This week is baby loss awareness week. My timeline becomes filled with posts and statuses sharing experiences, that so many have gone through and in many cases, are still going through. Personally, I find it increasingly difficult to speak about this subject. This year seems harder than ever and I’ve been thinking about why.
Partly, I think it’s because I actually feel incredibly lucky. Not just because I have three healthy children, but even looking back on the time that we were trying to become and grow our family, I can see that the issues we faced were nothing incomparison to the pain and heartbreak that others face. I think being part of the blogging world has allowed me to read and follow other people’s stories and whilst people say that levels of grief shouldn’t be compared and we all have our own experiences, I can’t help but look at others and feel, I was so lucky. I have never had to come home from hospital with no baby, I have never held my child in my arms while they slip away.
I lost hopes and plans and thoughts, but I don’t think I ever really thought of my lost pregnancies as lost babies. I don’t know their due dates, I don’t mark their birthdays. I would need a calendar now to be able to work out their ages and what they might be doing. All of that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hugely affected at the time and that it didn’t massively inform my experience of pregnancy from then on. That was perhaps the most lasting effect of my miscarriages.
My story has given me the opportunity to work with and champion Tommy’s and learn more about the far reaching work they do in this area. It has bought me into contact with some amazing people, such as Leigh from Headspace Perspective, the winner of the Mum’s Voice Award earlier this year. The strength and resilience that she and her husband have shown, is really something to behold. She has written for Tommy’s this week for Baby Loss Awareness Week. As has Dr Alex Heazell. Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre. His post was really interesting and inspiring and really highlights how Tommy’s covers not only support, but also medical care and research
Last week, Tommy’s happened to share the video I shot with them on their Facebook page. I didn’t notice it myself, but someone on Instagram recognised me and mentioned it, so I had a look and by the time I did, there were comments on the post. They were all lovely comments thanking me for sharing, but one has stuck with me ever since. Someone who was 31 weeks pregnant following recurrent miscarriages said how she felt exactly the way I had described, but had been unable to put it into words and by sharing my story I had helped her find those words.
It reminded me that, even though my story is over and had a happy ending, there are many others who are still at the beginning, middle or end of theirs. They are still right in the thick of it. Still gripped by disappointment, fear and anxiety, as I was. When I think of that time, I simply breath a sigh of relief that it is all over. I may feel a little wistful that my experience robbed me of some of the joy and excitement many others feels when they are expecting, but mostly I feel that it is finished and I am glad.
Talking and sharing my story, mostly with you lovely blog readers, helped me heal so much. My only responsilbility now is to keep sharing and finding words for those who are still so far into it that they cannot find the words for themselves or to perhaps give some insight for their loved ones, who don’t understand or don’t know what to say.
So, I couldn’t let this week pass without some words to mark it. For me, the pain is no longer raw and visceral, but you know, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. For others, it still is and that’s ok too. We should get to feel what we feel, for as long as we feel it. We are all different. How we process is different. None of our feelings are any less valid because of when they come, or how strong they are or even if they fade. It’s ok if they fade, it doesn’t make our experience or our past any less important. It may just be past.
If you are still in the thick of it or even if you find this week takes you back to your own experiences, I would urge you to explore the Tommy’s website, where I guarantee you will find something which resonates. You can find all my own posts on miscarriage here.