The subject of miscarriage doesn’t get spoken about much, not socially or in the media.
Pregnancies and babies are celebrated – and so they should be, it’s one of life’s most amazing miracles.
However, on the flip side miscarriages are happening and they’re happening a lot.
Having the taboo subject spoken about is helpful for someone who is going through a miscarriage, but what you don’t read or see is all of the stages a family will go through during this time.
Naively, many of us may think a miscarriage involves some bleeding and then that family moves on.
Post-miscarriage I realise now that the story really is very different.
The pain and heartbreak is something you don’t see coming, and no doubt gets harder and harder the further down the line you are in your pregnancy.
It’s time to break the silence on what really happens when you go through a miscarriage.
The initial, sickening fear
From that very first day you get the good news you invest so many emotions into making sure you do everything you can to look after your baby.
You know there are chances of a miscarriage, but hope so much you don’t have to face that.
Then…it happens. You may see blood or you may even find out at a scan.
At this point you probably swear, shout ‘no’, cry, or do all three. You feel sick with fear.
The small glimmer of hope
If you’re under the 13 week mark, when most miscarriages tend to take place, it’s very rare you’ll get a scan that same day to check out what is going on.
The doctor does a few tests on you, but then it’s a waiting game until you can get a slot into the early pregnancy clinic to find out whether your baby is alive.
People tell you ‘bleeding is common’, ‘everything could still be OK’, and you hold onto all of those glimmers of hopes tightly.
This waiting game is agony.
Part of you has prepared yourself for this news, but when you hear it out loud your heart literally breaks and the world stops.
All kinds of thoughts go through your head and all future baby plans you have dreamt of come crashing down.
The long, drawn out process
People tend to say ‘I had a miscarriage’ and the conversation moves on.
The truth is once it’s been confirmed your baby has died, this is just the start.
No-one talks much about this stage and this is where you begin feeling naïve and out of your depth.
Whatever type of miscarriage you go through be it a threatened, missed, or complete miscarriage, they all involve a scan, maybe two or even more to determine what is happening.
This can take weeks.
You may have had a ‘missed miscarriage’ and have to have an operation to get your baby out.
You don’t mind doctors and nurses having to mess with ‘down there’ if you’re going to get your baby at the end of it; but when you’ve got to feel completely vulnerable and exposed to be left with absolutely nothing, the whole experience is the last thing you have the energy to face.
‘Complete miscarriages’ aren’t much fun either – you experience cramps, heavy bleeding, and have to face some pretty scary sights.
Going to the toilet anxious to see what you might find is frightening. And then when you finally see your baby, sac or placenta you suffer the loss of your baby all over again.
The constant reminder
Your baby has gone and you keep telling yourself and everyone that ‘now you can move on’.
But you can’t – you continue to bleed for days and weeks after your miscarriage and every time you go to the toilet the blood is a constant reminder that you’ve lost your baby.
You may try and do ‘normal’ things during this time, but you can’t help be distant and distracted in conversations as you can feel yourself bleeding and just want to scream out, ‘I’m losing my baby!’
You feel you should pick yourself up and get back on with things when all you want to do is go to bed and sleep.
The whole process is so draining that just the thought of getting back into the real world fills you with dread.
You may even feel like getting up and about after a few days of grieving, but then out of nowhere you feel exhausted and suffer extreme tiredness all over again.
The guilt of grieving
You want to grieve, you want to mourn, but for some reason when someone is going through a miscarriage you don’t tend to think you can.
Why? Maybe, because that baby wasn’t outside in the real world and you think people will think you’re silly and dramatic mourning for something you never met.
Yet, for the family, especially the woman who has invested so many emotions into caring and growing the baby, this baby has been a person from day one. They’re real.
You have had dreams, you have had hopes, you have already started planning your future with your child. It all gets turned upside down.
The ‘it’s common’ commentators
You know people are trying to be nice and say the right things, and you know they’re saying the rational things.
But when people say ‘it’s common’, ‘it wasn’t meant to be’, ‘you’ll have another baby’, you just nod and say nothing.