October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It’s a month where we try to diminish the taboo surrounding the loss of a child, be that through SIDS, stillbirth, or miscarriage. Of the latter, I’ve just had my 4th.
In the last 5 years, I’ve birthed 3 gorgeously healthy babies and I’ve lost four. No one can tell me why. “Just bad luck”, they say. How can someone be that unlucky? It just doesn’t seem fair. To have first lost a parent and then four tiny beating hearts from inside me. Why? Why me?
A year ago, I wrote my #misCOURAGE story. It details the struggle we went through. The painful and long and dark journey we had to endure, to bring us to Rufus. He was worth it. He was absolutely worth every bit of the agony we faced. So when we thought about having another, having the 4th that I’d always planned for our family, we decided that, ultimately, it was worth the risk. I realised I was pregnant again before we’d even really decided to try. The excitement, as expected, was twisted amongst sharp, dangerous barbs of worry and fear. Every twinge. Every niggle. The hours spent obsessively searching google for answers. For reassurance. When the bleeding began again, at 6 weeks this time, it wasn’t a shock. It was simply the bad news I’d been expecting, but hoped with everything I had, that I wouldn’t receive.
So what now? The one that somehow stuck, our most incredible, beautiful baby boy Rufus, turns one this month. And it’s apt that he should have arrived in October. After so much loss. A rainbow after the storm. But now, the storm is closing in again and I can run away from it, or I can weather it in the hope that I might find another rainbow on the other side.
I know it’s difficult for some to understand. That I already have three, so it shouldn’t matter. That that should somehow dampen my grief. That I’m already so lucky. And I know that. Don’t you think I’m already painfully aware that perhaps I don’t have the right to grieve as much as those who don’t have any at all? I know that, despite everything, I’m blessed beyond measure. But for two whole weeks, fourteen entire days, I was a mother of 4. For two weeks, I thought about sleeping arrangements and names and tackling next summer with a newborn and their 3 older siblings. And now that’s all gone. Snatched away with no warning. No answers. I don’t want it to be. I desperately don’t want it to be gone, but it is. So where do I go from here?
There will be comments and there will be concern, but I want you to know that I’m ok. I’m hurting and I’m lost, but I’m still ok. I have to be because there are people that I need to be ok for and they make it easier to be brave. They tether me when there is a danger of drifting. My people. My loves.
One day it won’t hurt anymore. I hope.
We have to end the stigma. We have to make it ok to talk about these things. I was miscarrying on the school run and no one knew. How many other women are out there, do you think, just going about their daily business when behind the facade, they’re broken. But we don’t tell people. We don’t talk about it. It’s not something that people want to hear. But I want to tell you. I don’t want to pretend it never happened. I don’t want to deny the existence of something that already held my heart.
I started this post not long after the bleeding began. The words flowed easily because, in truth, this post was one I had been preparing myself to write for almost a fortnight. I’d been keeping a diary that I’d hoped to share at some point. One about pregnancy after you’ve experienced loss. The last entry, I talked about how I’d resigned myself for the worst because something inside me just knew.
This day has been long. I’ve experienced a week’s worth of emotions in just 12 hours. Maybe that’s what happens when miscarriage is something you’ve experienced all too often? I’ve done the devastation. The anger. The acceptance. And now I’m in the grief. The hollow feeling that’s left when something you wanted so badly is suddenly torn away. It’s a feeling that I know, from experience, never fully leaves you. It lingers on the periphery. A dull ache. Life still goes on around it. It has to. School runs must be done. Dinner made. Conversations had. And in time, it fades. But it doesn’t go completely. It always haunts you with thoughts of “what if”.
So here we are at the end of today. Thursday 5th October. The day I lost our 4th. But on this day, I put my 3 living children to bed. I tucked them in and kissed them goodnight. I squeezed them and I loved them, just like I get to do every single night. And because of that, this will not break me.