Baby Loss Awareness Week-Day 6
When I had my son, I’m not ashamed to say I was pretty petrified.
I was 23, had taken the pregnancy for granted, (not that I thought that then obviously), and it was our first baby, so we really had no idea what we were doing.
We did all the things you don’t do with your following babies, we were overcautious, over worried, frequent flyers to the doctors for every sniffle our little baby picked up.
Overcautionsness aside, I was a good Mum, I did everything by the book (literally, I had every baby book going). We were good parents, we loved being parents, it felt natural, even though he hadn’t been planned, it felt planned once he was born.
Fast forward a year and a half and we fell pregnant again! This one also wasn’t planned, but as soon as we knew, we once again, without realising, took it all for granted. Our first was straight forward, no issues, no complications, no need for worry, so we began planning.
Names chosen, double pushchairs looked at, a loan applied for (and accepted) so we could move somewhere bigger for our growing brood, how we were going to announce the news, due date estimation, scan date estimation, the list is endless.
We told a fair amount people (because why wouldn’t we when we’d had such a great pregnancy with our first baby!). Then, 8 weeks later, we had to tell them that all we’d planned was basically for nothing. We’d taken it all for granted, and now, we weren’t having a baby.
To our son, everything was normal, nothing had changed, he was still him and we were still us. I never cried in front of him, even through the toughest times, not once.
Fast forward another year, and the year that passed slowly, with us trying to have another baby. It consumed us, it made me neurotic, wanting something so badly, that I didn’t know I wanted until we’d lost our second baby.
Then came the day the two lines appeared, and the emptiness, nothingness was there, because I’d lost hope. We told the bare minimum this time, barely feeling a reason to tell people in case it happened again, but doing so because we thought we might need support. 3 days later, we told them the news we’d been expecting. Another lost baby. We’d been expecting it, but we still felt the loss like the last.
Once again, our son knew nothing, I didn’t cry in front of him, even through the toughest times, not once.
2 months later, those lines came up again, and this time there was no hope. I was waiting for the blood, the pain, the agony, the devastation. And, as with the other two, that day came once more.
I was done. A shell of the woman I once was, but no less of a Mother, and once again, my son never saw me cry, not even through the toughest times, not once.
We stopped trying, and I know what everyone says, “just stop trying and it’ll happen”. The issue being with that
bullshit unhelpful advice, was, that it wasn’t getting pregnant that was our issue, it was me keeping my babies in!
Oh the advice, the advice that people gave me, or the reasons they concocted for why they thought we we’re having so much trouble-it was constant, and constantly not needed.
Christmas came around, and because we weren’t “trying”, I ate too much, and got well and truly drunk! For the whole of that festive period, I relaxed, and instead of being the fake Mum that hides her feelings and puts on her funny Mummy voice, I had fun with my boy and my family, and blocked out the last year and a half of hell.
A month later, and those two lines came back, and even though we’d stopped “trying” I still felt nothing once more.
Every day, I spent every toilet trip checking for signs of another baby that didn’t want to stick. Every day, I would look for symptoms of something going wrong like it had with the others.
As the pregnancy progressed, so did the anxiety. And as it progressed, day by day, the Mummy that our boy knew before, was lost a little bit more.
There were tears, but still never in front of him, that’s something I managed to hold back until he was in bed, then I’d sob for the babies I’d lost and for the possibility of hope, I didn’t want to lose once again.
His 4th Birthday came, and I had a little bump showing, but still hadn’t told anyone except parents and best friends, because I’d convinced myself the “bump” was a bad thing, that it meant something bad was going to happen. I was sick, but i convinced myself that instead of that being a pregnancy progressing well sign, it was something bad happening that would eventually culminate in my now “normal” fear.
Our little boy had lost another part of his Mummy on that birthday. I didn’t know then, but the fear, the sickness, the anxiety, had made me forget how to override my emotions, and, although we celebrated his special day-and I have photos proving we did-I barely remember it. I pretty much missed my sons 4th birthday because of what was happening to me.
8 more months of this feeling, 8 more months of a daily anxiety, a panic actually, that this would be my last day of being pregnant. Every time the baby moved, I worried it would be the last one I felt. Dreams, terrible horrible nightmares, of bleeding, pain, lost babies, plagued me for months.
I don’t remember those months for anything other than the fear and emotion. I couldn’t tell you from memory, what we did with our son for the majority of it, but once again, I have photos convincing and reassuring me that we did do things!
Our daughter was born, easily, with little complication, and all the fear and anxiety from the pregnancy was gone. My son could have had his Mummy back. Instead, she was replaced with a sad Mummy. A Mummy that was anxious and sad in general, rather that for the reasons she’d felt during her pregnancies.
He still never saw me cry. Not even on the worst days.
And he’s never seen me cry. Now, 6 years (and 8 months) old, he’s not seen me cry once.
The Mummy he once knew, however, when he was his sisters age, is gone. He doesn’t remember her, he was too small. He assumes this is always the Mummy he’s had. And, I think that hurts me more than anything. Because, I’d love to be that Mummy I once was. I’m still fun (his friends say I’m hilarious-and I’d have to agree with them-I’m a hoot!) But I miss that person, that woman, that wife, that daughter, that friend, I used to be.
Following my miscarriages, not once was I offered aftercare in the form of someone to speak to, someone to listen, helplines, information leaflets-nothing. I firmly believe I would not suffer with mental health issues now, so badly, had I been offered these aftercare services as soon as I’d had my miscarriages.
This needs to change. People, women, partners, families, they need help following such an awful trauma, and there shouldn’t be any reason why they’re not offered any.
Help save someones mummy, someones wife, friend, daughter, and help raise awareness and funds to aid research into these aftercare services and baby loss.
For support and advice from Tommy’s the baby charity, click here
For support and advice from The Miscarriage Association, click here