The baby we never talk about
This week (9th-15th October) is baby loss awareness week.
I consider myself very lucky to have had 3 healthy pregnancies, but with 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, sadly this isn’t always the case. According to Tommy’s on one day in 2014, 2,127 babies where born, 10 were stillborn, 684 were miscarried and 152 were born preterm. The numbers are mind boggling, but behind every single one of those numbers is a family with a story and I am honoured to share one such story with you today. So I will now hand you over to my guest writer.
I am lucky to have two beautiful daughters. What very few people know though is that I miscarried another baby a couple of years before I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter. A baby that I often think of, but never talk about – not even with my husband.
Miscarriage. It’s something that is all too often hidden, not spoken of. So many women grieving in silence, feeling unable to share their loss and receive comfort from others.
For me, those feelings of being unable to share my loss are compounded by the fact that I never knew I was pregnant until I went to the loo during what I thought was a somewhat heavy and painful period and saw the blob of fleshy tissue on the sanitary towel. In that moment, various pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fell into place. The previous month’s period that had been incredibly light – but which I put down to having recently started taking the Pill. The fact that my breasts had been more tender than usual. The feeling of being more hormonal – so many things that I’d just assumed had been because of the Pill had in fact been pregnancy symptoms. I had been pregnant – and now I was not.
We hadn’t been trying for a baby. My fiancé and I were about to get married. I’d been suppressing my desire to have a baby for such a long time, knowing that my hubby-to-be felt it was best to wait until we were more financially stable. In my head, I agreed with him – but my heart still ached for a baby and the knowledge that I had just lost one without even knowing devastated me.
By the time, my fiancé came home I was fairly calm again. I told him what had happened – he hugged me, told me not to worry about it and we moved on. Except I didn’t – not really. We got married, had a wonderful honeymoon and underneath it all was the pain and the ache for the baby I never knew I was carrying. Feeling unable to grieve, feeling that I had no right to grieve for something that I had never known I had. There were moments of doubt – had I really seen what I remembering seeing, was it all just in my head? Perhaps I had never really been pregnant, perhaps it was just a phantom, brought on by my longing for a baby. And yet, deep down I knew – I had worked in an early pregnancy unit years before – I knew what I had seen that day.
For six months, I kept silent – feeling unable to talk about it even to my hubby. To him, I think it was something that had simply never been, and therefore had mostly been forgotten. Then we went on holiday and stayed with some newly-married friends of ours who had exciting news to share. They were having a baby. For the rest of the day, I felt like I was wearing a mask – trying to show nothing but excitement for them and feeling nothing but pain underneath it. When hubby and I were finally alone later that night, I broke down and the pain of the previous six months was finally released. I remember only one thing from that conversation – the moment when hubby held me tightly and said “we will have another baby” – the moment when he acknowledged the baby we had lost, and in doing so, made me realise that this was not just in my head, that it was okay for me to grieve. For that moment, at least.
It was another year before I finally became pregnant again and eventually gave birth to our eldest daughter, followed by her sister a couple of years later. Becoming a mum to these two little girls has brought me so much joy, but I have never forgotten the baby I lost. A baby that I still never talk about, not even to my husband. Does he still think about it? I don’t know. I still feel that to him, it was never really real. I still feel stupid for thinking about something I never knew I had until I lost it. And so, although that loss to me was, and is, real, I still don’t feel able to talk about openly and perhaps I never will. I do know that it would have helped me hugely at the time though to know that someone else had experienced something similar; to know that I was not alone and that it was okay to grieve. Maybe by sharing my story, I can help someone else to feel less alone.
On Saturday (15th October) at 7pm there is a wave of light planned, light a candle in memory of all the precious babies lost, held in hearts but not in arms.
If you would like to share your story please contact me.