My miscarriage was easily up there with one of the hardest experiences of my life. My heart was prepared for a baby. I was prepared for a baby. My partner and my family were prepared for this baby. When I realised there was no longer a heartbeat, I felt my heart stop too in that moment.
When I realised there was no longer a heartbeat, I felt my heart stop too in that moment.
It’s an eerie feeling – knowing that I was carrying my lifeless baby inside me for days before. I hated the feeling. I felt anxious about the discovery. I was sad, disappointed and felt strangely revolted at the same time too. How could I not know?
One of the most disturbing things I had to go through was the natural miscarriage that followed. Going through labour, passing clots and chunks of placenta…each time in agony while also wondering whether the next bloody chunk would be my baby.
One actually was. There it was. I saw this tiny little developing human with arms and legs visible, encased in its sac. I don’t think I can ever truly shake that image from my mind.
My Whole Life Changed. I Changed.
My whole life changed losing that baby – and it WAS a baby, in spite of what people would tell me for days and months afterwards. I was told things like “oh, you’ll have another one”, and “you can keep trying” or “it wasn’t REALLY a baby yet”. Even though it was just over 9 weeks along, that baby was being created inside me. I gave it its first chance at life. I wanted that baby with all my heart. It was a baby in my mind, in my soul, in my heart.
I know a lot of people cared and were concerned for me. Even so, it’s a very isolating feeling when noone really understands what you are going through. It’s lonely when noone really says the right thing. You feel pushed into a dark corner every time someone says something to trivialise the extent of your loss – even if they didn’t intend it.
I’m not going to lie. My grief turned into depression for a time. I remember holding a friend’s newborn just a month after having a miscarriage, and trying to look like I was happy for them. Of course I was happy for them on the inside, but I was holding back tears and deep down I wanted to scream my own pain from the rooftops. I wish I hadn’t had gone that day to see them. I tried doing the right thing for them, worried they’d be offended. What I should’ve cared more about was ME and my own feelings. I mattered, my baby mattered, my loss mattered. That situation plummeted me into a dark hole of depression for a good while.
I struggled for some time to get back into my job. Nothing mattered any more the way it used to. I looked around me and all I could think about was my baby that I had lost. Even more so, I was ready to be a mum. It had become my goal and my sense of being. That feeling hadn’t disappeared. So how could I go back to having business goals, when these feelings of family and love had taken over? I wasn’t the same person any more. I couldn’t go back.
This is How I Healed.
One of the biggest challenges for me was realising that noone but myself could truly help me move forward. I needed to decide what would help me, and take the steps towards getting there. This is what I tried, and what helped me.
1. I FOUND AND SPOKE TO SOMEONE WHO HAD RECENTLY GONE THROUGH A MISCARRIAGE.
I can’t put enough emphasis on how much power there was in this. Researching forums, and reading about stuff is great, but talking to someone around my own age and in real life who had been through losing a baby just made sense. Being able to connect to a real person also made my experiences real, and all my emotions suddenly felt ‘normal’ . Rather than being told that my baby wasn’t ‘real’ or that i should ‘move on and keep trying for a baby’, here instead was this person telling me that my emotions were valid and shared.
2. I STOPPED TALKING TO SOME FRIENDS..
This was hard to do, but I had changed. My grief meant that I couldn’t handle listening to things like issues with boys, or wondering what shade of hair to try next. At the same time I couldn’t handle pity either, or negative comments or advice about what I should and shouldn’t do. I needed to be around new and positive energy, so that I could shift my own focus too.
3. I STARTED SOMETHING NEW.
I couldn’t just go back to my old existence, because I had changed as a person. I needed a new project in my life to shift my focus to. For me, it was a creative endeavor that I could put my mind, heart and soul into. I channeled my feelings into it, and it became a sort of healing for me too.
4. I DECIDED TO PUSH THE CONCEPT OF ‘TIME’ ASIDE.
I think we are trained to think of our body clocks as ‘ticking’ and time is such a huge issue. I realised how much pressure this had put on me. So, I forgot about time. I took off my watch, and I stopped calculating ovulation times, stopped hoping I’d be pregnant this month or the next. I also stopped expecting myself to have ‘healed’ by the end of this week, this month, or the next month.
5. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. I GAVE MYSELF TIME TO HEAL.
I can’t even remember the last time I had given myself time to heal. It was beautiful to do. To take time out from work and the world. To curl up on the couch and watch Netflix. To go for gentle walks. To draw and paint. To meditate or pray. To just be with ‘me’.
Why don’t we take time to do this more? Healing takes time, but you have to give it time.
It doesn’t have be a huge holiday. Sometimes just a few days of leave or a weekend, when you can just remember ‘you’. Do something that makes you happy that you haven’t done in a long time. This is honestly the greatest and best advice I can give to women who have experienced what I have.
I will never forget my experience, or my baby – but giving myself a chance to heal also helped me learn how to accept my experience, live with it, and in turn live again.
I feel stronger now for getting through this experience of my life. Giving it time, being realistic, and taking it one step at a time was the best thing I did for myself.