12 April 2019

They say 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. It definitely didn’t feel like that to me, it felt incredibly lonely, like no one would ever understand what I’d been through or how I was feeling. For me, hearing other people’s stories helped, although of course my experience was unique to me, I found that my thoughts and feelings likened to the thoughts and feelings of other women experiencing miscarriage, and that made me feel less alone. The loneliness I think stemmed from a lack of openness around the subject, we’re expected to keep shtum for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy just in case it all goes wrong, and then sweep it under the carpet if it does, which unfortunately it does in many cases. But we can’t and shouldn’t try to sweep trauma under the carpet. Our experiences shape who we are, making us more resilient during life’s unavoidable lows and more appreciative of life’s inevitable highs.

So, here’s my story…

My partner and I planned to have a baby and much to our delight I fell pregnant extremely quickly! We found ourselves imagining our soon-to-be new life as a family and we were already discussing potential names. Too excited to keep the news to myself, I told my close friends, colleagues, and immediate family; cautiously, he only told his best friend.

We were aware of the high risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy, but I naively thought being conscious of the possibility would prepare me for if it happened. I was wrong. The excruciating heartbreak… the emptiness… it all hit me like a tonne of bricks, I was most definitely not ready for it.

By the time I’d arrived at the hospital, I knew I’d miscarried, I’d lost too much for everything to still be intact. On the inside I drowned in devastation, wracking my brain for whatever I had done wrong that had caused this. I don’t smoke, I hadn’t drunk, lifted anything heavy or fallen and injured myself. I took my vitamins every day and was consciously eating healthy meals. Whatever I had done had caused this to happen, it had caused the disappointment and heartache, the inexpressible pain that my partner was undoubtedly going to feel – that thought lay heavy on my shoulders. On the outside though, in between waves of agony, I laughed and joked in the hospital bed, we even played eye-spy, trying to keep a positive mindset and trick ourselves into thinking everything was okay.

The next day they confirmed I had miscarried, and we could start to properly grieve. Grieving for someone we didn’t yet know, someone that was not yet someone, was tough, there were no good memories to celebrate, only dreams of what could have been. Whenever I spoke to anyone at the hospital, their go-to line was “nothing you could have done could have caused this”, but nothing they could have said would have made me feel any less culpable. I was also reminded over and over “miscarriage is extremely common”, stated with good intentions I’m sure, but it created a sense of shame, as if I wasn’t allowed to grieve because it happens so frequently to so many. I felt stupid for letting my emotions take a hold of me, they squeezed my chest so tightly I could hardly breathe.

I was offered help but didn’t pursue it. That’s just me, I like to try and deal with things my own way first. I’m not usually much of a talker but I felt the need to talk about this to anyone close to me that would listen, and each time I recounted what had happened I found myself breathing easier.

I’d encourage anyone that has suffered a miscarriage, and their partners, to open up about their own experiences, in whatever way works best for them. Know that you’re not alone and remember, it’s okay, it’s actually necessary, to feel.

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