“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” – Iyanla Vanzant
This is not going to be easy to say and I’ve thought long and hard as to whether or not I should say it. But for me, sharing it is important. For many reasons, but mainly because I know for sure that someone who is standing in the very same shoes will read this today. And I really hope that realising they are not alone at such a dark time, that they might feel some light.
In the past few months we have very sadly lost two pregnancies.
A miscarriage is devastating. The reality is you don’t just suffer a physical loss, you lose that and so much more. We’ve lost the excitement at the thought of becoming parents for the first time, we’ve lost daydreams and growing bellies and conversations we’d had about names, we’ve lost thoughts for delivery day and the new hopes for a future as a growing family. In a very sad way, we’ve sort of lost the innocence of it all. I find it hard to explain what I mean by that, but in a way I feel I know so much about pregnancy now, about the things that can sadly go wrong, even though I am not yet a mother. I’ve spent so much time this year carrying around the most amazing special and wonderful secrets and yet, we never got to share our joy.
In February, we found out on a trip to Barcelona that we were expecting and I cannot tell you the happiness we felt. All I have ever wanted in my life is to be a mother and to have a family, to feel and experience that sense of unconditional love. The kind I know my mother had for me. And after weeks of living in absolute bliss, a little love bubble, it was literally taken from us in an instant. I knew immediately that I was pregnant (I just had the “feeling”) so for 10 weeks I made changes, I made plans, I took pictures of my tummy, I held it as I fell asleep at night, blissfully happy.
Then suddenly, cruelly, it was gone.
I cried and cried with tears of happiness when those two pink lines appeared again some months later. I was hopeful but it just wasn’t meant to be. Miscarriages are made even tougher by the fact that more often than not, the reasons cannot be explained. Only recently, I’ve been diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, which may or may not have played a part. I’d had my thyroid tested three times in the last year, and only on the third time did it show up as under active. An easily treatable condition, and who knows, maybe there will be brighter news please God in the years to come.
Right now though I’m experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve felt sadness, I’ve felt pain, I’ve felt anger, I’ve felt guilt, I’ve felt disbelief. Aside from all of that I’m also battling a massive sense of….. well embarrassment. Honestly it’s such an emotional battle on top of the physical challenges that the body goes through.
I think it’s important to say that Dave has been right here with me through all of this. It’s not my place to speak about his experience, so all I’ll say is he is my absolute rock and we’ve very much been getting through things together. He’s pulled me through the saddest days and all the while I’m sure feeling each emotion as much as I have.
Miscarriage is a fearful word isn’t it? It’s one you don’t hear too many people speaking about because they feel they either can’t or they shouldn’t. I was terrified of the word, I was afraid to know anything about it. If I heard that someone had had a miscarriage, I almost avoided the situation where I would have to say something, simply because I didn’t know what to say. I stayed silent.
In April I wrote a few words that I wanted to share here, but again the fear of the word, the fear of the situation got the better of me and again I decided to remain in silence.
It’s this “silence” that gives it fear. It leaves people feeling isolated and alone. To be honest I don’t know if it’s ok by society’s standard for me to talk about it. But after a lot of thought and discussion with my family and closest friends I’ve decided it’s ok for me because I found talking about it so helpful, especially with people who had previously been through the same hurt, the same loss. The kindness these people showed me blew me away. Honestly, you know who you are, and I want to say thank you.
Before our experience, I had absolutely no idea that more than 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage (reference). Those are terrible odds, I mean how could I not have known that? How could I be that unaware? My lack of awareness frightened me. I mean not for one moment did I ever dream it would happen to us. In the weeks that followed our first loss in April, I “went into myself a bit” and didn’t want to leave the house or meet people and have to pretend I was OK. It was a hard time, one I am reliving at the moment, but really trying to manage, to cope better. It’s tough though, I mean how long do you give yourself to grieve when nobody is even aware you are grieving? And the grief is real. I have a massive sense of loss.
I hope that sharing our story – though right now very raw – will bring some sort of awareness for others to the fact that over 14,000 go through this pain every single year in Ireland (reference). That’s an awful lot of people feeling silent, feeling scared, feeling sad and feeling alone. I hope sharing this it will encourage others to talk more freely, to get some release and to help themselves to heal. I just want anyone who is going through, or has gone through the sadness of a miscarriage to know – you are not alone and it’s ok to talk about it. It shouldn’t be a subject that is feared.
For now, I’m taking it easy, I am being kind to myself and I am giving myself time. I am going to work on getting back to being me. Sure there have been days where I have woken up feeling a little broken, when all I wanted to do was pull the blanket over my head. My biggest saving grace is that I know the power of talking things out. With loss, I feel its one of the most powerful tools to finding a little healing. I’m so very grateful to the wonderful people around both Dave and I everyday. Through this our families and our friends have been a constant reminder of what love really is. Right now we’ve decided the best thing for us is to focus on the positives, we’ve our wedding in 10 months time and we just want to feel a little happiness and a little joy.
I’m sorry if this is a little bit of a gloomy read today. I know I try to always share inspiration and good vibes but it’s also so important to realize that so much of what we see on social media and online is “picture perfect” – literally. The reality however is…. life isn’t always rosy. Everyone goes through their own personal struggles. Struggles that we may know nothing about.
Our story is only one but if you can take anything from it please take reassurance to know that you can open up, you can speak up, feel some release, you don’t have to feel alone.
Take strength that you can get through it with the support of all those who love you.
Take knowledge that there are thousands and thousands of other stories – different stories, this sadly happens to couples and families around us every single day.
Take awareness that more than one in five pregnancies experience miscarriage not to scare you but to empower you with knowledge.
And please…. take understanding…. that to be kind is our greatest power.
I haven’t personally been in touch with the Miscarriage Association of Ireland however I did find their website very helpful for information on this difficult subject. Here’s the link should you need it.