I’m writing this 4 years on from a miscarriage. When my memories are there but the pain, the grief – it stings less. Maybe it’s because ‘time is a healer’. Maybe it’s because I now know that that wasn’t the end of my story. That I would go on to have two more children. So I’m aware that as I write this you may be in a different place to me – deep in the grief, or perhaps it’s been a while following one, two, three miscarriages /a still birth/ failed IVF treatments and so on , and you’re still not closer to holding the child that you long for. So I write with understanding that I cannot begin to comprehend your journey, as I have gone on to have the happy ending.
It took 4 months post miscarriage for me to conceive again. Not a long time in the grand scheme of things, I’m aware. But those 4 months felt like a decade.
I felt alone. Like no one else knew what I was going through. I was the first of my friends to experience a miscarriage. I felt like no one else knew that heartache or the physical pain.
What I know now – losing a baby is sadly exceptionally common. I now know more people who’ve had a miscarriage than who haven’t. That doesn’t make it easier or less sad, but it does make me feel a lot less alone and realise that conception is, in fact, a miracle. That every baby born is to be treasured and certainly not taken for granted.
I didn’t want to be around anyone else that was pregnant. Strangely being around children was fine but seeing pregnant women – it made me want to hide in a corner and sob. Because seeing them reminded me of where I was meant to be at that moment. If I hadn’t conceived again so quickly, I’m sure the wedge of bitterness I placed between me and my pregnant friends (or friends with kids) would probably have remained.
What I know now – that if you’re still waiting for your miracle, it’s totally understandable that you don’t want to be around your pregnant friends or your friends with kids. That it is almost impossible to squeeze a smile when someone announces their good news and that you sob when you see another facebook status of a scan picture. Not that you’re not happy for them, just that you’re sad for you. I know that parents complaining about lack of sleep is laughable when you long for the reason they get no sleep. I get that you feel bitter and angry and that it is not fair.
I also know that when you’re on the other side of the fence, when you’re the pregnant one, and your friend is waiting, you feel just as sad, just as awkward and almost apologetic that your wish came true. That on both sides it is hard as your lives start moving in different directions. It’s hard not to talk about kids when you have them, and hard to hear about when you don’t. But friends with children aren’t out to make you feel worse. It’s just one of those things.
I know to have grace and sensitivity towards how you feel and might be reacting and to give you space.
I know not to ask a couple who have been married a while if they are thinking of having kids because I don’t the journey they might be on.
I know what grief feels like. I didn’t before – I had not experienced a close death that I could remember. And that’s exactly what it feels like. Grief. That dark, deep, sad place. Even though I didn’t really know my baby, I knew of her. I knew she existed and I had imagined who she would be. I grieved that – the loss of something that could have been. And I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed for months. It took me by surprise that I would feel such grief and such emptiness after the doctors had operated to remove her. That she was no longer growing with me.
What I know now – that it does not feel as raw in time. That you don’t cry yourself to sleep every night forever. That having an experience of grief can unite you and your partner like nothing else if you cling to each other to get through. That the shock, anger and depression you might feel is normal and it’s ok to feel like that even if not everyone understands why you do.
I know that trying for a baby after a loss is a desperate and long waiting game. That your thoughts are consumed with what day of the month it is, and that it’s agony month after month when you’re no closer to seeing those two little lines appear.
I know that if you do fall pregnant again that it is hard to enjoy. That you are filled with fear and worry and you will not rest until you hold that baby in your arms.
That giving the baby we lost a name helped- it might not everyone but it did for me. We called her Hope. And when I think of her running free in heaven (I have always imagine her as a little blonde girl aged around 3) I feel sad that I have to wait to meet her and hold her. But I have realised that if something wasn’t quite right then maybe she will be at her happiest there. We have memories of her around our home, my husband has a tattoo of her name to remind us of all that Hope stands for, and we will talk about her to our other children. But we have been able to let go.
It’s baby loss awareness week this week. To all those that have a baby waiting for them in heaven – may you find peace, comfort and healing. 💕