1 in 4 Women Experience Pregnancy Loss
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
According to Tommy’s Research, 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lives, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it?
I started to miscarry nine weeks into my pregnancy, six years ago.
Right from the beginning, the pregnancy hadn’t felt right – in my head, at least. There were no tender boobs, no sickness. I’d been paranoid that something was wrong the whole time, experiencing a rushing feeling between my legs a few times a day.
I’d dash to the toilet expecting to see blood and wouldn’t see it, but the fear would remain. It’s something I still can’t explain.
One evening, I knew instinctively that things were unravelling, like the fuzzy-cheeks feeling you get before a bout of sickness. There was a small show of blood on the toilet paper when I went to pee and I was starting to get slight cramping pains.
When I first realised I was spotting I went into a complete panic, frantically googling my symptoms day and night, reading every single story that contained the words “spotting” and “miscarriage”. I can probably still recite every word on the ‘What to Expect’ app. I hardly slept, spending my days laid in bed watching back to back episodes of Call the Midwife.
Then one night, around 6 pm, those occasional crampy sensations turned to re-occurring, seemingly ever-lasting, bursts of agony. I got a fever and sweated profusely. I held my stomach and rocked backwards and forwards in bed. Every time I went to the toilet, I lost more huge clots of congealed blood.
Within a few hours, I was in unspeakable pain, to the point where I vomited. I knew I was losing the baby and just wanted it to be over. Eventually, I felt the overwhelming urge to poo. I shuffled to the toilet, and the embryo slid out of me. I was hysterical. My partner, who was horrified by my screams, panicked and flushed the toilet immediately. I broke down. I then got back into the bed and stayed there, for two weeks.
The 12 Week Tradition
In Britain, it seems to be the done thing to not tell anyone about becoming pregnant until after the 12-week scan. It’s an unspoken ‘tradition’ amongst parents-to-be, to not tempt fate until those god-awful three months are out of the way. So for an average of seven weeks, we carry this incredible secret around with just our partner in on it. Which means, should the day come that those dreams are shattered, we have to suffer our pain alone and struggle in the silence.
The weeks and months that ensued for me, involved waves of uncontrollable tears – partly from hormones and partly from the overwhelming sense of loss.
Leaving the house became a mission; when you’ve had a miscarriage, suddenly everyone you see on the street is incredibly pregnant, or pushing a pram with a freshly cooked bundle of joy tucked up inside. There’s a reminder everywhere you turn.
Then there’s the anger and the sense of failure that hits. I had failed as a woman; I couldn’t even hold on to my baby, – what was wrong with me? I hated my body, it had completely let me down. I felt so ashamed.
My miscarriage followed a difficult 24 months as far as my reproductive health was concerned. I had various intrusive tests and underwent an operation for Endometriosis. I was told if I wanted to conceive naturally and sustain a viable pregnancy, I must do it as soon as possible.
It all felt like my fault. Was it? Of course not. But if we can’t address what’s happening with the one in four women who have gone through it, how can we banish those fears?
Let’s End Suffering In Silence
We must talk about miscarriage.
Don’t wait 12 weeks to tell the people whose love and support you depend on in every other aspect of life, that you’re pregnant. Make sure your support circle is wide open, so that should the worst happen, we feel like we have somewhere to turn and are collectively building a society where a woman can openly grieve for her lost child, instead of hiding the shame.
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