We will never forget those we have lost

Neither of us had ever contemplated miscarriage - it simply wasn’t in our thoughts. Yes we’d of course heard of it, but we never for one moment thought it would happen to us.

Matt Verrell and his family

Matt and his wife sadly suffered the heartbreak of recurrent miscarriages before finally having a baby boy. When Matt came across Tommy's he knew he had to help by sharing their story and by donating to Tommy's from the profit of his book that he published a couple of months ago. This is the story of their journey. 

By Matt

I’d always imagined being a father. Even when I was a child I’d think of the fun I would have one day with my own family.

I remember so clearly the first time my wife fell pregnant after a year of trying - the rush of emotions ranging from excitement at the prospect of being a father, to the anxiety of ‘are we really ready for this?’ and ‘will I be a good dad?’. It’s an amazing feeling to think you have created a life.

A couple of weeks after the positive pregnancy test my wife started to experience a light bleed. Following some research, we thought at first this was a normal part of early pregnancy. It became clear over the coming hours and days that this was not normal. One doctor appointment later confirmed that we had miscarried at 6 weeks.

Neither of us had ever contemplated miscarriage - it simply wasn’t in our thoughts. Yes we’d of course heard of it, but we never for one moment thought it would happen to us.

The initial feeling I recall is one of disbelief. How can this have happened? Why did it happen to us, when we would raise a child in the most loving of homes? When we researched it further we were surprised by the high incidence of miscarriage. It seemed like this happened a lot - yet why was it not spoken about more? Why are we afraid to talk about it? 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth yet it is such a taboo subject. 

Some months later, another positive pregnancy test came about. This time, unlike the first, there was a sense of caution. We didn’t want to celebrate too early or get our hopes up. We would take it one day at a time and see how things went. At around 8 weeks the bleeding started again. Immediately jumping to conclusions we naturally thought this was it - another miscarriage. We booked an appointment at our local early pregnancy unit. The scan revealed a foetal heartbeat. We were overjoyed - could this now finally be happening? The following days after the scan the bleeding continued and we knew something wasn’t right. Another scan showed no foetal heartbeat - another miscarriage was imminent.

It’s hard to describe the sense of shock and upset that this caused. You wonder if you’ll ever get the chance to have that family you so easily envisaged would be so. Why was it that having a baby was so hard, when it seemed that everyone else was having one?

Only of course not everyone else is having one - when you see a mother pushing a pram containing a new-born, you don’t know of any struggles experienced prior to the arrival of this wonderful child - we all make assumptions, however, often those assumptions are just that and incorrect.

We felt very isolated at this time. If people were more open to talking about it, that would help remind those going through miscarriage, or any bereavement, that they are not alone. You need to give yourself time and permission to mourn a loss, the loss of a child you’ll never get to see grow up. Both my wife and I are very lucky that we are surrounded by an incredibly supportive family, and we’re so grateful to them who have been with us every step of the way.

In total my wife and I lost five babies. Three single pregnancies and one set of twins. I felt anger - why had this happened? Why us? I arranged to spend time with a counsellor who really helped me to vent my pent-up emotion. Like many men, I kept my feelings bottled up inside. This only led to the emotions compounding and not being dealt with. By talking through what had happened with someone disconnected from my life and situation, I was able to move forward.

I remember telling some work colleagues what had happened, their questions revolved around how my wife was taking it. Not once did someone ask how I was taking it. We mustn’t forget that such loss affects all parties involved - often men are overlooked at not having feelings or not being affected, but this greatly affected me.

I felt I had to be strong for my wife - this in part was why I didn’t discuss how I felt, which only made things worse. Once I realised, I needed to confront my emotions, both my wife and I could move forward with our lives in a positive and constructive way.

We have discovered that, for us, being open about our experience with friends and work colleagues has been very liberating and, in addition, has also helped others and their families to talk about their journeys in the world of miscarriage and infertility.

We were fortunate to be recommended a specialist natural fertility clinic focussing on a holistic approach to conception and pregnancy. Skipping forward to the present from a journey that has taken 5 years, our lives have become richer for the experiences we have had. My wife and I were delighted to welcome into the world last month a healthy baby boy, who amazes us every day. We will never forget those that we have lost, however, we move forward with a new sense of perspective we feel fortunate to have.

I found out about Tommy’s after our miscarriages. I immediately saw how important such a charity was in assisting those going through their pregnancy journeys and supporting those who have suffered loss. Not only this, but they also fund pioneering research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, striving to find the answers to prevent parents from going through baby loss.

I knew I had to help. A couple of months ago I published my first book. As a life coach, I’m passionate about people living their best lives and achieving what they want to achieve. I am delighted to be supporting Tommy’s by donating 10% of my sales revenue to this fantastic charity. Please click here for the sales page where you can order a copy of the book, either in electronic or paperback format.

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