An account of the things I learnt when I was told I would, most likely, lose my baby

From the moment I saw those two lines, I started dreaming of my baby, planning for their life ahead, the little person they would become... For that to be taken away at any stage was utterly heartbreaking.

That this news completely flawed me. No matter how much I’d braced myself for the possibility of bad news, the reality hit me like a tidal wave. From the moment I saw those two lines, I started dreaming of my baby, planning for their life ahead, the little person they would become. It doesn’t matter how many weeks it had been, for that to be taken away at any stage was utterly heartbreaking.

That the waiting was more torturous than the news itself. Sleepless nights and drawn out days. Willing it to be over while holding on to a slither of hope that it might just be okay. Every bit of energy focussed on putting on a brave face and turning up to work when, in reality, I was terrified of going to the bathroom.

That this is so much worse in a pandemic when there are no distractions, when I couldn’t see my friends or family. When I was forced to sit with all the symptoms of pregnancy and a hole in my stomach, endlessly googling “how do you know if your baby has stopped growing?”, “If you’re told your baby is too small but you still have symptoms will it be okay?”, and other questions that send you down a rabbit hole of hope and despair… all the while trying to be resilient when resilience was already in short supply.

That miscarriage is common, but is shrouded with stigma.

That it felt like a horrible secret, and the only way I found to alleviate this was by telling people what was happening. The first time felt impossibly hard, a bitter pill of what could have been. Gradually it became easier, as the people around me found ways to be there at a time when I needed them the most.

That my friends and family often didn’t know what to say, but their ‘thinking of you’ and ‘just checking in’s meant everything. So did the memes, cards, and other gestures of warmth… a shower cap sent as a reminder of a silly in-joke. As much as possible, I tried to accept this love and kindness and let it wrap me in a hug from afar.

That a day of annual leave wasn’t enough to process what happened, no matter how resilient I thought I was. A month on and the grief has caught up, and suddenly I’m overwhelmed and exhausted – I wish I had taken more time.

That social media would troll me with its algorithms and accounts for the perfect pregnancy. The targeted ads and apps designed for my bump and future motherhood.

That the path to recovery is not easy. One day I was laughing at the dark irony of ‘push it’ playing in the waiting room, the next I was hugging my knees on the bathroom floor, tears streaming.

That it is perfectly normal to feel anger with no direction. Sadness as friends announce their pregnancies, and embarrassment at my body which had let me down.

That the miscarriage itself would be painful and traumatic, thankfully a friend had told me not be afraid of the pain… had I not known I would certainly have called for help. At the time I was just over 11 weeks.

That my saviour would be the experiences of others, the raw and unfiltered stories that acknowledged the depth of my agony. At a time when I’ve never felt so alone, they provided comfort through collective healing, a community of strong women holding each other’s hands.

It will be some time until I can open the envelope on my dresser that contains our early scan. Each day brings with it new emotions triggered by things I couldn’t predict; the date we would have announced our news, the jumper my mum knitted she’s going to give to a neighbour.

I hope that by sharing my experience I can be a light for someone else, in the meantime I am going to hold on to the belief that my time will come soon.

Emily

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