October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (and all of October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month), and although we have just welcomed our gorgeous little girl into our lives I’ve also been thinking about our other baby, the one I miscarried almost one year ago.
The first time you are pregnant is amazingly joyful and filled with excitement. I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant in mid-November last year, after just a few months of trying to conceive. We were so excited and started dreaming about the future we would have with our little baby. Just 5 days later I started cramping and bleeding and we found out I had miscarried.
I found out I was pregnant again one month and two days later, a pregnancy which gave us Grace.
I was glad to fall pregnant again so quickly as it relieved the crippling (and really quite irrational) fear I had that we would never fall pregnant again. But it wasn’t all excitement and joy and dreams this time. It was fear of losing another baby, not knowing if I could handle going through that again.
Falling pregnant after miscarriage means that you obsess over every cramp, every twinge, wondering if it means you are miscarrying again. You check for bleeding every time you go to the bathroom (and not just in the first trimester, I did it every time for my entire pregnancy). You are afraid to let yourself be happy or excited just in case.
Thankfully everything progressed fine with my pregnancy and I have my beautiful Grace laying on my chest as I write this. And without that miscarriage, Grace wouldn’t be here. (And in fact, if my mum hadn’t miscarried I wouldn’t be here either). But it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss that baby, that I don’t still have a part of my heart that grieves for that baby, that life that never got to be.
I wrote this four days after I had my miscarriage. I didn’t know if I would ever publish it but here we are.
1 in 4. That’s the statistic. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
I am officially a statistic.
I never thought it would be as hard as it was.
I found out I was pregnant on the Monday. I was so excited! It was our first pregnancy and we had dreamed of being parents for so long. I was so excited this was finally happening for us. I imagined what our baby would be like, even though it was early on, and made mental plans for what the next few months would bring. I was 5 weeks pregnant and was deliriously happy.
Saturday morning I woke up and didn’t feel right. I had cramping that felt unsettling and later that morning started spotting. So off we went to the Emergency Room at our local hospital.
I had miscarried.
The news was devastating. I was so upset and all the logic in the world couldn’t help.
It’s better that it was early.
It was never going to be a viable pregnancy, this was your bodies way of telling you it wasn’t meant to be.
You’ll be okay.
There is no reason you shouldn’t get pregnant again.
All the things I was told by well meaning doctors and nurses meant absolutely nothing to me.
I could not believe how devastated I was by it. In the few days since I have cried uncontrollably thinking about it, I’ve had days off work because I can’t cope being around people. I have felt so unbelievably grieved in a way I never knew was possible.
Because even though it was early, it was still a life. The life of a child that my husband and I so desperately wanted. The life I had started imagining in my mind. The life that I had started planning for.
I had five days of the most glorious joy at being pregnant followed by these last four days of absolute despair and grief, unmatched by anything I have felt before.
I have grieved for lives lost before. My grandfather, my aunt, my grandmother. But this was different, and there is no one who will grieve for my baby except me and my husband. We are utterly alone in our grief, and although people empathise and sympathise with us, it is still our burden alone and no one loved our little life lost they way we did for those five glorious days.
No one talks about miscarriage. It is a secret shame, a taboo topic.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage but you don’t feel that way when it happens to you. You feel alone. Desperately and horribly alone.
We need to talk about it more. We need to not be ashamed of this.
I was. And it’s wrong.
I felt like this was my fault. Like I had done something wrong to cause it. Like I was a failure at my fundamental purpose as a woman.
I was ashamed that this had happened to me, like I was afflicted, cursed, tainted.
Of course I had done nothing wrong. Of course it wasn’t my fault. It was bad luck and this baby was not meant to be.
But by shrouding something in mystery and shame we make it easy for women to feel at fault, to feel like less of a woman, to feel like a failure because of it.
We do need to talk about miscarriage, because it is so common and it impacts your life in a way you can’t imagine until it happens to you.
So to anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, just know that you aren’t alone.