I have met lots of women who have experienced miscarriage, and what feels clear; is that every woman’s experience is vastly different. For some women the emotional side is incredibly traumatic, for some women (like me) the physical side is exhausting, and for lots of women, both the physical and emotional sides feel equally challenging.
I experienced a miscarriage two years ago, and it was so much worse than I expected it to be. I had my miscarriage at around 10 weeks pregnant, but after a scan we discovered that the baby had died at around 7 weeks. We both felt ok about things, and didn’t feel like we needed any extra support from the hospital. We already had three healthy children and we felt content to be part of the ‘1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage’ statistic. In fact – we fitted right in.
The hospital staff said I should have some bleeding for 2-3 weeks, but that it shouldn’t be anything too heavy. I felt happy that I could handle this, took some iron tablets and waved Jared off to work away for a couple of days – a decision that we both regretted a few hours later. A few hours later, Jared was miles away in Plymouth (and swiftly on his way back), I couldn’t get hold of my mum and my bleeding was completely out of control. I’d gone through every pair of trousers that I owned, and there were bloody footsteps all over the house (which Jared’s mum cleaned up).
Three days later, I called the hospital as I had no energy and had taken to crawling around the house. I was told that things should pick up in a few days – but they didn’t. After about 6 weeks the bleeding would ease for a few days, but then all of a sudden I would stand up and blood would soak through everything. I could be at the shop, in the car or at someone’s home.
It took about 10 weeks for the bleeding to completely stop, and I no longer had to take spare trousers with me everywhere. Emotionally I felt on edge, hormonal, indecisive and teary. I avoided going out unless it was necessary, just in case somebody asked me a question and I started crying because I couldn’t think of an answer. It took me about 5 months to feel myself again. My hormones felt balanced, and I felt in control of my emotions.
My miscarriage is an experience that I look back on with a lot of confusion. Why didn’t I ask people for help? Why didn’t I tell Jared what I needed? Why did I opt for a natural miscarriage?
I have come to the conclusion that in hindsight I can see exactly what I needed, but at the time I had no idea what I needed. I would have let my friends pick up the boys from school for a few days, I would have asked my mum to stay with me, I would have asked somebody to do a food shop, I would have asked a friend to bring me lunch, I would have told Jared to have some time of work, but I couldn’t decide on anything and asking, or accepting help from people just felt too huge.
I’m not exactly sure why I have chosen to write about my miscarriage now, but I just feel like it was a big learning moment for me. I was totally unprepared for everything about it. I’ve always felt very in control of my emotions and I just couldn’t manage them for a long time. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of blood, and the lack of energy that I experienced. I cannot imagine what it is like for women that miscarry over and over again, for women that miscarry much further along the line, for women who experience stillbirth, for women who desperately want children, but it is not happening and hope is fading. The pain is unimaginable for these women, their families and many more.
Now when a woman shares that she’s experienced a miscarriage, I no longer think it’s just ‘one of those things’ – I have real empathy for them and I feel so thankful for that. A piece of my heart goes out to them.