Never feel ashamed to talk about miscarriage

This experience has opened my eyes and I want to be part of that change. I don’t want to stand on the side lines. I and other women should never feel ashamed to talk about pregnancy loss.

On Sunday 14th April 2019 Ladan is taking part in the Brighton Marathon. This is her story and reason for running.  

By Ladan

Early pregnancy loss - these words carry pain and a burden that shadows the lives of women who are made to feel isolated and seen as ungrateful. This might seem harsh but let me explain before you give me a list of reasons as to the inaccuracy of my statement.

I was over the moon looking down at the positive result. The questions started flooding my mind as to what the right time is to tell people and how do I start preparing for a wonderful lifetime commitment. I wasn’t prepared for the lonely impact this would have on my life and the outlook for the future. As the weeks passed I started to develop abdominal pain and that combined with unhelpful remarks from those around me was starting to create a dark hole.

At first, I didn’t tell anyone what I was facing except for the GP. I couldn’t understand what was happening and the last thing I needed was to be told that everything will be fine or be bombard with questions. There was enough happening around me, so I had to put a brave smile on my face. Eventually I did begin to tell people and the first few remarks I got were ‘don’t get attached its early days’, ‘how come you don’t get morning sickness?’ as if my pregnancy didn’t fit the criteria. The remarks and questions just kept coming and here I was trying to deal with the physical and mental burden on my own.

I woke up one night with severe abdominal pain but the last thing I wanted was to be in A&E. I called the non-emergency number and had the most unpleasant conversation with a doctor who explained that the possibility of a miscarriage was likely at this stage. His advice was I should be happy because this indicated I could get pregnant and increased my chances of having a successful pregnancy next time. I froze and couldn’t say a word to make this situation less painful, my brain was trying to register what was happening.

My interaction with the GP’s during my pregnancy was very disappointing that even the thought of speaking to a doctor made me frustrated. The advice I received from the GP was inadequate and unhelpful so much so that I started to lose all hope.

I was at work when I started having a miscarriage. To this day I don’t know how I managed to stay calm to tell my manager that I needed to leave. I was 8 weeks pregnant when I had the miscarriage, however this did not mean that because it was early that it gave the right for others to class it as insignificant or that I should not be able to acknowledge it. This was the most traumatic experience I have ever been through and this being my first pregnancy I had no idea how to handle my grief. At the time I was lucky to have family and friends who were patient and allowed me to discuss what happened and how this impacted my life.

There are women and men who don’t have the support they need. After doing research online and finding a support group I managed to slowly start my healing process. In 2017 I ran 4 half marathons, 3 10K races and went to Everest Base Camp each representing a week I was pregnant. It has not been an easy road but being active has given me the strength I need to continue. Running has given me the space to breath and improve my confidence. I stopped believing that it was my fault or that my body had failed me.

I decided to run the Brighton Marathon in 2018 however I was unable to run the race due to a knee injury, but I am back to try again at the Brighton Marathon in 2019. I am doing this for Tommy’s as they provide an open and safe space for women where you can find out about their leading research, and they provide a platform for supporters and people who have suffered loss to come together, share their stories and inspire change - #togetherforchange. I cannot wait to cross the finish line! This is more than just a personal victory, it is another step forward in raising awareness.

During my healing process I found the Tommy’s website invaluable and it’s a shame that the GP did not make me aware of the support available. The advice, support and care Tommy’s provide should be standard across the NHS and the UK and I know that they are working hard to share their knowledge and break the taboo around baby loss. This experience has opened my eyes and I want to be part of that change. I don’t want to stand on the side lines. I and other women should never feel ashamed to talk about pregnancy loss.

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