Losing my Baby
Three and a half years ago and it was an experience I don’t ever think I’ll ever fully come to terms with. How can you when what happened is so cruel, unexplained and completely out of your control? October is tainted a cruel month.
It was two weeks to go until I turned 30 and I was on top of the world. We had planned a holiday to Disneyland in the Easter because I would be due late summer/ early autumn. I had told my mum I would need a larger bridesmaid dress, much to her horror that I wouldn't match my sister and I'd been out to pick up an isofix base because it was an absolute steal on a Facebook selling site. My maternity exempt card was through, and I started planning as much free dental treatment as I could get away with!
But Thursday morning, I woke up and had a feeling. I went to work, still not quite right. Maybe morning sickness is finally kicking in, I'd had nothing up to that point. My friend said I look pasty. Bloody hell I felt it. I had started teaching year 13 and luckily it was a self-directed lesson by the students. Something was telling me to just go to the toilet whilst they started working. There's a lot to be said for gut instinct. The unbearable was beginning, I was starting to lose my baby.
Fighting back anxiety, tears and gut raw instincts to scream was the hardest ten minutes I remember, whilst I walked back in my classroom to get my handbag and say I wasn't feeling well. I didn't see them for two weeks. By the way never underestimate the sympathy and love teenagers can offer someone suffering.
I reflect on this time now not wanting to go into the ins and outs of what happens to the body. Anyone reading this who has miscarried will know too well the physical and emotional tearing it grips you with. I do though want to look back and recognise loneliness around baby loss and what it means. It is a loneliness that comes from the feeling of failure, from letting others down, the hopes and plans you build in your head for what should be your future and belonging, it lingers within you. No matter how many people are around you supporting you, the pain and self blame can very easily push you away from others.
I didn’t want anyone near me but my lost baby, but at the same time all I wanted was cuddling so tight it would almost take the pain away from what was going on inside. When I did want to just rant and bellow, I also didn’t want to ‘burden’ people. Some parents go through so much worse, so why should my pain be important?
But there came a point, and it was about a month later, where I needed someone, otherwise I would have gone down a much darker path. I needed my husband to repeatedly apologise to, I needed my mum to talk inanely about her latest eBay bargain and how great Taylor Swift looked in the video for Blank Space. I needed my sister to tell me her friends' experiences and how they were ok, deeply hurt but ok.
So I guess as I sit here looking back three years, I just want you to know whichever situation you’re up against right now that feels so dark, the time you feel ready to raise your head out of it, call and people will be there so badly wanting to help you. Your issue will matter to them because you matter to them. You really never are alone, and though it often feels like nobody understands the pain, let people listen to you and try to understand. They will offer support in ways that are not numbing of the pain (because lets face it nothing can take it away) but will listen,
And the talking bit is so important when you are ready.
And for anyone who supporting those dealing with infant loss, please do not be afraid of the talking bit either.
‘I don't know what to say'. 'I'll just say the wrong thing'. 'What can you say in this situation?' 'I can't find the words'. 'I just wish I knew what to do'.
Words don't instantly come into thought at the time a baby is taken; only gut wrenching pain and confusion can fill a mouth with cries of raw, inexplicable heartbreak. What so many people start to wonder once the initial shock subsides is, 'I don't know what to say'. It comes with any loss, but there is something that hits hard when it is a baby or child that is taken. It isn't normal. It isn't what the cycle of life is about. Why out of all the millions of children born, mine?
Finding any words to even acknowledge this feels an impossible task, because let's face it, what can you say that will remotely take away that wrench?
Words of comfort can't touch the emotional pain a parent is feeling, but in fact whatever you feel like saying from the heart, a simple communication of comfort can build trust and stability around a grieving parent. It gives them that olive branch to know that they can detail every moment, ask questions that nobody knows an answer to and answers you don't have to give, break down, open up, close up, stare at a wall with you, hold your hand, let them sleep on your lap as they drift off from exhaustion, scream and cling to you for breath.
That trust some simple words can bring allows a mum and dad to know they have no need to feel isolated at the most isolating of times. The words remind them people have patience and accept that time away from the cruelty of everyday life is most definitely needed. And if its simply saying, 'I don't know what to say, but you're always in my thoughts', then that's words. You are saying something and it means the world. It shows you are responsive of their loss, it shows you are there.
We are grateful to Aimee at themotherhut.co.uk for allowing us to share this blog post.
If you have been affected by anything in this post, please do visit https://www.tommys.org/