I had two early and one late miscarriage before I had my daughter, Isadora. Despite investigations I’ve never discovered why my babies didn’t make it. The little girl we lost almost five months into my third pregnancy was declared ‘perfect’ following the postmortem.
Sadly miscarriage is surprisingly common – it is thought to happen in 15-20% of recognised pregnancies – but it’s hard to imagine how devastating it is until you’ve experienced it yourself. We’re encouraged to keep our pregnancies secret until 12 weeks when it is ‘safe’ to announce it but what do you do when it doesn’t get that far? Why would you share the news that you’ve lost a baby when you hadn’t yet told anyone you were expecting?
By the time I was pregnant with Isadora I was definitely of the mindset that I was pregnant – wonderful – but not necessarily having a baby. We kept very calm and quiet about the pregnancy and inched our way through the milestones.
She was a very active baby (still is) which was reassuring and holding her in my arms, her little bottom in my hand in the birthing pool, is easily the best thing I’ve ever experienced.
The funny thing is I wouldn’t change what’s happened. I have learnt a lot about myself in the process. It is great comfort too that if it were not for what has happened it might not be her that is with us now. She’s everything we’ve ever hoped and dreamed for.
Here are a few things that helped me cope:
Love each other lots
It’s a rough time and it was an enormous comfort to me to have a wonderful husband and a happy relationship which was made stronger for the sadness. It brought us together in a way that made me confident that, whatever happened, we’d be ok. And that made me happy.
Curling up with a blanket and a box set is a great way to take your mind off what’s happened and get some rest. We were sent a blanket by my office and Game of Thrones by a best friend – so brilliant and thoughtful.
Whether early or late you need to allow yourself time to grieve your loss. With my early miscarriages I had known I was pregnant for only a few weeks – but that was long enough to have the due date in mind, plans and expectations for the year ahead.
Find the right care
When you suffer three or more miscarriages in a row it’s called recurrent miscarriage and you can be referred for tests on the NHS. There are some brilliant people working to discover the cause of recurrent miscarriage and I would do what you can to seek their help. I’m also a great believer in the power of the mind and I used alternative therapies such as acupuncture. It helped me to feel I was taking positive steps towards a successful pregnancy.
Talk to your good friends
I found it really helped. It’s more difficult to process something unless you talk and share your feelings. I was so lucky to have the most incredibly supportive friends and family. Whether you choose to share with one person, or several, I really believe it helps to make sense of the feelings to talk.
This was the hardest thing of all for me – I just wanted to be pregnant again as soon as possible. Whether you have a natural miscarriage, an ERPC operation or, in the case of a late miscarriage, induction, it’s going to take its toll on you physically as well as emotionally. Chances are you will go on to have a successful pregnancy next time, so spoil yourself for the now.
Find the positives
Hard to do but important for your sanity. I was very grateful for having got pregnant quickly each time when so many people struggle.
Without being too annoying about it, try to focus on all the things you DO have, not those that you don’t. Having had miscarriages I have an amazing appreciation for every miraculous baby and know that I will be so grateful for any more babies we might have. Motherhood suddenly seems to me a gift, not a given, and that makes it all the more special.