I find that miscarriage isn’t spoken about often; it happens to women every day all over the world and yet is still an almost taboo subject to most. “Don’t talk about it, it’s not very nice” seems to be the attitude of society. But it does happen, like for example, did you know that every 1 in 8 pregnancies end in miscarriage? I didn't, and I am part of that statistic. Here is my story.
I have always wanted to become a mother; I used to have these names picked out ever since I was a child, I had countless dolls I’d mother and look after. It was just always there, that instinct to want to look after another of my own. I was 21 years old when I fell pregnant, and it was a massive shock to the system, as four years prior I’d been told by my doctor that I’d probably never conceive, as I only had a 15% chance of conceiving AND going to full tern, it was all part of the scary side to my Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome diagnosis.
When I first started to suspect, I was unsure when to go to the doctor. I went too early and the test came back negative, and of course I was devastated. I just had this gut feeling I was pregnant. Then, to my absolute delight, 10 days after that doctors appointment, still feeling off, I took a Clearblue test, and sure enough I was in the early stages of my pregnancy. However, my mum was not thrilled as I was in an unsupported back and forth relationship with the father of my unborn baby. He didn’t want to accept I was pregnant, so I knew going through with this, I’d probably become a single parent.
The next few weeks went by, and I was just trying to be positive as I’ve always suffered with mental health issues. I was trying to do the right things, eat what I needed to eat, drink healthy drinks and not so much caffeine, resting when I needed to rest, I was doing everything right. Even though I was being careful, caring for my sick grandad as well as working my part time job, it still wasn’t enough for my body. On the 27th of July 2014, I lost my baby at just over 7 weeks.
I woke up that Sunday for work, and something didn’t feel right. I just put it down to my anxiety as I was too scared to face anything else. I went to work my full day shift, also working with my mum as she was duty manager. I kept getting these odd, sharp cramps, and I was going back and forth to the toilet every 25 minutes or so to check for any sign of an issue; at that point I wasn’t bleeding yet. *This next part is graphic* The end of my shift came and I had this agonising pain that had been building up. I went to the toilet to find blood all over, like I’d started to have a period. I suddenly had this urge to push. I heard a loud splash, and when I reached down with some toilet paper I felt something. When I pulled it up, i saw the broken sac that had been carrying my unborn baby. To say the confirmation of what I feared coming to realisation was soul destroying is an understatement. There are two things I regret about that day, not going to the hospital in the morning to be checked out, and not going after it had happened out of shame and disgust of my own body. I went to the doctors a couple of days after; I was already on a prescription for a strong pain relief from a previous injury (which I had not been taking through the pregnancy), and I was told to take them for the pain I was in physically.
You hear about the emotional turmoil a miscarriage takes on the body but you don’t hear a lot about the physical pain it takes out of you. I was in agony. At this point I was very used to the pain of my PCOS condition and my periods prior, but this was something else. What is also not really put out there unless you go looking for the information is the excessive bleeding, I had to wear incontinent pants just to get through the day for two weeks.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my loss. I would confide in my mum a lot. I think what didn’t help me was that I didn’t get the medical closure that a lot of women get. By that I mean I didn’t get the ultrasound or scans to tell me it was happening. I didn’t face the pain for a very long time, I suppressed it. That is a normal reaction for a lot of people who suffer loss but unfortunately it isn’t a healthy reaction; we need to face the pain, no matter how big it is, in order for us to heal and grow from the experience, in my opinion. For a while I did a lot of drawing, I found comfort in drawing anything and everything, as it was my window of opportunity to just feel what I was drawing and healthily distract myself. I also talked about it when I felt ready, I acknowledged her as I had always had this feeling from day dot I would be having a girl (I can’t explain why, I just did). I did have a short term of counselling which I found helpful to break down and build back up my trauma.
That is my advice to anyone who suffers from this loss, both women and men: seek that safe haven, whether it is a counsellor, or a class that you’ve always wanted to try, going and exploring somewhere you always wanted to explore. It’s not about forgetting and moving on, its’s about facing and acknowledging the pain of the trauma. Please do not blame yourself, it is unfortunately a natural, horrible part of being human. Mostly it isn’t anything to do with what the mother has or hasn’t done, and most of the time a miscarriage is unpreventable, it can happen to any woman in any pregnancy. I always say that the best thing you can do is research, speak to professionals in the field, and talk to people about your worries and concerns over your pregnancy/partner’s pregnancy.
There are support sites such as www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk where you can get information, and they have support groups on Facebook for those on there who want to join them. Lastly, what I like to do is every year for my would have been child’s birthday, I do something for her during the day, big or small. I’ll buy her a teddy usually, and at Christmas I’ve even bought an angel card before now, just to acknowledge she is always going to be a part of me, nothing will ever take that away.