Living Through a Miscarriage: A Year On

One in four women experience miscarriage. Yet it's something that we still don't seem to speak about.

Having suffered the loss of a miscarriage myself, I can definitely say that it is one of the loneliest experiences that I've ever had to go through in my life. It's more than likely that the first three months of a woman's pregnancy is spent hiding nausea, hiding the fact that ever so slowly her clothes are starting to feel tighter and having to make up excuses for why she's so tired.. all the time! And just like that, sometimes with no warning at all, her pregnancy journey is over and she's left to put on a brave face whilst trying to continue with day to day life.

"I'm very sorry, but there seems to be no heartbeat."

Those are the words I heard at my 12 week scan, as I lay looking at the blank monitor, the day before my miscarriage.

I miscarried on July 20th 2018, a year ago today.

Because this is a subject no one speaks about, we have no idea what to expect. In all honesty, I believed there was some kind of process in place for when tragedies like this happen. Someone to reassure women that things would be OK, some kind of aftercare, details of a counsellor of some sort or even advice on next steps, maybe. But none of that was offered and I was sent on my way to wait for my miscarriage to happen. Very quickly, I befriended the internet as I tried to search for other women like me who I hoped had shared their experiences, as I tried to prepare myself for what would happen next.

No one can prepare you for the utter heartbreak that follows and the complete devastation. You can recite all of the positive affirmations and be aware of all the ways in which you 'should' be thinking in order to 'move forward', but in that moment, it doesn't make the pain any less painful. Dates that used to mean nothing to me, now hold such a huge significance in my life. Days like yesterday. Days like today.

Wherever you are when these days arrive, usually results in you smiling through the pain as you join that important work meeting, or smiling as you spend the day telling everyone you're fine, whilst you're not. The memories and events that took place are now imprinted within my mind; and there doesn't seem to be anything that doesn't remind me of our unborn baby and the plans we'd started to make. I was left with feelings of anger, hurt and disappointment. I felt and still do feel a bit lost and helpless and I still cry about it. Nevertheless... none of that changes the facts.

With every conversation, with every scroll through Instagram, with every sight of a newborn baby, you try to mask the fact that your heart has been shattered into a million pieces and you proceed to 'carry on', because that's what you're supposed to do, right? "Because while losing a friend or relative activates an immediate support system of sympathy and understanding, losing a baby can bring a lonely silence." This is a sentence that has stuck with me, because it's the most perfect description of miscarriage as a whole. For many women, barely anyone would have known they were pregnant to start with, so how do you even begin to share the news that you've lost a baby that no one even knew you were carrying? And because people don't know that you've experienced the grief of a miscarriage, you get asked the following questions constantly (especially as a 32 year old woman), "when are you going to start a family?", "no kids yet?" To which you feel like replying, "I do want children, actually. I lost a child xxxx amount of months ago." Furthermore, not everyone wants to have children, so how about we just stop asking people such intrusive questions!

It's been such an emotional, crazy journey for me and I felt even more alone before I started speaking about my miscarriage.

Of course there are good days and bad days, but I believe that pregnancy immediately puts your life into perspective, in terms of what's important and the things that aren't so much. Learning to heal and grieve is a process that I'm still working through and we don't always get these things right, but that's OK, because we're only human. As long as we are acknowledging our feelings and are putting in the work to process them, then we're on the right path. Do whatever positive and productive thing it is that you need to do, to keep you on that path. On our most recent holiday, we were away on the date we had found out that I was pregnant the year before; so we decided to write a letter each to our unborn baby and send the letters off in the sea. It was most beautiful moment and extremely emotional as we got out a lot of things, some of which we hadn't even said to each other before.

Most recently, I've started taking the time to read again; and the Calm app has really been helping me focus and find time for myself. Time to gain clarity, reflect and in all honesty forgive myself for all of the hurt that I've been holding on to. It's not easy, but I know I will get there in time.

I speak and write about my miscarriage for all the women who don't feel as though they can, or feel ashamed, helpless and isolated. Whatever the reason may be, I just want you to know that if you have suffered from a miscarriage, you're not alone and that WE are the one in four.

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