It’s taken me a while to write about much of anything lately, so you might have noticed that my blog has been a bit quiet.
I have a good excuse though. My beautiful baby boy is 12 weeks old.
The long and winding road
It wasn’t an easy journey to get here though.
I didn’t expect to write about this subject again, but here I am as my baby naps next to me.
To add some context, I had a ‘textbook’ pregnancy with my daughter in 2014. Despite the usual pregnancy anxieties, she arrived safely in October 2014 and has been turning my work upside down ever since.
What then ensued was 2 and a half years of heartache and anxiety.
I fell pregnant twice. We discussed baby names and dates. I had morning sickness and two awful first trimesters.
Coping with miscarriage
Leaving the scanning room, my world fell apart. Twice.
Each time, all of our hopes and dreams were smashed to pieces, leaving me in some kind of limbo until I could have the follow up medication to begin the process of passing the foetus.
For the sake of my daughter though, my life had to go on, but in moments I had to myself, it felt hopeless.
My heart just felt as though we were destined to have two children, but I couldn’t see how were ever going to have another child naturally. It was out of my hands and there was nothing I could do about it.
So many questions consumed me.
Why had it happened? Was there something wrong? Would it happen again? Could we go through this again (and again potentially)?
My head was wrecked.
Hardly surprising given my age and stage in life, but each of my losses came at times when friends were sharing happy baby news.
My heart was happy for them, truly it was. My head? Well, that was just going through the motions.
I sent cards and gifts, but I didn’t feel as though I could let myself get too involved.
It wasn’t easy to admit, but I was jealous. Every time I thought of their pregnancies or new babies (often siblings to other children), it reminded me that we were no closer to our dreams coming true.
The conversations were awkward; we were experiencing polar opposites. I dealt with it by asking token questions, but kind of ignoring it, despite the guilt that brought.
Was this normal?
I figured that what I was feeling was a pretty normal reaction.
In fact a recent poll by Tommy’s found that women who have suffered miscarriage stillbirth and/or neonatal loss said they experienced the same kind of emotions:
- 70% said they felt guilty
- 77% felt angry
- 80% felt jealous towards pregnant friends
The way you might feel after a miscarriage is so personal. Despair, guilt and jealousy can all manifest in different ways for each of us, and there is certainly no ‘right way’ to deal with it.
Some people may shut it out like I did, only really talking to those closest to them. Others may let it all out.
One thing that’s for sure, they are not alone.
In the UK, 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth.
As soon as I mentioned either loss to people, I quickly realised that there weren’t many who hadn’t also experienced something similar.
No one should have to go through it without support.
That’s why I am supporting the latest campaign from Tommy’s.
Tommy’s wants to shine a light on baby loss and show the impact that it has.
The charity wants to offer support to people suffering a miscarriage or baby loss. They want to bring all those who have suffered loss together online to connect through sharing their experiences, believing that this can help.
That’s why as part of this campaign, Tommy’s has enlisted the help of online parents and influencers to offer powerful, practical and helpful advice to help mums and dads currently going through loss. They have created a whole host of videos covering a range of topics that parents constantly seek answers for.
They have also launched a Tommy’s Facebook Group to allow supporters to ask questions and join a community of parents who have also been through loss, with midwives on hand to support, listen and answer.
My happy ending
Going back to the start of this post, my story ends happily, but it almost didn’t.
I had a big bleed at 5 weeks, and a follow up scan which looked as though it had all collapsed, again.
What followed was an endless two weeks in which I grieved for a third lost baby. I made plans; I’d given up on the idea of having two children. I came to terms with it and appreciated every second I got to spend with my daughter. After all, it reminded me how unbelievably lucky I was to have her.
On going for what I and everyone around me thought would be the medical management again, my little miracle baby defied all odds and was still there. His heart beating strongly.
Today I am celebrating my little T reaching his 12 week milestone, and couldn’t feel luckier. I am however more than aware that others won’t be feeling the same way today, and my heart goes out to them.
There are no cheesy clichés or wishes of ‘better luck next time’. I’m just so sorry that they are going through the pain and heartache.
I’ll never forget those dark days, and am eternally grateful to Tommy’s for the help and support they have given me.
You can support their ongoing work on the Tommy’s website.