A few weeks ago I heard the words nobody imagines they’ll ever hear – ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat’. With those words my world crumbled.
When you lose a baby you lose a lot of things. Hope, joy, all the beautiful pictures of your future you imagined in your head. But one of the hardest is the loss of respect, of appreciation and love, for yourself.
In the weeks that followed my missed miscarriage I began to loathe myself and my own company.
I felt like I’d failed at the most ‘natural’ of tasks.
I’d let my husband and my family down – broke my promise of giving them a child/grandchild. While drowning in my sadness I felt I was letting my daughter down by being a shadow of the mummy she knew and deserved.
Next was shame and embarrassment – how could I not know my baby had died? I had my scan at 10 weeks, and my baby was measuring at 7 weeks and 6 days. I’d spent 2 weeks taking bump pictures and recording my symptoms and all the while it was already over.
My growing self-hatred was compounded by some of the treatment I received in the following weeks. We received the news at a private clinic, and left fairly abruptly. A few days later I sent them a message asking if the had a copy of the scan pictures. I was told they’d have a look, but they never replied. Even after several follow-up emails, I heard nothing. The message I received was that your request is not valid, because you failed.
When the hormones started to settle and I finally started to see a light at the end of the tunnel, I felt guilty for every small moment of happiness.
My baby was gone and I was able to smile and laugh? How could I be so heartless?
However, despite the rafts of negative emotions, in recent days I’ve been feeling something new and unexpected. An appreciation for my body and the challenge it has overcome. Where I once felt embarrassment, I’m starting to feel admiration that despite all being lost, my body continued doing its job to try and grow and protect my baby.
I feel respect for my mind, that while processing this trauma I’ve been able to set aside the mental capacity required to be a parent to my beautiful daughter. While processing my own grief I was still able to support my husband in his, and consider how I can use this experience to hopefully help other people.
While knowing that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss is not a comfort, knowing that most of us have the strength to overcome this most painful of experiences certainly is. We are stronger than we know.