Trigger warning. This post is about secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.
I want to start this blog post with a disclaimer. I am one of ‘those people’. One of the lucky ones who decided to start a family and four months later saw those two pink lines. 36 weeks later, we took home a baby, no loss, no heartbreak.
For two years we lived like those people, in blissful ignorance thinking we had a choice over, if and when, to grow our family.
We now feel a world away from the people we were, I have firmly taken my place as part of the 1 in 100 club after losing four consecutive pregnancies over the last two years.
I’m not going to beat around the bush; these four losses have destroyed me. They have changed me in weird ways, made me so much weaker and often driven a wedge between family, friends and myself. They have also affected my ability to be the mum I once was, and this is why I am putting this out there, in the hope that it brings some comfort or reassurance to anyone else in a similar sinking ship.
As mentioned, I have a son. He is my child so it goes without saying that he’s the love of my life and I won’t come on here and not accept how god damn lucky we are to have him. However, there have been times during all this loss that I have wanted to be as far away from him as I could be. His demands, tireless energy, his inability not to scream or punch me in my no longer pregnant but still pregnant feeling tender boobs have left me feeling like I might implode - and often I have. I have yelled at him for being, well, four. I dragged him aggressively out of a softplay for pooing himself with tears streaming down both our faces because yes, it is annoying, but really, it was because I was miscarrying for the fourth time. I’ve stormed out of playgrounds because too many women pushed toddlers on swings with babies in slings, and I’ve sobbed on the walk home from preschool with him when the little ones were eagerly awaiting their older siblings.
Some days I have not been able to get out of bed. I have laid there crying, longing for the babies I have lost. Staring at a scan picture or at an empty space where the next-to-me crib should be. I have chosen to sit alone by the tree where we buried one of our losses rather than with my living breathing family.
The irony of all this is not lost on me. In those moments, I don’t want to be with my existing baby because I miss my non-existent babies. It makes no sense, yet it makes perfect sense.
I am not going to deny that coming home from the dreaded bad news scans to a small, warm, rosy-cheeked child eases some of the pain – it does and I appreciate how lucky we are. The initial shock and heartbreak are somewhat absorbed by that warmth, the challenge comes when they need you to be you; when you no longer know who you are.
I know this is going to be a hard read for some, and it will understandably annoy, I get that. I can assure you I’m not putting this out there for sympathy, I just want to alleviate some of the guilt and feelings of failure that I’ve felt, for other people who might be going through similar.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic and lockdown exacerbated all of this. There was no silence or space, no distraction, no routine and no support. The tears flowed freely in front of my confused and probably scared child, the rows with my partner escalated before his eyes and his life suffered not just because of lockdown but because I wasn’t coping with loss, lockdown and being a mum.
I recently started therapy with an amazing pregnancy loss charity and was given a questionnaire to fill in. One of the questions asked if I had become over protective of my existing child. As I ticked the no box I felt such immense guilt. Why wasn’t I responding in the ‘right’ way?
When I raised this with my therapist she wasn’t shocked at all, in fact she said I wasn’t the first to say this and that it was quite common. I cannot tell you how relieved I felt. That how I had been feeling and behaving was normal, acceptable, and natural.
This is why I wanted to share my story, because it is normal to find this hard. It is hard.
Thanks for reading.