Warning: Highly emotive/sensitive content.
I lost a child once. I was pregnant one minute, and the next, I was not. One minute I was ecstatic, hopeful, the next.. “are you sure you are 7 weeks along? This pregnancy is not viable” said the doctor as he peered at the scanning machine. I was certainly deaf. I could not have heard right. “What did he just say?” I asked my husband. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was pregnant. I hadn’t seen my period. The home pregnancy test kit had 2 lines. The hospital test had confirmed it. I had morning sickness that very morning. This baby was going to be our first. What did he mean? I think the doctor saw the look on my face and decided to change tactics. “Well maybe I am wrong. Why don’t you come back in 2 weeks and we can do another scan?” He said.
I went back after 2 weeks and the pregnancy still had not progressed. They offered me a dilation and curettage but I opted out. “What if you are wrong? What if the baby is still fine? I’d rather wait and see” I said. I was pregnant/not pregnant for 6 more weeks during which I still had all the pregnancy symptoms. Those were the longest weeks of my life. It was a cruel mental battle where my mind played tricks on me throughout. And I still couldn’t tell anyone of the ‘pregnancy’ lest I had to then tell them of the loss. So I couldn’t even get the emotional support I needed. During that time, I wrote this to my baby girl (because I had a feeling it was a girl):
At first I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a mom. I know I don’t have enough money yet to give you the life I want. I also wanted just a bit more time for it to be just me and your dad. I was just coming into being a wife and that’s great but I’m still trying to transition and manage all the new and old moving parts in my new life. I’m worried about whether I can keep it all together – family, work, personal issues – during and after the pregnancy. Just wasn’t expecting you now and I don’t know if I will be the person you need.
But you came along anyways. Surprised all of us and dug right in. Now this doctor says you’re not growing as you should…I don’t want to believe him but I’m conflicted. If he is right, it must be something I did wrong. That’s the scary thing about pregnancy – I’m responsible for you at every moment. If anything happens to you it’s on me. Whether I like it or not. So I watch what I eat, what I wear, how I sleep… it’s crazy! Can I exercise? Was that gallop too hard? Should I wear heels? Because it’s on me. Because now I want you and I have to do my best to protect you. I’m reading everything: facts, midwives tales, people’s anecdotes and stories. Stories of good and bad which create fears that make me paranoid about everything that concerns you. Holding on to hope that it will help.
Unfortunately it’s misunderstood. And my over-protectiveness comes across as crazy. Since we haven’t told anyone about you yet, no one understands. Least of all your dad: “What are you upset about now?”, “Why do you have to eat now?” “What’s the big deal with the doctor you saw or didn’t see?” “Why are you always so tired?” I’m almost afraid to mention you as my reason, lest he comes to despise both of us. He already reacts negatively when I point out that I’m the one carrying the baby when I didn’t want to get pregnant yet. I want to be comforted. I want to be held. I’ve never done this before and I’m scared. But I’m out here by myself. I hope you’re okay. God blessed me with you and I hope you’re here to stay.”
I lost that baby.
It was one of the hardest few months in my life. I remember feeling extremely dejected and empty. I’d wake up crying, go to bed crying. Sometimes I would want to cry, but I’m in a room full of people and so I cant. Sometimes I’m alone, but too mentally exhausted to move a muscle or make the sounds. I felt broken. How could I ever be fixed? I thought there was something wrong with me. That it was something I did wrong. Furthermore, because of the silence surrounding the events, I still had to pretend I was fine when around others. No-one knew. More silence. More fake smiles and weighted “I’m fine’s”. Hoping someone would notice and help, without me having to open my mouth and bring my grief to life. I kept it in. I was ashamed, fearful to try again. Until I found out my aunt had been through a miscarriage, my friends mom had 2, and slowly, women with the same experience began to come out of the woodwork. “Hmmm, maybe it wasn’t just me…”
Miscarriages are more common than we realize and they are not necessarily anyone’s fault. Yes future mom. It wasn’t necessarily your fault. According to the March of Dimes, up to 50% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage – mostly before the woman misses her period or knows she is pregnant. Up to 25% of known pregnancies will miscarry. It happens. It’s common. But no-one talks about it for all sorts of reasons. So of course, many women go through it scared and alone. You should talk. If you’re reading this, you are evidently a survivor. Share your story so that the next woman doesn’t have to go through the horror whilst thinking she is the only one. So that she knows that she will survive it just like we did. And that though things seem very miserable right now, one day, the clouds will clear, she will be happy again, and she can try again whenever she is ready.