As mums, we have a vast range of experiences and emotions. There is so much that faces us as we prepare for pregnancy and for motherhood. Miscarriage is a devastating experience that affects 1 in 5 women, however it still seems to be a taboo topic that no woman wants to talk about. It hurts too much, it is something that creates raw emotions that are too difficult to talk about. Yet it happens to so many women. What if we talked about it more, and opened up the avenues for women to have support and networks as they process their feelings towards miscarriage? Melissa is one gorgeous mumma who has written her story for us. This is one that tugged on my heart strings and broke me down. It is raw, it is open, it is honest. It is the story so many women need, to know that they aren’t the only ones who have gone through this experience – and have come through the other side. Thank you Melissa – I hope you can connect with this story, and please share it with other women and mummas so we know we can share our experiences.
No one really likes talking about miscarriage, but my experience is that most people like reading about it. There is something very comforting about knowing that someone else is dealing with, or has dealt with, that same raw emotion that you are going through.
When I was asked to write this, there were a million things I could have written on parenting alone. Wrong or right, I’ve been doing it for over 4 years now so have a bit of knowledge (or at least pretend to); but the thing I kept coming back to wanting to write about, was my miscarriage.
I want to start at the start, my first pregnancy. We had decided that, after a year of marriage, it was time to start growing our family. It was actually that easy, first time, no issues, pregnant. Similarly my pregnancy was complication free and so was the birth, we even joked afterwards about dropping our health insurance because it was so straight forward. We were lucky.
When our little girl turned one, we started thinking about more, and found that once again, not much trying was required. We decided to tell everyone a bit earlier than the standard 12 weeks, and not for any other reason other than that we were having a party and it was easier to be honest than to try and hide it – plus, we were awesome at this and had no concerns.
The weeks went along and I felt fine, great in fact, and went off to my appointments without a thought. I often took our little 16 month old with me and telling hubby that he could just come to the appointments at the end. I still don’t regret taking our little girl to that appointment on that day that we found out we lost our baby, it actually probably got me through it and helped me process things inside before I had to talk about it out loud.
In hindsight, I didn’t even realise my obstetrician was struggling to find a heartbeat with the Doppler, he mentioned something about me having been to the toilet and asking me to lie still (I was half lying there, half playing with my girl). It wasn’t until the told me he’d have to use the ultrasound and told me that I really needed to lie still, that I realised that something wasn’t right. I hauled my little girl up onto my chest so I could be still, but also because I needed her close to me.
In that instant, when my obstetrician informed me that he couldn’t find a heartbeat, I knew it was over. He informed me that he needed me to go and have a proper sonogram, but I knew he was never wrong – that’s why I was with him. I’m sure deep down he knew it too.
The rest of the day went in a flash, but also an eternity. Everything slowed down around me, but my head was a blur. We went to appointments, we hid, we pretended to our daughter that nothing was wrong.
That night, when she was finally tucked into bed, we let ourselves grieve. It was the most horrible, all-consuming grief I’ve ever known, and hope to ever know. Having to tell our families, and friends, just made it worse – it made it real – and I don’t think either of us were ready for it to be real.
The next few weeks were some of the hardest of my life.
I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to see my daughter, I didn’t want to cope. When I did see people, I dodged talking about ‘it’ so I could still pretend it wasn’t real. I was a mess but trying to be the person people knew, it was exhausting. It sometimes hurt that people didn’t want to talk about it, or avoided seeing me at all, but at the same time I had no energy for anyone anyway.
I did eventually force myself to go back to work, to see a psychologist, and to keep going. When you have a toddler that requires your attention, at some point you have to get back to some sort of ‘normality’ – I couldn’t have done it without my support network though and think this was the key to getting me through.
I can’t emphasis enough how important it is that, if you have been through something similar, you look after yourself – how you do this is totally your call, but it is something that needs to happen. Seek help, professional or through a friend, and put yourself first. It isn’t something that comes naturally to us as mums, but it is the most important thing you can do.
Melissa Kerr is the founder of ‘Seriously Milestones’ – a series of milestone cards that celebrate parentings ‘real’ moments. $1 from the sale of each pack of the Original Baby Cards is donated to PANDA, who do invaluable work supporting women and men suffering from Post Natal Depression. To more information on Melissa and Seriously Milestones, visit the website HERE, Facebook HERE or Instagram HERE.