Miscarriage. Something that happens so often, and yet so rarely spoken about around the grieving. Why do we not speak about it? And when it is spoken about, it’s hush-hush, swept under the rug, or spoken about in whispered tones. Why?
I lost my baby at 9 weeks. Years later, after the birth of two healthy daughters, that memory is still achingly raw. Yes, it was a small baby. People were alarmingly quick to downplay my feelings by telling me exactly that … that it was so small, so ‘unborn’ … that miscarriage is ‘as common as the cold’. As common as the cold. Someone actually said that to me … and that I should ‘get over it’ because it was ‘nothing major’ and ‘quite everyday’. But it wasn’t everyday. Not to me. I had dreams and hopes for that little soul.
No words can take away the pain, the sense of loss and terrible sadness that envelops your mind and body when you miscarry your baby. It is the closest I have ever come to wanting to end it all. My husband and eldest daughter carried me through that dark period of my life; I don’t want to think about where I would have been without their understanding, their love and support.
As they wheeled me out of theatre after my ‘evacuation’, my gynaecologist at the time assured me that I would be so fertile after this and that we would get pregnant in no time. It was the last thing I wanted to hear. But she wasted no time in getting me started on fertility treatments and I became fixated with wanting to ‘try again’. In retrospect, I realise that all I needed was time to mourn my loss.
That’s the only thing that can make your grief slightly better: time to heal. Not to forget, just to heal your body, your mind, your spirit. Even though time does not take away the memory. It’s still fresh in my mind. Little things remind me of that lost little soul, and in my mind and heart I still call her Lentil.
I will never forget her.
So why do people not speak more openly about losing unborn babies? Why are they so quick to brush it off? Why do they weigh grief as if on scales? It was only a dog, only a cat, an unborn child, an old woman. It doesn’t matter as much. Doesn’t count as much.
And so they avoid the topic and your life goes back to ‘normal’ after your loss.
But loss is loss. There is no measure for it. And for those of us who have lost, that burden would be significantly less lonely and lighter to bear if those around us could just acknowledge it for what it is: a loss.
If someone you love has lost her unborn child, don’t ghost it, don’t ignore what has happened, don’t diminish her pain. Acknowledge it, speak about it. That little being that could one day have been a person in the world we all live and breathe in was already a complete person in her mother’s heart.
Tell her that you’re sorry for her loss, tell her you’re sending love and light to her and her family. These are simple words that will help ease our grief so that we can heal in time.
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