Sue S lost her baby in 1979. She shares her thoughts here.
I still sometimes dwell on the fact that I am in a way a mother of two, but the other 'child' is not known by anyone or acknowledged in any way, except by me, as my husband has now died.
I lost my baby in 1979. I had just started a new job and was asked in my interview (as they did then) if I was pregnant. Laughingly I assured them I wasn’t, but 6 weeks later I had discovered I was pregnant, worked out my dates, was making plans with my husband and then had a week of lower back pain (which my mother thought wasn’t right but said nothing), and lost the baby at home.
I call the cluster of cells at nearly 12 weeks ‘my baby’, because as far as I am concerned, that is what I lost both in physical and psychological terms. In those days I had to wait until nearly 8 weeks to miss two periods to be reasonably sure I was pregnant, never mind know the gender.
The doctor whom my husband eventually called out said casually that what I would experience would be like a bad period bleed – but I was ‘in labour’ for the same length of time it took to deliver my son when he was born, and very frightened and distressed, as was my husband. When I felt I should do, I sat on the toilet, with my husband gripping my hand from the other side of the bathroom door.
At a check-up later in the week, another doctor asked if I had checked if ‘everything had come away’? I asked how I could have done that, and apparently I should have miscarried into a bucket and examined the contents!! I was told that ‘if I developed a temperature I would have an infection and have to go to hospital for a scrape’ which I was determined wouldn’t happen, and actually didn’t.
The constant responses by everyone that ‘I was young and could try again’ seemed to ignore the fact I had just lost my child, because it made others feel better to reduce it to having the flu or suchlike.
It took another two years to fall pregnant with my son, not helped, I believe, because I was so tense at the thought of it not happening again.
I still sometimes dwell on the fact that I am in a way a mother of two, but the other ‘child’ is not known by anyone or acknowledged in any way, except by me, as my husband has now died. A sadness within me that still has the power to reduce me to tears (as I am writing this). I would welcome a way to acknowledge those children who didn’t make it to full term, as they have in their parents’ hearts.