By Jeslyn Sayers
I vividly remember hearing the doctor say, “There’s no longer a heartbeat”. I could not look at my husband. I felt like I had let him down. “Is it something I did?” is the question that forever haunts me. It is not long after you receive this devastating news that you are given your options of how you would prefer to “expel” your baby. My three days at the hospital were complicated and utterly heartbreaking to be in the maternity ward surrounded by women with their gorgeous, healthy babies whilst we were waiting to lose ours. I can say however, that the midwives and all the staff at the Millicent Mackintosh Maternity Ward were nothing but kind, empathetic and helpful 24/7, and for that I am eternally grateful.
I think part of the reason people do not like talking about it is because no one ever says the right thing. Many told me, “Better now than later on” and “You are still so young” or “At least you know you can get pregnant”. I was never angry with those people. I knew they meant well and were just trying to console me. The reality was that nothing anyone said would bring back my baby and for that reason nobody could make me feel better. To a certain extent I felt like I had become a burden. Friends and even some family members did not understand the traumatic experience I had gone through. How it had affected my mental health. I was extremely emotional all the time. Anything would trigger me into breaking down into tears; seeing a woman pass by with her newborn baby, or seeing people announce their pregnancies and births on social media. I found myself resenting people, feeling jealous, and worst of all, feeling angry. It is hard to tell even those closest to you that you are feeling this way and for this reason a miscarriage can be a very lonely experience.
I vividly remember the doctor say, “There’s no longer a heartbeat”.
The biggest lie someone can tell you is that after a D&C (also known as ‘dilation and curettage’; a surgical procedure often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage) you will immediately get pregnant. Although that may be the case for a lucky few, it does not always happen this way. I thought that losing my baby was the only hurdle I would have to overcome. Little did I know how much anxiety trying to get pregnant again would bring. The first time around, my husband and I had easily conceived and did not have any worry or stress that it would happen. However, it is now close to a year since our miscarriage and we are still not pregnant. Our due date (which would have been a few weeks ago) was a particularly difficult time, I had hoped to at least be pregnant by then to ease the pain. That has not been able to be the case and so I must continue to be patient and try to enjoy the wonderful life that I do have with my incredible husband, family, friends and colleagues, and a job which I absolutely love and where my students make me smile and laugh. I know that I have to be very mentally strong and let nature take its course, but it is easier said than done.
Each month of failing to get pregnant is extremely frustrating and disappointing, and although I feel I am at a much better place with all of this, I am aware that I will forever be left with this fear. A fear of losing my baby again and wondering, “Was it something I did?”. A fear of choosing baby names or furniture for the baby’s room too soon. Unfortunately, a miscarriage does change you forever. The reality is that miscarriages are very common and part of many women’s journeys. However, just because miscarriages are ‘common’ does not mean that women and men affected should not be allowed to grieve their loss and be emotional whenever they need to be. I definitely am.
For this reason a miscarriage can be very lonely.
I hope that this article helps anyone going through the same situation as us to know that you are not alone. That you are in all of your right to feel the way that you are feeling. That once you start talking to others about it, you will realise how many people have gone through the same experience as you and come out the other end with beautiful families.