After five miscarriages, Nicola shares the helpful and unhelpful things that people have said, and how she's now raising awareness to help others.
The big thing for me now is getting the information out there - letting women know that unfortunately, miscarriages can happen, but they aren’t alone.
I was 19 when I had my first miscarriage. I hadn’t planned to get pregnant and I only found out I was pregnant when I miscarried. The second one was 10 years later, in February 2015. This one hit me hard. My pregnancy was very wanted and we were on our honeymoon after having announced our pregnancy at the wedding. I was just under 12 weeks so nearly passed the first trimester and it never occurred to me that I would miscarry.
I struggled emotionally for a few months and found it very difficult to be around pregnant women, babies and even baby sections in shops. I was off work for about six weeks and found myself crying every other day.
I received flowers from work, cards and messages of support. My close family and friends were great. Everyone said how sorry they were for my loss. But as time went by and I was still upset, people would say stuff that didn’t help. I would be told, ‘at least you are young’ and ‘at least you can get pregnant.’ Or I would hear how it could have been worse, and that they knew someone who lost a baby at 24 weeks. That didn’t lessen my pain – I still lost my baby.
My mum was upset as she was preparing to become a gran for the first time. However, for people like your friends or cousins, they didn’t see it as a baby. For me, a baby was all I could see. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I had names and prams already picked.
There were lots of family gatherings my husband and I missed because we knew there would be babies present. I wasn’t ready to see babies. I couldn’t look at one without thinking I should have one. This caused some problems, but only because I wasn’t telling people about our reasons for not coming. I wish we had been more open. I wasn’t talking about it, so naturally people weren’t talking to us about it. I ended up writing a story and sent it to my family. Immediately they all phoned back in tears and said how sorry they were and that they didn’t know I was feeling about this. Now it is so much better, we talk about it all the time.
I expect the worst with every pregnancy because they have been so many miscarriages. With every pregnancy, I still tell my immediate family because if I am going to lose it I know I will need their support.
With time, I have found myself coping much better with every loss. Yes, they still hurt and I still have an occasional bad day where I’ll have a wee cry, but it’s rare now. With the help of the Miscarriage Association, my blog and my husband, I find myself in a much better, more positive place. I still want to have a baby, and still feel that it will happen for me eventually. I can now be genuinely happy for friends when they’re pregnant I and love being around babies and children! I can separate their baby from my baby.
The big thing for me now is getting the information out there – letting women know that unfortunately, miscarriages can happen, but they aren’t alone. I want women to know that it’s ok to feel sad and to feel angry. It’s okay if you have a good day after a loss where you realise that maybe you haven’t thought about it at all that day – you should never ever feel guilty about your emotions. Above all, women who are going through it need to know that it does get better.
Apart from my family I have found with each loss people contact you less. I also feel guilty for having so much time off work and wonder if people believe me! My managers have been excellent and really understanding. I do wonder if people have just got used to me having miscarriages now and think that I don’t get as upset because they are half expected. Every time it happens I hurt. I know sometimes people are scared to talk about it. However, it does help to talk, but I do also like to talk about other things too and have a laugh.