21st April marks the anniversary of when I first found out I was pregnant. We were flying to Mallorca the next day so I didn’t even have a chance to go to the doctor and get it confirmed. We chose not to tell anyone, and luckily no one questioned the fact that I refused every alcoholic drink I was offered.
Little did we know that less than two months along the road we were going to be told the hardest words ever: it stopped living. If you hadn’t yet, you can read my full story here.
1 in every 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and so many of them happen for an unknown reason. The path to recovery, both emotionally and physically, is difficult and laden with unempathetic comments.
It wasn’t meant to be.
You’ll have other kids.
At least it wasn’t as bad as X, she gave birth and then the baby died.
This baby would have been born sick, you dodged a bullet.
At least you know you can become pregnant.
It happens to a lot of women.
As if any of that is supposed to make you feel better about your loss. A loss that society is still very much uncomfortable with and prefers to ignore, as if it were better to pretend like it didn’t happen. To that I say: that’s all good and well for you. I don’t need you to feel comfortable with my loss and my pain, they are still completely valid. I know my loss is real, and I’m allowed to grieve and cry and feel the pain of losing my child before I could even hug it.
But also because of that, I will speak up. I will tell the world that this did happen, and it happens more often than we think. I speak up for all those women who are afraid to tell their stories because they fear they might be judged or shamed, as if this was our fault somehow. I speak up because I want to stop living in a world where a miscarriage is told like a confession.
There’s a lot of guilt that comes hand in hand with losing your baby. One of the first thoughts is: what did I do wrong? Usually followed by: what can I do to fix this? Both answers are nothing. You did nothing wrong, and unfortunately there is nothing that you can do that will bring that baby back. This happened, and if it’s happened to you, I am so SO sorry and I’m here for you.
I went a little bit crazy at first: I bought a whole kit with ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests, and I would count days and check for ovulation signs to make sure we increased our chances of conceiving. I made sure we were both following nutritional guidelines that would improve our natural fertility, and took it to a very (mentally) unhealthy extreme. I was adamant to become pregnant again by September 2019 and I held onto that date for dear life.
Very quickly it turned into some task that needed to be completed before “life could go on”. Everything else became secondary. I was sure I’d be happy again once I was pregnant:
If I’m pregnant after I get my first period, everything will be fine.
If I’m pregnant by December (original due date), everything will be fine.
If I’m pregnant before a year, everything will be fine.
And now here I am, one year after I first found out I was pregnant, with no baby and still not pregnant. In fact I’m currently on my period and not freaking out about it.
Would I like to be pregnant right now? Of course I would. If you, dear reader, have been in my situation, you will probably be able to relate to that. Is it the end of the world that I am not? No. Is it difficult? Hell, yes. One of my best friends is pregnant, healthy and happy. And I could not be happier for her! But it is inevitable to look at her and remember that I have not yet gotten to that point.
If this is where you are, IT IS OK.
The way out is through.
Allow yourself to feel your grief. Grief looks different for everyone, but one thing is for sure: you will not come out of the other end of the tunnel if you don’t go through it first. Yes, it is scary, and it can be dark especially at the beginning. In fact, it is reported that 2 out of 10 women who have suffered a miscarriage have suicidal thoughts, and only 30% of those receive psychological attention. But you don’t have to go it alone, get in touch, tell me your story, we’ll go through this together. I was so incredibly lucky to have amazing empathetic strong people around me that helped me overcome my grief, and I have been even luckier to have gotten in touch with so many others virtually. So please, reach out, I am here for you.
And let me tell you that time does help and heal, the process will have its ups and downs, you’ll have days filled with tears and others crying of laughter, and on the other side of all of this you will one day be happy again and realise you never thought you would get to this point. You will think of your baby and smile a sad smile and carry on with your day. It will go with you but won’t stop you from being happy. I am happy and I know you can be too.