Well most of you won’t know but today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day, a day that would never have meant anything to me in the past, but this year that changed when we had a miscarriage in August with our first baby. I never usual write about heavy subjects on our blog, I’m all about recipes, household decorating and puppy posts, but this is obviously a subject that has affected both me and Jon in a huge way and I think it is a subject that should be spoken about more. There is no reason miscarriage should be a taboo subject but for some reason in the UK it is almost never spoken about, even though it is hugely common. 1 in 4 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage before 20 weeks, but it is believed the actually figure is more likely 1 in 3 because some are lost so early the mother doesn’t yet know she is pregnant.
So this is me breaking the taboo and telling you our story.
I’m sorry to all our friends and family who didn’t know we had been going through this though, we didn’t tell most people we were pregnant in the first place, so it was that much harder to say we had miscarried, but it might explain our absence from work, family events and life in general over the past few weeks.
This post has taken all my strength, a huge amount of bravery, a bucketful of tears and numerous attempts to write but I felt it needed to be said!
After 10 years together and 5 years married we finally decided we were in the right place to start trying for our own little family. We were very lucky to get pregnant the first month we tried and we super excited to be starting our journey to parenthood. Like all expectant parents who want a baby we spent the first few weeks talking about all sort of baby things, names, gender and how much we couldn’t wait to be parents, we never really expected anything bad to happen. At the start of week 7 I had some light bleeding but a trip to the GP said it was nothing to worry about, our first midwife appointment confirmed this too, but within 24 hours I ended up being transferred to hospital with a heavier bleed. Again though we were told that everything looked ok but they would take bloods just in case. It being a Friday night meant I couldn’t have a scan until the Monday though. Sadly within 6 hours of leaving the hospital I miscarried our baby. I was in no doubt as to what was happening, I wont go in to details but it was obvious. Luckily the pain was just like a particularly painful period but nothing more. But we’ve been dealing with the emotional pain ever since, and although it’s gotten a lot better, I was an emotional wreck for almost 2 weeks, it still hurts when I think about it even now 2 months on, but Jon has been a total rock for me, I’m not sure how I would have coped with it on my own. It was officially confirmed during the scan the following Monday, and although I knew it had happened 48 hours before, it actually being confirmed by a medical professional hit me just as hard. I’m not usually an emotional person so this has been very hard for me to deal with. For the first few weeks even the slightest thought or comment would send me into floods of unexpected tears, luckily Jon has been there to get me through them and calm me down in most cases, but going from being pregnant to not so quickly is so hard to come to terms with, you really don’t know how to feel or react. Now we are just trying to look towards the future and crossing our fingers that we will be parents soon.
There was no reason behind my miscarriage, or behind 99% of the ones that happen to other women. I’m healthy, no medical conditions, or family history of anything similar so there is no reason I should have miscarried, sadly it is ‘just one of those things’. Most doctors believe it is down to the pregnancy not being viable due to a chromosome or other DNA issue which happens when the foetus is first developing, so the body allows the pregnancy to end naturally. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though.
Before I was pregnant I didn’t know that miscarriage was a common thing, I only knew of 2 people who had ever had one, and thats because it is never spoken about. It is swept under the rug as if it is something we should be ashamed of, even though it is a natural thing, and there is almost nothing that can be done about it. Us women play almost no active part in a miscarriage it simply happens, no matter how healthily we eat, what pre-natal vitamins we take or anything we do, we cannot control it and cannot stop it happening. What we can do is understand that we are not to blame in any way, and help support others who are going through the same thing.
Since the miscarriage I have found that at least 3 other people I know have had them, including close friends and family, so it just goes to show that it really is a common occurrence.
We were only 8 weeks pregnant at the time, but it felt like our whole world had come to an end. It really doesn’t matter whether you 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks or even further along, to you you have still lost a baby. Its the end to all the dreams and plans you’ve started putting into place in your head and your heart and nothing but time can help heal that pain.
Because society tells us we shouldn’t announce our news before 12 weeks scans it means that most couples deal with a miscarriage on their own, without the support of family and friends who could really be a help at this time. And this is something I totally disagree with! You aren’t meant to tell people the news early on incase something happens (as it so often does!) but it is precisely in this time that you need help from people. Luckily we had told a few close family and friends and they have all been a great help to both me and Jon. I’m not suggesting you tell the world but let a few people in on your news so you aren’t alone should the worst happen.
So what should you do if someone you know has had a miscarriage?
- Don’t disappear! Even if you don’t know what to say, simply being present will help, a good hug can be all they need. Don’t shrink away if they do want to talk about it, having someone to voice all my worries and anxieties about getting pregnant again too has been a huge help in me coping and moving forward.
- Don’t try to explain what happened with statements like ‘God needed another angel’. It’s really not helpful! Neither is ‘You can just try again’, we know we can try again but that doesn’t take away the fact we just lost our baby, its not like replacing a car after an accident. This was a living thing that was loved very much from the moment we got a positive test, nothing is going to replace that!
- Don’t forget the father, he lost just as much as the mother did, it was his baby too. Too often men are left out of the equation because it is the women bodies who go through the miscarriage, but the pain of losing a child is relevant to both, they shared in the joy of becoming parents and the planning of a new life, so they share the pain too.
So what’s next for us, well we still want to start our little family and will hopefully one day soon be able to bring you all the good news of an upcoming addition to the Two Hearts One Roof family. There is ever chance we will have a perfectly normal pregnancy next time (but still a 1 in 4 that it could happen again) but I am obviously still very anxious that it will happen again and that sadly has taken a little of the fun and excitement out of getting pregnant.
I am so proud of my wife for writing her about her/our experience with losing a baby. I really hope this helps anyone who is struggling to deal with their own loss, because its a lonely old time when it happens. To see someone you love in so much pain, confusion and emotional discomfort is unbearable. You can’t begin to understand what they are going through. I’m not saying it’s easier being a man because that would be completely insensitive of me, but we don’t feel the physical loss. It all came about so quickly, and all I could do is hold Chantele every time she was upset or check on her when she didn’t come down from the bathroom. My logical brain kicked in instantly “it wasn’t meant to be, it was probably for the best” I kept telling myself, it was the only way I could not think about it too much and stay strong for Chantele. But 2 weeks in it hit me like a brick and I couldn’t keep it in and it only upset Chantele all over again. So from a male’s perspective, all I can say is, talk about it when you feel ready. Don’t try and be the big tough guy and hold it all in. Be strong together and work through it as a team.