Baby loss – more common than you would have thought!
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” Eskimo Proverb
“Babies lost in the womb were never touched by fear. They were never cold, never hungry, never alone, and importantly always knew love.” Zoe Clark-Coates
It’s baby loss awareness week…
Another tough subject to talk about, but since it is something I have personal experience with, I feel it is finally time for me to write about it. And to support those who have been through it too.
This second pregnancy was not planned, but after the initial shock, I started to be excited and look forward to it.
But not for long. Before I knew it, the baby was gone.
I kept asking why it happened, but this is something you can never be 100% sure with. We were put through a lot of stress at the time as our Henry had to undergo surgery, so I believe this did not add up to the relaxed state of mind a pregnant woman is supposed to be in.
Anyway, one day I started to bleed so we went straight to the urgent care. They said it didn’t necessarily have to mean anything bad, but suggested for me to rest and relax. Like you could relax in a situation like that, right?
However, I did my best, but the bleeding would not stop. On the third day, I started to feel sharp cramps in my belly. I knew very well what it meant, but was still was hoping till the last moment.
Just like everyone would… On the bright side though (is ‘bright side’ even the right word to use here?), the miscarriage happened quite early – before I started to feel the movements and before we get to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
They say you shouldn’t talk about your pregnancy before the first trimester is finished. Just in case the baby does not settle in your body. That way, you don’t have to go through a lot of painful questions.
While this makes perfect sense, the truth is that I came across some painful questions because I didn’t mention it to anyone. The only people who knew about what happened were my closest family. They were amazing and very supportive and the only people I felt safe with at the time for I was extremely vulnerable and tearful.
But as soon as I left the comfort of being with these people who ‘knew’, I experienced a great amount of anxiety. When I spent time with people who didn’t know about what happened, they often asked questions or spoke about subjects that caused me more pain.
They didn’t do it intentionally of course, but still. It hurt. Questions: ‘Do you think of having another child?’, ‘When are you having another one?’, and statements like ‘I’ve just found out I am pregnant’ felt like a surprisingly sharp sword that pierced me straight through the heart.
Whenever I was supposed to meet with someone, I felt anxious even before I left home.
Toddler groups were probably the worst because that is where the ‘sensitive topic’ was hanging everywhere around me.
Over some time, I, started to avoid these groups. Until one day when I thought to myself: “Why should I not talk about it?” Who’s to say what a woman should or should not do after experiencing such a traumatic event? Everyone has their own ways to cope… And what helped me the most when I suffered postnatal depression, was talking about it. Why not do the same now?
So I put it out there… I admitted we lost a baby. This alone was a massive relief. And just like before, I was overwhelmed by the amount of love and support I received.
I got many supportive messages from my friends, some of them telling me they went through the same thing in the past (I had no idea!) and offering words of comfort.
This made me realise one important thing… Just like (postnatal) depression, miscarriage is more common than we would have thought. The problem is – just like with depression – we don’t talk about it with each other. And therefore cause ourselves more unnecessary pain.
I am convinced that each one of us has friends in their circle who has been through pregnancy or baby loss. We spend time with them, laugh with them, joke with them… and have no idea what they are really going through.
Therefore we need to be very careful when we talk on this subject with other people for you never know what the other person is going through. However close they might be to you.
Miscarriage, pregnancy loss,… it just not spoken about. Which is a shame. Because it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Nor does it say anything about who you are as a woman.
Unfortunately, I believe miscarriage is as natural as giving birth. An absolutely sad and devastating experience not wished upon anyone. Perhaps, we just need to trust nature that it knows what she is doing. And why.
And if you believe in a greater power like me, you know that the baby will find their way to you one day again…
Because I honestly believe they will.