I consider myself verylucky that we’ve “only” suffered one complete pregnancy loss.
They don’t feel like the appropriate words to use when you’re talking about the loss of a future, really. It wasn’t long after our first trip to France in Summer 2008 when we discovered we were pregnant with #4 and our immediate response was horror and shock. We were in the midst of Erica’s medical stuff, I had just discovered my contract wasn’t being renewed and Bob hadn’t returned to work after his pericarditis. The timing couldn’t have been worse.
We got excited. We do that, Bob and me. We’re like a couple of kids in adult bodies, we’re a strange sort of grown up and the idea of yet another amazing little person in our family was so overwhelmingly exciting that our panic was over and we just delighted in our fecundity.
It had taken until later than usual for me to get a positive but I wasn’t worried. I was relatively symptom-free but since that was also my norm I wasn’t worried about that either. I felt on top of the world. I felt smug at my ability to fall pregnant easily and birth amazing, smart children. I felt like my heart had fallen out of my body the morning I got up for work and discovered I wasn’t going to get to meet this one, this time.
I think the worst part for me was a colleague asking me not to talk about it in the office (I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to talk about less) since – and I quote – “Other women in the office have suffered more serious losses”. I was bitterly angry. I was angry at that comment, which I focused most of my rage on. I was angry at the mother at the school who yelled at her kid for being clumsy, how could she treat her child like that when I had lost mine? I was angry at every single person who had experienced only joy, only simplicity with their pregnancies. I was angry with my stupid body which had crapped out on me while I was pregnant with Erica and which had let me down so incredibly badly now. Angry angry angry.
With hindsight, I can see now that other women – other families – have had it so much harder than I did. An acquaintance had nine miscarriages before her family was finally blessed with one that stuck. My gorgeous friends Lorna and Mark went through a hell that nobody should ever experience when their perfect but premature baby boy died at one month old. Before Ruaridh was born I had a ludicrous idea in my head that I could relate to loss, that I could understand it. Now I think that you can never understand the depths of love and the heights of despair that one person experiences. Loss is so incredibly personal.
I would say that perhaps it’s as I grow older, or perhaps it is shifts in societal behaviour that we seem to talk about losing our babies. I struggle to comprehend the amount of stories which have been shared with me, even from family members who hadn’t told anyone else. An older family member recounted her miscarriage story and her guilt at a fleeting feeling of relief in amongst the grief, because hers happened when the Thalidomide babies were being born and nobody had yet made the connection.
It’s having the opportunity to talk, to grieve, to have recognition that you have suffered a loss. That’s what I believe to be important. Saying Goodbye is offering that opportunity through a series of services across the UK. Please do check out their website and talk about it with your friends x
This post was written by Vonnie on September 18, 2012