Right, let’s get the sad stuff straight out of the way: I had a miscarriage in June of this year. I wrote a piece on it for xojane as it was happening; the article was pouring out of me and truly acted as my own personal therapy.
I posted said piece to various social media outlets, but then thought better of it and took it down. In the short space of time it was live on my Facebook and Twitter, I received a huge number of well wishes from friends and strangers.
But, what totally took me by surprise was the number of girls and guys (their partners, obviously) who sent me messages all pretty much saying “I’ve miscarried too”, some of them more than once (one friend miscarried four times).
Out of my 400 or so friends on Facebook, over 20 emailed, saying they knew what I was going through. That they too had miscarried, that time will heal and this is one of the worst things I'd ever experience. I couldn’t get my head round how so many people I knew, some really well, who’d gone through this, and I'd had no idea.
And then, of course, amidst all the lovely comments on xoJane and xoJane UK, were scores for women who'd been through the same thing, including one woman who was also having a miscarriage right then.
The only time miscarriages seem to be discussed is when someone in the public eye loses a baby: see Lily Cooper née Allen, Kelly Brook, Nicole Kidman and Pamela Anderson. But then, is there an appropriate time and place to sit down with coffee and cake and have a good old chin wag about them?
Well yes, actually. I did exactly this with my best friend who was visiting from abroad who miscarried a smattering of weeks before me. We sat on my couch and literally compared notes, laughing at the similarities and both vowing that we’d carry on, be bright and try, try again.
But in all honesty, I was fine, and oddly comforted by the amount of young and healthy friends and acquaintances who too had lost babies for no apparent reason. It felt like I had joined a secret club, of which nobody really knew who the other members were, but we all had the same thing in common.
Looking back on the pregnancy now, I wonder if I subconsciously realised the symptoms of miscarriage. My belly wasn’t getting big, I could sleep on my stomach, my boobs had stopped hurting, people kept asking “how are you feeling?” and my reply was always “fine”, because I did feel fine. I felt totally normal. But then I did with my first baby, so I put these ideas in a mythical cabinet, locked it away and shoved it to the darkest depths of my brain.
But after the event, I did what I believe is the ‘normal’ thing to do, and questioned if I had made it happened.
I officially lost the baby around the eight week. When I found out I was pregnant, I was five weeks gone. I stopped smoking the day before I peed on the positive test strip. I didn’t take things easy. I trimmed all the hedges in our front garden which was foolishly energetic. I ran. I ate runny eggs. I ate parma ham. I drank coffee. I did lots of the things pregnant women are supposed to avoid.
In January of this year, I saw a psychic (she’s been on Oprah!) who knew things about my husband and I she could not have possibly known. She told me in no uncertain terms I would have a baby boy when my daughter was five (she would have been three and a half when the baby was due).
This really played on my mind. The psychic didn’t see the baby the was due in January 2013, or maybe she knew I would lose it. Alternatively, she could have just been a big fat fraud and I’m a gullible prick.
My mourning period was over within a week. I returned to work eight days after the miscarriage. Too soon?
I had the D&C evacuation procedure on a Wednesday (this cleared out whatever was left behind in my uterus). I spent the next day in bed under doctor's orders. I took a multitude of antibiotics and slept while my mum took care of me. Apart from the incessant bleeding, I was mentally upbeat.
I was waiting for despair and sadness to overwhelm me, and the next day it hit me. Grief swept over me like a poisonous cloud of doom. I put my head under my duvet and sobbed until you could wring out my tissues. I couldn’t even reach out to the tissue box right next to the bed and get another one. All I could do was cry.
Saturday was a new day, and I was fine. I’ve said I was fine a lot. I know that. But I was. Wasn’t I meant to be having a breakdown of sorts? After the D&C, I bled for three weeks. Three. Weeks. Every single time I did a wee, it was a constant reminder staring back at me from my underwear.
I didn’t ask at the hospital what would happen afterwards, so I have no idea if this was normal. Once I finally stopped bleeding for a whole week, I had a very peculiar ‘black’ period. That also lasted two weeks. But I had nothing to compare this too.
What do you google to find out if this is the norm? ‘How long do I bleed after miscarriage? What will my period be like after losing a baby?’ We’re all individual, so there’s no right answer. Yahoo! Answers, you let me down!
Now, the only time I get choked up is when I see the same women on my commute to work, whose pregnancies are progressing nicely. I’m watching them grow, and find myself jealous and longing for their expanding bellies.
I also teared up when watched the movie ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’. An incredibly foolish choice seeing as it’s all about people having babies and at one point a young woman miscarrying. In my defence, the only reason I watched it was because my copy of 'Magic Mike' wasn’t working. Curses.
I know it’s taken me a long time to get here, but this is my point: I had no idea so many people I knew had lost babies. Cousins, aunties, my mum and dad’s mothers, my best friend, they’ve all been there.
Of course people don’t go around broadcasting it, and now I really understand why people keep schtum about being preggers until the 12 week mark, but it’s not something to be ashamed of.
I suppose that when you tell someone you’ve miscarried, what else is there to say about it? Nothing. But I also feel that when it is talked about, it’s in hushed tones, like a conspiracy of sorts. And it simply shouldn’t be.
What do you think? Have you had a miscarriage? Did talking about it help? Or did you just want everyone to shut the hell up about it? Tell us!