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Sharing Stories – Longing for a Child

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Maya Angelou

In the beginning I wasn’t going to write this story. Then I began to write it but stopped and started to move on. But I want to write it because I’m really starting to see and feel the benefit of sharing stories.

Sharing a story is firstly very therapeutic for me. Somehow releasing it into the world lightens the load and gives me perspective. Secondly I feel that sharing your story can be so beneficial to others. I’m writing this one because somewhere out there in the world there is a woman who has had a similar experience to me and who is feeling lost, alone or unheard. We can take such comfort from knowing we are not alone, that other women have travelled our path and survived.

On the 12th March this year I sat with my husband in a waiting room feeling a little excited and a little anxious. I was 12 weeks pregnant and waiting to be called in for my scan. This was my fourth pregnancy since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago. Finally we are called in, I get up on the table, the Dr gets ready and I stare at the roof. I’m too nervous to stare at the giant screen on my right. A matter of seconds after the Dr starts his examination he says “I have to let you know that things aren’t going as they should be“. I shift my gaze to look at him. “I’m sorry, but I think it’s best just to tell you straight away‘.

Oh.

Okay.

Right…

It takes a moment to click into my head that the baby has died. I finally look aver at the screen and see the perfect silhouette of a baby at 8 weeks gestation. A perfect round head, a perfect arm, a little round belly, a little leg and then that pointy little bottom.

The Doctor is empathetic, quickly takes some measurements and makes arrangements for me to see my GP immediately. My husband and I are taken into a private room while we wait. I am in shock, I really thought this time might be different. I threw up just two hours ago for goodness sake! I have been sick and tired for weeks on end, day and night. There is an awkward moment in reception while we pay for the appointment and I’m standing next to a heavily pregnant woman and I have to force myself to look away.

We go to the GP and discuss options for the future. Previously I’ve miscarried at home but I opt for a D&C this time. The baby has been dead for about 4 weeks and I’m showing no signs at all of miscarrying naturally. Added to this is that in four days we are heading off on a family holiday that has been planned for months. It will also be the first holiday we’ve had in two years.

Two days later at 8am I arrive at the local hospital. The plan is to be admitted and take some medication at around 9.30am that will basically help to get the process starting. It initiates uterine contractions and bleeding. It takes two hours to work, so the procedure is planned for midday. The day turns out to be a series of delays and I don’t get into theatre until 4pm. It’s an emotional day but thankfully there is a woman in the bed beside me waiting for a D&C as well. We strike up a conversation and pass the time telling stories about our children and grieving our lost babies.

At 4.30pm I wake from the deepest and most relaxed slumber I can ever remember. Amongst the sadness I feel some relief that it’s all over with. It has felt strange and disturbing walking around for two days knowing I’m carrying a baby inside me that is no longer alive.

Having had previous miscarriages I’ve gotten to know my emotional ‘timetable’. I know that the first day I’ll be in shock. The following 3-4 days I’ll feeling surprisingly at peace and accepting of the situation. The hard part comes later. I’ll get to the depression and the anger. I swing wildly between them. It’s hard not to compare yourself with other women and families. Hearing pregnancy and birth announcements are particularly difficult. Seeing a mother and her children at the park and imagining how old your babies would be now. And I get angry, so angry. And I don’t know what to do with that. The ‘good girl’ is so heavily ingrained in me that even admitting to myself that I’m angry and jealous is hard work, let alone admitting it to anyone else. It just feels so UNFAIR! But sometimes we travel down a path in life that we didn’t think we would. Sometimes we don’t find the man of our dreams, sometimes having children isn’t as easy as we thought it would be and sometimes relationships fail when we thought they’d last forever.

Those have been my biggest lessons. Learning first of all to acknowledge my thoughts and emotions and secondly to accept them without judgment. This is how it is and this is how I feel and that’s ok. My instincts have been to either avoid and ignore those feelings or to grip them tightly and hold them so close that I feel like I’m drowning. That I just want to curl up into a big deep dark hole and never see the outside world.

If this is you, just know that it’s ok. The best thing a friend ever said to me was “Go gently and with love“. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time and space and do whatever you need to do to make this time easier. I found I needed to back away from some lovely friends who are pregnant because it was so hard for me to see them. I wrote to them and explained why and they’ve been very understanding. It’s not forever, but for now it helps me get through the tough bit. You may have a few days where you start to feel like your old self and then the depression comes down again. It’s just a rollercoaster of a ride.

I highly recommend reading this post about infertility. And also this one about losing a child. They helped me to feel that what I’m feeling is ok, that I’m not the only one.

Go gently and with love…

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23 thoughts on “Sharing Stories – Longing for a Child

  1. Dee Wall on said:

    I love you you know xxx

  2. Oh, Kate…. such a beautiful, yet sad and familiar blog.. with gentle love, and hugs to you xxxx

  3. kristykos on said:

    It was although my thoughts were put into words, I am extremely proud of your honesty and think you to be the bravest person I know.
    I was so scared of scans I would go alone, almost ashamed of the outcome. I still remember that empty feeling and the poor radiographer, not knowing what to say. My mind went into planning, trying to control what happened next.
    With Jax I had only two scans, 12 weeks and 20 weeks, I couldn’t bear anymore and I rarely saw the doctor, I lost faith that they knew anything and began to trust my body instead. Jax was pregnancy number 5, including Max, and I still struggle with depression when I know I should be over the moon and happy, the grief seems to linger, I have not laughed with my heart . I think it must still be mourning, and the guilt that although my kids are my all and I love them eternally, I cant help how I feel.

    • I don’t feel brave at all Kristy and am so surprised when people say that. I almost went alone too, even though this one felt different and I thought everything was ok, I just had this fear in my heart. I’m starting to doubt what I know and feel. It really felt ok, so many people say that if you’ve got morning sickness then everythings ok but that’s not really the case at all, that just means youve got HCG still being pumped around the body.
      How I dearly wish you weren’t on the otherside of the country and I could give you a big real life hug!
      You are a beautiful woman and a wonderful mother – never forget that. And what you’re feeling just is what it is – it’s ok. Please be kind to yourself xxx

      • kristykos on said:

        I really miss warm hugs from friends, snd I have a feeling the tears would flow if we gave eachother such a hug xxxx we both have alot of healing to.do and I am very confident that we will both find joy in the future. What a waste highschool was not being in your company…love k

      • I’ve just been thinking the same thing about highschool. Perhaps one day we’ll get to make up for lost time xxx

  4. Thank you for sharing your story, and for telling it like it really is. Not an easy thing to do. (also, thank you for the two amazing links in your last paragraph). x

  5. One thing that really annoys me is when people tell me Im selfish for only having one child, and why aren’t you going to have another child??? Sometimes people are so insensitive and have no idea……

    • I deliberately chose not to ask women questions about future children now because from experience I know just how hard it can be to answer them. You just don’t know what another person has been through. But I know i have a lot in the past.
      I think that’s why telling stories is important, so that there can be a greater understanding of the issues and emotions many women face. And that we can feel able to talk about it more freely.

  6. sorry, above post is off centre…… just venting privately (in a way)

  7. DO NOT get me started 🙂 sending love and hugs your way xoxo

  8. I am so sorry for you going through this so many times. My son ‘s heart stopped at 22 weeks last June. Saying all from kindness if you are wanting to try again try an accupuncturist. Accupuncture has been proven wonderful for resolving it. From experience I couldn’t live without mine. Peace on your journey.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss Anne, how difficult that time must have been for you. Thankyou for your advice, I’ve been thinking of going to an acupuncturist. I went several times at the end of my pregnancy with my daughter and I felt it was very beneficial. xxx

  9. Marija on said:

    Hi Kate, with gratitude I thank you, thank you thank you, you are a voice for all women who have lost their unborn children. The most we do for ourselves is acknowledge that what we are feeling is OK, there is no right or wrong and it is simply unfair, the acceptance of unfairness for me has been the hardest, however we can even find solice in that…love and light..x

  10. My biggest hurdles too Marija, acknowledgment and acceptance. And just hearing someone say to me ‘That is so unfair’ helps to validate what you are feeling, because there is also so much guilt wrapped up all of this too.
    Much love to you on your journey xxx

    • Marija on said:

      I found that guilt is such a strange emotion at a time like this, we did nothing wrong to cause it (even though we seek for ‘something’), and yet we feel guilt that we couldnt carry our child/children through, this will also pass in time…give yourself permission to sit with your emotions and never hold back on your tears, your precious soul just simply telling you ‘let it out girl’..love and light..xx

  11. My beautiful Kate….my heart goes out to you. I feel so guilty that my road to motherhood was such a simple one. If I could have taken on some of your grief and loss I would have done so gladly. My love and thoughts are with you…and always will be. Katie xx

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