baby,
“A rainbow baby is a baby born after a loss, because rainbows show up after a storm. They don’t mean that the storm never happened and they don’t lessen the effects of that storm, but they do remind you that everything can be ok again.”
Be sensitive to the fact that each person responds to loss differently and phrases such as “time is a healer” are not always comforting or appropriate.
If you have been hurt by someone’s thoughtless or insensitive comments then see our pages on coping with other people’s reactions.
If you have a close friend or family member who has experienced this lost and are concerned about what to say and how best to support them see our advice pages on supporting someone who has had a miscarriage.
If you had suffered similar loss to Laura, we hope you are receiving comforting love and support from friends and family members around you. If you ever need to talk to someone, our midwives are on hand from Monday to Friday at our free PregnancyLine 0800 0147 800.
If you want to read any of Laura's original accounts of her experiences you can do so at her blog, Mama, Eden & Me.
Knowing what and what not to say to people after the loss of a baby can be difficult. We have come up with a list to help you better comfort a bereaved loved one.
If you or someone close to you have experienced miscarriage, it's natural to have lots of questions. We have them covered.
Miscarriage is more common than you may realise. The majority of miscarriages happen before others are aware of the pregnancy.
Fast forward a few months of heartache and a roller coaster of emotions, I finally tell myself I'm ready to try again.
The next day they confirmed there was no heart beat and I had to deliver him.
I put him in my arms, I couldn't believe he went.
A mother with no child.