Life is a roller coaster of emotions, many events lead to moments where you feel out of our control. Last year we felt that more than even and I want to share my story with you, hoping that it may help someone else going through a similar situation.
This is the story of my miscarriage and how much of a taboo it still is.
My dream ever since I was young was to start a family, so at the beginning of 2019, when we saw the two lines on a pregnancy test, we were beside ourselves with excitement. I knew there was a possibility of miscarrying in the first trimester but as every week goes by the chances get lower and you begin to start falling in love with the tiny baby growing inside of you. At 10 and a half weeks I miscarried our baby and that was the hardest day of my life. I had to go to A&E making everything more scary and very real.
I had never suffered loss before, so I didn’t know what grief felt like. Losing an unborn baby is absolutely devastating, your whole world feels like it has been turned upside down. I cried for days on end and just felt numb to the world. There were so many emotions running through my head; loss, overwhelming sadness, devastation, guilt, loneliness, emptiness, feeling numb, and complete shock.
One of the hardest parts was thinking about the plans we had in the future for our baby, last Christmas would have been their first and that still breaks my heart. When you lose an unborn baby you don’t just lose them you also lose all your plans and hope for them in the future. It feels like their whole life has just disappeared and you have been left behind. In our eyes, this precious little unborn baby is and will always be our first child.
I really struggled with the fact that we had nothing physical to remember our baby by. We had the pregnancy test but we never made it to our first scan, but we had a date for it which made it more difficult in some ways. We had also just moved into our first home, had plans for their nursery – gone. One thing we always have is our memories of finding out I was pregnant and telling my husband.
How we have remember our baby
One of the first things we did after the miscarriage is we went to the garden centre and bought a beautiful tree, which was blossoming at the time. We wanted something in the garden we could look at and remember our baby by. We have also made a memory box, with letters we have written and some petals from their tree. I think it’s important to have something you can look at when you need some time to reflect.
Trying to find a new ‘normal’
Our lives have been changed forever and we are trying to find our new normal. The first couple of weeks were a huge struggle, physically and emotionally. One of the things I really struggled with was being surrounded by family and friends but feeling so alone. When I was at work I would put on a smile and act as if everything was ok but underneath I felt completely broken. It was a lot easier to act as if everything was ok than to explain to someone what had happened and re-live those emotions. I ended up taking it one day at a time and not thinking about tomorrow.
I have had days where I get excited about the future and could start to think about trying again and then it felt like reality came crashing down again. One thing I have learnt is you are going to have times where you feel you have taken a step backwards, with your emotions and feelings, but you haven’t. There are so many things that can trigger our emotions like having a friend announce they’re pregnant or seeing a baby. You may also find anniversaries really hard too, at the beginning you might be counting the weeks and then that could turn into months.
How to support someone who has had a miscarriage
I still feel like having a miscarriage is such a taboo, no one knows what to say or just won’t say anything at all. From personal experience, it’s ok if you don’t know what to say, just explain that if they ever want to talk you are always there to listen, that will mean so much to them. I found that sometimes it was good to talk to friends about how I was feeling, it also meant there was someone else who understands a bit more of what you are going through and can give you support. Sometimes you don’t want to talk you just need a hug or a shoulder to cry on!
There are some phrases that people seem to think are ok to say to someone who has lost a baby but they’re not.
- “Just think someone is in a worse situation than you are”
- “You’re young just try again, you’ve got time”
- “You never met your baby how can you love it”
Everyone will grieve in their own way and deal with their emotions and thoughts differently. You need to talk to someone though, whether it’s your partner, parents, friend or a professional. Keeping everything bottled up only makes it harder, trust me I have done this at points. Don’t be afraid to cry, I found it helped release some emotions and helped me grieve too.
There is light at the end of the tunnel
About 2 months after we miscarried I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I decided to change my mindset on how I was looking at the whole situation. In the beginning, I was in complete denial that we had lost our baby and all I wanted was for them to return. I think I finally started to accept everything when I looked at the positives rather than the negatives. Losing a child never has any positives as such, but think how blessed you were to even conceive that child, to carry them for however many weeks. Our tiny baby had changed our lives forever, we had loved them like they were already born and they have shown us how much we want a baby (even though we didn’t know if we were ready). I found concentrating on these thoughts allowed me to remember the happiness I felt when we found out we were pregnant, and this brought me to hope for the future.
Even after accepting the loss of a baby you still have your moments where you feel sheer sadness and I expect that will happen for the rest of your life. One thing my husband use to say to me is ‘our baby would want you to carry on with your life’. I had only known grief as devastation and depression, so turning my thoughts into more positive ones seemed wrong, but now I can see it was the only way I could move forward.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, everyone does it differently and at different rates. I wanted to share my story as I think it’s so important that people start talking about miscarriages. It can be just as hard as losing any other family member. I felt like a complete failure after our miscarriage, blaming myself for it, but it’s natures way of saying this baby wouldn’t have made it. Talking made me realise that!
If you need any advice or information on miscarriage then take a look at Miscarriage Association. They are a charity who are there to support you and your partner through every step of miscarriage. They have lots of leaflets, a forum and most importantly a helpline, run by professional advisors who can help you understand how you are feeling and what to do next.