Warning, this post may trigger emotions for you, the reader. Please contact someone for support if you feel you need to. I will include some more links at the bottom of this post for Australian readers.
I have two of the most wonderful boy children. Master 7 and Master 4.
I can, and in other posts I will, regale you with tales of their adventures and misadventures whilst I revel in the fun and games of parenting them. They break my heart and heal my heart, they bring me the greatest joy and amusement and are the cause of endless anxiety, stress and frustration. Through the task of parenting them, I feel like I get to experience the world in high definition, seeing, hearing and feeling things that, childless, I would of only dimly been aware of, if at all.
The decision to have childen was an ongoing conversation in our house. Hubby and I are often brutally honest with each other and the conversation about having children was no exception. Then we decided to try.
Master 7 arrived whole and healthy after many miscarriages. Some were quite early, and some were later in the pregnancy. I experienced each of them at home, alone and mostly only my husband knew of our loss.
It is not exactly something you Facebook, and I was never sure how to deal with it myself, let alone letting someone else in.
We thought we were destined to explore the alternative methods of becoming parents until Master 7 arrived happy and healthy.
After the surprise of Master 7, we kept trying. The conversation that was continuing was now one around adoption, fostering and assistance with reproduction.
More miscarriages followed. Almost it became expected as I fell pregnant time and again, with no completion of the pregnancies. Then came the complicated journey of Master 4.
Master 4 was a twin. Originally I was pregnant and was due at Christmas. Having had many previous miscarriages, we were, as usual reserved with the news of being pregnant.
I miscarried. At work. Ugh.
A few weeks later I mentioned to my girlfriend that I felt not quite right after my miscarriage. After so many, I was accustomed to an expected recovery that I hadn’t followed this time. She joked that maybe I was pregnant again……..I laughed and continued to enjoy her company.
A few days later I succumbed to curiosity and found the pregnancy test was positive!
A long story short, I was pregnant again or still. You see, before I lost my last baby, I had conceived again. This pregnancy had clung on during my miscarriage and held on tight.
Then it didn’t. Another miscarriage. My grief was expected and immeasurable. It was fringed with frustration and shame. It was the same grief I knew so well.
I had an ultrasound to confirm this miscarriage because I had now become complicated. Hubby did not even attend as it had all become routine for us. And the sonographer started one of the toughest ultrasounds that they do in their practice, the one telling you that you are no longer pregnant.
Except I was. There was a little heart beat chugging away. Master 4 was still there. Losing his twin, and surviving the miscarriage that happened before, Master 4 would go on to give me quite a complicated, risky pregnancy and a subsequently a life threatening (to me) birth. He’s gorgeous, boisterous, full of spirit and spunk.
I get asked quite often if I will have any more. The answer is no. Quite simply, after a pregnancy plagued by complications, and after I almost died having Master 4, my husband politely suggested, when the fight for my life was over, that we were done. I agreed.
Mine is not the saddest, or most dire reproductive story. And I didn’t tell you this for sympathy. I don’t particularly like sympathy. Empathy, yes, but sympathy, no.
I tell you to hopefully start a conversation about pregnancy loss so the people in your life can talk about it when and how they want. Lift the shame, so that loss isn’t compounded.
I wish I could have talked to someone about the irony of post natal depression after FINALLY delivering Master 7. I wish I could have talked about the different types of grief responses I had after each miscarriage. I wish I could have talked to anyone about my birth experience with Master 4. Nearly dying, and 6 weeks in hospital fighting for my life with a gorgeous healthy boy, but nobody there to reassure me or help me work through it significantly changed my birth experience.
Those many many pregnancy losses – eached grieved for in their own way, but done in complete privacy, with nobody knowing to support me when something triggers renewed grief. My profession brings me constantly into contact with otehr people struggling with their own loss, and sometimes it is too close to home. Sometimes my cloak of compassion and empathy is not enough.
I don’t need to analyse it anymore, but maybe one day, I would like to. And maybe someone out there does need to.
Loss is loss, and is grief worthy. It shouldn’t be shameful and it should be talked about.