The 18th of May will mark 6 months – 181 days since we lost our first baby. I thought I’d write a little update post on how we’re feeling and how we’ve coped so far. Also – I wanted to share the things we’ve done, and steps we’ve taken that have helped us the most.
A real turning point was when I wrote my first blog post, sharing our story about the losses we’ve experienced after trying to conceive for almost two years. Prior to that, even though I’d spoken to close family and friends, I’d been in a really dark place. I was up and down like a yo-yo, some days I felt I could have conquered anything and the others were just a complete battle. It felt like everybody around me was getting pregnant, having healthy babies, and I started to feel resentful. Whilst this is somewhat normal whilst you’re dealing with this kind of grief, it’s not a healthy mindset to have by any stretch… and something has to give in order to begin the healing process. Not everybody agreed with me sharing my story. Some people believe that it should be kept ‘private’ but my response to that quite literally is fuck what anybody else thinks. You should do whatever helps YOU. Miscarriage is something that unless people have been through it themselves, as much as they like to think that they understand it, they really don’t. It is a loss, and loss causes grief and pain. Think about what you need as a person. Counselling is a great option if you do want to keep it private – I didn’t go down this route myself but I would absolutely recommend if you are feeling alone and don’t have the confidence to share something so upsetting with the world. For me, sharing our story, and getting the response that it did… and all of the women (and men actually) that I connected with who shared their stories with me was absolutely incredible and really helped me feel that 1) I had helped others in the process and 2) I wasn’t alone.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that grief and healing does not have a timescale, and everybody will handle miscarriage differently. I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a lot of different women who have similar feelings to what I have (and some days, still do!) but they all have their own little way of coping on the tough days. It’s very easy to get sucked into thinking things like ‘why am I still upset? I should be over this by now’ ABSOLUTELY not true. The problem is, this is not spoken about enough, so as a women when this happens to you, you really have no idea what to do. Don’t tell yourself that you ‘should’ be better. You’re human, and you know you better than anybody else. Give yourself time.. and be kind to yourself.
When we experienced our two back to back losses, I was working from home and running my own business… and found that being alone with my thoughts, without an office environment and having to pull myself together to go to ‘work’ each day made it even harder. Some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed because I was so depressed. I took the decision to apply for normal full time jobs, and secured myself a Recruitment Resourcing job only 20 minutes from home. I was actually a Resourcer prior to starting my own business so I knew that it was a role I enjoyed. This was by far one of the best decisions I could have made. Whilst it can feel like a back step after being your own boss, having a 9-5 style routine, and having to put your makeup on and show up for something 5 days a week really has pushed me out of the depressive, demotivated phase that I was stuck in. Luckily, I have an amazing employer, and an absolutely fantastic team. Everybody is so kind, and just being around them has played a massive part in my healing over the past few months… and they probably don’t even know it! To the Amiqus guys, if you do read this, I owe you so much for the support you’ve given to me! You’re all hilarious, and laughter is definitely the best medicine for this sort of thing.
Another thing that I had to do was really focus on my relationship with my partner. Whilst he was unbelievably supportive, I think it’s easy to forget that men grieve too, and they do it in a very different way to us. Gaz’s positive attitude and outlook on this whole situation has been the light at the end of the tunnel for me – he is amazing. We decided to really enjoy and appreciate the time we have left together as a two, and this has been so powerful. We’ve connected in an even deeper way than we had before, and did little things like buy a pack of date night cards – they’re so cute! There’s 52, so a date night idea for every week of the year, both going out and staying in. The link is here for anybody who wants to have a look at them. Having a date night to look forward to each week has been a great distraction, plus… its quality time too!
Keeping a diary. This isn’t for everybody, but on the more down days, I really like to write. Writing your feelings on paper or on a blog is another thing that can be really empowering – and it’s amazing to be able to look back on how far you’ve come mentally every now and again. I also decided that I was going to remember the babies each year on the date that we lost them, but in a loving and positive way rather than a sad way. Despite only being pregnant for a short time, I still loved being pregnant! Regardless of the sickness and the tiredness. It was so special, and we should be able to hold onto that feeling of happiness no matter what. An idea is to have a little keepsake box with any special items that you can look through when you’re feeling a little sad. I haven’t done this, but I know I’ve spoken to ladies who have and it’s helped them a great deal.
Trying to think about the loss in a spiritual way has been quite comforting too. I like to think that the babies that we lost are always watching down on us, and are saving an extra special one for when the time is just right… and this is such a lovely thought to have. Trusting your body is important. As difficult as it is to swallow, especially when all of this is so raw, our bodies know best, and it’s very, very good at dispelling a pregnancy that isn’t viable. It’s taken me a long time to come to accept this, but when you can… it really is a weight lifted off your shoulders. It’s so easy to blame yourself for the loss, or feel that there is something wrong with you… and there’s not! Mother Nature is amazing, and she’ll always do her thing to protect you.
Taking time off the hospital appointments. This may not apply to everybody, but I was offered quite a few different tests, scans, and investigations into why we had miscarried twice in a row… particularly as it had taken a while for us to conceive. At first, I didn’t feel mentally strong enough to face a hospital, a scan, a blood test… or an examination. And that’s perfectly ok! There is no rush, this is a process… and you have to take those steps when you feel strong and ready. Holding off on these tests gave me time to really build up the strength, courage and positive mindset that I needed to face it all again. I’ve now had an ultrasound, and internal scans and everything looks to be as it should be, which is a huge positive. They also took blood on day 2, and 21 of my cycle this month to monitor hormone levels… so every single step is a step in the right direction right now. Rather than dreading the hospital like I did last time, now, I feel ready… and every appointment is just another tick off our list. And that’s really important. We shouldn’t put ourselves through this stuff if it’s only going to cause more pain. Take some time off!
Lastly – if you can, try and get away somewhere together, whether that’s a spa day, or a short break, or even a full blown holiday. I’m currently sat writing this on the plane to Tenerife for a rare few days away with Gaz (he’s snoozing next to me, no surprise there). It’s been a whirlwind six months, and I think it’s very easy for people to forget how much these sorts of things can affect you at work, and at home. Down time, and removing any pressure can do incredible things for your body and your mind.
Lmao… told you…
Try to remember that negative thoughts don’t and will never serve you. Gratitude for the here and now will be the most important part of your healing process. You’ll never forget, but you can find a loving way to remember your little ones. Somebody said to me ‘the day that you conceived, you became a mother and nobody can take that away from you’. I think that’s a beautiful thing.
Every day, you’re getting stronger – even if you don’t feel like it.
Love Chloé x