To support the Mumsnet campaign for better Miscarriage Care, here’s my story:
I had a beautiful toddler son and all I wanted was a brother or sister, a longed for second baby, to complete our little family – three pregnancies later, my daughter finally arrived.
Even years afterwards, my children are 16 and 12 now, it’s still sad to think of that very difficult time. I had my first miscarriage at 12 weeks and my second, the following year at 13 weeks, just when I hoped it was going to be OK.
Both were bloody on a sort of Lady Macbeth scale. I remember hobbling through A&E with blood gushing down my leg and seriously, chunks of stuff in my shoe.
Reading other bloggers’ stories, I realise how lucky I was to get such respectful care. Everyone I came into contact with at the busy London hospital was calm and sympathetic.
But nothing prepared me for the howling loneliness and despair that went on for months after each loss.
Yes, I already had a child and I absolutely loved him even more and was so grateful that he was there, but he was growing up, time was passing and I felt as if my whole life was on hold waiting for the rest of the family I wanted to build.
And of course I was in the midst of friends with bumps and babies and breastfeeding and hardly a month going by without a new pregnancy announcement.
It was excruciatingly hard and after my second miscarriage, I signed up for counselling which took a long wait to come, but it was hugely helpful.
Everyone has to come to terms with their loss: the interruption to the plans, the feeling that life is not always the way you want it to be and messy stuff happens. I did feel changed. I felt as if I’d aged about a decade.
Some friends dealt with their miscarriages by quickly moving on to new pregnancies. I had to take my time. I had to know I was strong enough to cope with a third loss before I could start all over again.
I took care of my health, eating well, drinking very little, swapping coffee for herb tea and hanging out with kind people, good friends, people who offered lots of support. My husband was just brilliant and I know our youthful marriage was cemented over those years. We learned what it truly is to love one other for better and for worse.
My third time lucky pregnancy felt about two years long, it was so nerve-wracking. Every tiny cramp, twinge, or hint of indigestion and I was convinced it was all going to end.
I have never, ever felt so relieved than when I was finally holding my daughter in my arms. Truly, it was miraculous: There you are! And you are so spectacularly wonderful that it was absolutely worth the wait.
Despite my experience, I’m never sure what is best to say to anyone grieving a miscarriage. We’re all different. This difficult time will pass, but in different ways… with different results and perhaps leading you somewhere you could never have expected.
I hope you are cared for.
Make sure you care for yourself, love yourself, love the good people around you and count all the blessings you have right here and now.