CW: Miscarriage, pregnancy loss.
I have a secret. But you already know. But in the regular world, I have a secret.
It’s something that doesn’t upset me as much as it used now I’ve had time to process and accept it, but when I have those days when it weighs on my mind, it weighs.
Not a lot of people in my everyday life know that I had a miscarriage. As many of you will understand, it’s a deeply personal matter and not everyone’s business unless you choose to share it with them. That being said, I firmly believe there needs to be more conversation around miscarriage and all other forms of losing a child.
Especially when it first happened and in the early days of processing it, it felt like I had a cardboard sign hanging from around the back of my neck with string. Saying: ‘I HAD A MISCARRIAGE.’ but only I could see it.
It’s so big an impact in your life you almost forget that other people don’t have a clue. In another way, it’s a comfort, as if you’re saying, ‘This is my pain. Stay away from it until I’m stronger.’
I remember seeing a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale TV Series, where Commander Joseph Lawrence (played by Bradley Whitford) is speaking with Emily (played by Alexis Bledel) about her son, whom she has not seen in years.
He describes how losing child, quite clearly insinuating first-hand experience, is like ‘losing a limb.’ I feel this is described perfectly. There is an emptiness there you learn to get used to. You will move forward, but it’s still there in the background.
I wish I could open up to some of people in my life (not including my immediate family and close friends who already know) and while I know they’d understand, I’m still apprehensive.
Like anyone who has gone through this can understand, it’s the fear of judgement. Now to provide some context, I’m in my mid-twenties, in a committed relationship but neither married (not that that matters much in today’s world) or actively trying for a baby.
It’s the first point and the latter that is the sticking point for me. The fear of being tarred with the following: ‘Just another irresponsible young person. You should have been more careful.’ that somehow, because ours wasn’t planned, that we somehow deserved it.
Now, I know I’ve mentioned this before and I know what you’re going to say. Who gives a shit what they think? And you’d be right. I am repeating myself, but those feelings while minimising through acceptance, still come about. Like many of you, I grew up with a lot of the “you young people…” talk around us that’s hard to shake. Trying to minimise any more vilification becomes second nature.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be. I know that’s a turn of phrase most hate, including myself, when someone else says it to reassure you. It feels like a personal attack, that you must be so shit a parent before even having the chance that it just ‘wasn’t meant to be’.
I know this isn’t what’s meant, but that is what it feels like. I mean this in the way that there’s nothing that could have been done. There was nothing I, nor my boyfriend or anyone else could do.
But I do still miss them. I miss them especially so on days when it really weighs on my mind, even though I know I wasn’t, and still not, if at all, ready to be a parent. Recently, we went to have breakfast at a farm café. We saw a family, not much older than me and my boyfriend, with young children taking them to see some of the cows and their babies.
The children, one of them a little girl who looked about a year old, really stuck with me (I always had the strong, almost caste-iron feeling that the baby would have been a girl. Don’t ask me how, I just did.) I said to my boyfriend:
“If things had been different, ours would be the same age as her.”
Which is true. If things had been different, I’d have been giving birth last September, and they would have been little over a year old now. He said nothing, with a sad look on his face the same as mine. What could be said? There was nothing that could be said, just like there is nothing that could be done.
Like I said, it’s not a secret to you guys, but for the most part in my everyday life, it is. I can share what I feel about this on wider scale that I’m comfortable with. It’s an outlet. It’s a way where I hope I can do some good to someone else, that through sharing my thoughts and feelings when these moods strike, that they don’t feel as isolated, because it can be incredibly isolating.
For the foreseeable future, unless something happens unexpectedly, I am not ready to be a parent. That’s fine not to be ready or to not wish to have children at all. But that doesn’t mean you don’t miss them when you lose a child. That’s ok too.