I wanted to write this post after watching the incredibly brave video posted by Anna Saconne Joly who sadly miscarried at 11 weeks recently. Anna has a huge following and wanted to explain to her followers what had happened and how she was feeling.
The thing that struck me about this was how incredibly brave Anna was for doing this, for two reasons, both of which I’ll elaborate on. One, for being brave enough to talk about the miscarriage so soon after it happened and in such a personal way, and two, for discussing the subject itself because it is so often something that people don’t know how to broach and bring it up.
I have suffered miscarriages. They were early miscarriages and in both circumstances I didn’t know I was pregnant until I had lost the baby. The first thing to point out is that people often said this was a blessing in disguise. That it was better to lose a baby in the early stages. And to an extent, I do agree. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrific it must be to go through a late miscarriage or still birth; the thought breaks my heart. But experiencing an early miscarriage is still incredibly painful. It still breaks your heart, it is still the loss of a child, and as a woman it is still something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
I had no idea what was going on when I had my first miscarriage; I was only 21. It was so scary and unexpected. I’d been on the pill but something obviously went amiss and I had fallen pregnant. I was so young and frightened. I suffered quite badly physically with this miscarriage and the intrusive experience of a D and C, although necessary and for my own good, was horrible.
The second time I miscarried I felt even more heartbroken. I’d been with Sam for a couple of years by then so it was even more painful as I knew he was the one and although it wouldn’t have been the best time for us, it would have been our baby. I will never forget that familiar moment of pain and dread when I saw the bleed, knowing it was not my period and that I was going to go through that awful experience again. When Sam took me to the doctors I remember I saw this nurse. I barely remember listening to her cause I already knew what she was going to say, and it turns out she was a complete bitch! She was completely unfeeling, shoving a leaflet in my hand and telling me to go about my business as normal and use a hot water bottle for any pain relief. I remember I went home and was a complete mess. Thank God I had lots of support from Sam and my friends. I was incredibly emotional and hormonal in the days afterwards and cried so much. I thought I was never going to get over it. I don’t think you ever really “get over” these things, you never forget but you learn to cope. You deal with things and you get stronger.
I know a lot of people will say things after an early miscarriage to try and comfort you and make you feel better; “everything happens for a reason”, “it’s natures way”, “there was something wrong with the baby and it’s better something happened now rather than later in the pregnancy” and overall, they are right. But no matter how early, it is still the loss of a child. I remember feeling guilty for being so upset; I hadn’t known I was pregnant, I had people in my life who had gone through stillbirths and other horrendous pregnancy complications, I felt almost as though I should count myself lucky that I’d not suffered in such a horrific way as others. But at the end of the day, the second you find out you have been carrying a child, you’re a mother. I was a mother before I had Josh, I was a mother without a child, but I was still a Mum to a little baby I’d sadly lost. People also say something which I find vile at this early stage of pregnancy loss; “at that point it was just a bunch of cells”. What a stupid thing to say. Anyone who has had a baby, from the moment you got that positive pregnancy test and you were only 2 or 3 weeks pregnant, you already envisaged that little person. You have a nickname for them, you are already imagining what they will look like. To you they were far more than “a bunch of cells”. They were a part of you and they were your baby. So I refuse to apologise for grieving for that. Yes people have gone through worse, and yes Mother Nature takes her course sometimes and you have no choice but to follow her lead. But a loss is a loss and you are entitled to deal with that however you see fit; it is completely normal to feel like you have lost a child because essentially you have. It doesn’t matter how long you have carried that child for; no one should be made to feel as though they’re making a big deal of things when going through a miscarriage. No one should be made to feel bad for getting upset.
I think only people who have experienced miscarriage will really understand what I am saying here. It’s very hard to understand if you’ve not gone through it. But far more people than you realise will have gone through it; it is estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage which is incredibly sad and very scary if you are trying to get pregnant.
At six weeks pregnant with Josh I had a bleed. I was devastated. Here we go again I thought. We’d been trying for so long and wanted this baby so much. I felt sick to my stomach. Given my history I got in to see the doctor that afternoon and he booked me in for a scan the next morning. That wait for the scan was the longest day of my life! Looking back now I should have registered I wasn’t feeling the pain I’d felt with my two miscarriages but I felt so hopeless I couldn’t see any positives. I didn’t speak that whole evening, I just sat pretty much curled up in Sams lap silently crying and praying. I prayed very very hard. No one knew I was pregnant at that point so I couldn’t even turn to anyone other than Sam for advice. I love my husband an insane amount, but sometimes you need another woman, someone who would understand that fear and worry from a female perspective. I remember when we went for the scan the next day I decided to try and be a bit more positive. I can honestly say I’ve never felt such relief and joy as I did when the sonographer told me to look at the pulsating blob on the screen; my babies heartbeat, strong and real! You’ve never heard two people sign relief as loudly as Sam and I did that morning. I felt like the luckiest and most grateful person in the world. It was simply implantation bleeding, something incredibly common in the early stages of pregnancy, although scary none the less.
I can’t lie, I was on edge throughout my pregnancy. But as you obviously know all went well and we had our healthy baby boy. I don’t think words will ever express how blessed I feel to have Josh. I have several people close to me who have experienced miscarriage both early and late in pregnancy. It is such a difficult time to go through and I think a lot of women who go through miscarriage in the early stages don’t speak about it for fear of being labelled as someone making a big deal of it! It is a big deal. It is something that stays with you forever. Please, don’t suffer on your own. Turn to people you can talk to about it; don’t bottle it up. And be gentle on yourself; if you need to cry, cry. We are lucky enough now that there are many professional lines of support and information surrounding miscarriage now so if you need to talk to someone completely unrelated and separate then please contact one of the charities I’ve linked at the end of this post.
I apologise if you’ve found this post sombre, but it is something that we should be able to speak about. There are far to many taboo subjects yet they are always the subjects that need to be discussed the most because, so often talking about it is the first step to dealing with it and looking forward. As always, this is written from the heart and my own experiences and even if only one person reads this and finds comfort from it, then that will make me happy.
Sending love to anyone who has taken the time to read this