It’s easy to look at pregnant women and seemingly perfect nuclear families and think, ‘Wow, don’t they have it all!’ If you are in the zone of desperately wanting a child and it being out of reach, almost everyone around you seems to hold what you are missing.
But what you don’t see is their journey. You can’t see years of fertility treatment, failed attempts at IVF, miscarriages or the tiny babies lost. If you are lucky you will have experienced none of these things; in the worst situations some couples experience them all.
But often we just don’t know because we don’t talk about it. Or even if we do, we then quickly sweep it under the carpet because people, myself included, get all awkward when they have to discuss sad stuff. Serious stuff. Let’s just have a cup of tea and call it ‘one of those things’.
Have you ever had a conversation with a friend who told you that she’s miscarried and then quickly brushed it away because ‘It happens all the time’ – you can see that her eyes have started to water and she’s struggling to make eye contact because it doesn’t really matter how long she was pregnant for or how big or small the baby got – it was a life, there was so much excitement, so much potential and then suddenly it’s all gone, to be treated like a common cold: grow up, get over it, everyone has them! Except a couple of paracetamol doesn’t provide a quick fix when it comes to miscarriages.
Years later, when hopefully those couples have a child or children of their own, they may still feel like they are not allowed to mention their journey any more because ultimately they got their dream. But you are still allowed to feel that loss aren’t you?
You see, a huge proportion of parents have been through their own personal struggles to get to where they are now – hopefully a happy place. We have.
I can’t talk about the heartache of struggling to conceive as that was not our bridge to cross, although in many ways I can only imagine not having a tangible loss makes it even harder. The first time I got pregnant it was a surprise, a scary ‘Can we do this?’ surprise but ultimately an exciting one.
After months of horrendous all-day sickness it was finally time for our first scan. I would love to say that I was one of those mothers who looked forward to the scan but I didn’t. I’m a horrible Googler of doom and I was terrified at the prospect of a missed miscarriage. So I can’t tell you how relieved I was, how relieved we both were, to see a baby with a heartbeat flash up on the screen. ‘Nice and strong,’ the sonographer said and I relaxed back on to the bed.
We had a heartbeat! I could see a face and hands and feet. Everything was perfect – we were one of the lucky ones.
But instead of the sonographer moving on and pointing out all of the other teeny-weeny foetus body parts, it all got a bit quiet. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the shift in mood but my head was telling me it was fine because we had a heartbeat, and that’s all you need isn’t it?
Turns out it isn’t.
Everything is a blur, another doctor comes in, more silence, no answers, we need more tests and scans. ‘Things don’t look hopeful for your baby,’ we are told.
Out we went, glancing at the waiting room full of couples who had been us twenty minutes ago, nervous but excited. Clutching a photo of our perfect-looking imperfect baby. There were no good news phone calls, only sad ones. The texts I’d composed in my head never got sent. I didn’t get to go to the shops and buy little sleepsuits, a book of names or tiny socks.
Instead a lot of waiting followed. A lot of tears, and a lot of tests. It was a horrible few weeks getting through the days, stuck in a not-knowing limbo, but ultimately we were told our baby had very little chance of survival and it was a marvel the heart was still beating at all.
I wondered how my heart kept going too.
We made a choice (if you can call it that) to say goodbye. There are people in our situation, braver than I, who may have gone ahead hoping for that miracle but I was not that strong. I don’t regret the decision but there will always be an element of guilt and doubt. When I read in the papers of that one in a million baby who defied the odds it’s a knife to my heart. Even now, all these years later.
Some babies are lost when nature takes its course and some parents have to make agonising decisions when faced with life-threatening diagnoses or disabilities. I have the utmost respect for the parents who step forwards, just as I do for the parents who step back, and I will always support a woman’s right to choose, whatever the situation. There is no easy way out.
People deal with their grief in many different ways, I was scared by mine, I was scared it was our fate. To move forwards all I wanted was to be pregnant again and a few months later I was.
Subsequent scans with both of my pregnancies were terrifying, something to get through, to get over, each attended with pure dread. I wouldn’t look at the screen until all of the checks had been done.
But we made it through two more times and were blessed with our beautiful sons. I got the family I had always wanted, and from the outside we might seem to have it all. Though there will always be a little star missing from our lives (that other people cannot see). We called her Evie and we wish she was here with us today.
This is an extract taken from my first book. I am sharing in support of #babylossawareness week where we help break the silence and mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy or soon after birth.
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)
Thank you for sharing what I have no doubt was an incredibly hard section of your book to write. It’s so hard for people to speak about these experiences and for others to hear them. Mostly people want to make you feel better and they don’t always understand that just listening and sitting with someone, who has experienced the loss of a child at any stage of their pregnancy or afterwards, and just being there through the icky hard stuff. I’ve always been very open about our journey towards becoming parents. The multiple losses and then the not being able to conceive and finally our path towards becoming adoptive parents I have lost people along the way that I thought were friends. They just couldn’t understand our pain or the length of time our journey continued. It was 15 years from when we started to try and start our family until we adopted. That was a long old time. I’m so sad for what you had to go through. A friend of mind had a similar experience and we talk about her, the baby that couldn’t make it here. She is important. She will always be a part of their family. Another friend of mine lost her baby through medical negligence. We talk about him a lot and he would have been 15 now. After going through miscarriages, she then had a text book pregnancy with a perfect child. A midwife in a private hospital didn’t spot placenta previa and he was born brain damaged and unable to survive. Her loss rocked my world beyond anything else. I have been focussed on getting past my heartbeat and past 12 weeks and she had done that and then the baby had still died. That wasn’t how it was supposed to be when you’ve gone through all those miscarriages. The loss will never go and again he will always be treasured. We are able to talk about it and share emotions and honour those brief memories. No matter when a child is born you plan, you get excited, you bond, and that is all taken away in a matter of moments. I hate scans with a fiery passion now, even for my animals.
One of the thing that is also hard for those of us who have been through difficult roads to become a family is actually being a parent after loss. I should say being a “normal” parent after a loss. The guilt that comes the first time you feel irritated by your child or actually dislike them some days. When you’ve fought hard to get your family it can be hard to shift to just being one of those normal people with their children and all the emotions that stirs up as well. It’s a hard thing to explain and I am so lucky that I am able to discuss things like that with friends who have had similar journeys. Being open about these things and for others to empathise and listen is so very important. I’m so glad you’ve written your book and I send much love to you for all you’ve been through to get where you are today and a wave to the stars to Evie xxx
Oh you’ll make me cry now! But you are so right. I sometimes get comments on here from people who’ve had difficulties having children thinking I’m being ungrateful, but perhaps they don’t understand that when your road to parenthood hasn’t been smooth you suffer extra guilt because you feel you should be appreciating every single bit the reality is, that’s impossible and exhausting. Anyway thanks so much Gem and I’m so glad your found your happy ending xx
What a lovely post and it is so true about the awkwardness when it comes to talking about loss. Like you we were lucky enough to have a happy ending in the form of two boys, now aged 10 and 7. In my case, I had done several pregnancy tests which were negative and only got a positive test result at a walk in centre when I had been bleeding for 12 days. I think I knew in my heart that I had been pregnant and was losing the baby but when this was confirmed the next day at our local early pregnancy unit, it was still a shock. I remember coming home and staring into space the same way I did when I found out my Mum was’t going to make it. Even though I had only known I was pregnant for a few hours, I still imagined telling my baby in years to come how I had visited a walk in centre in Soho and had told his or her Auntie Chris that I was expecting. I couldn’t help wonder if there was anything I could have done if I had known earlier. Its true that people dont know what to say, I remember a work colleague telling me it was good news cause at least it meant I could get pregnant, I didn’t quite get that and didn’t appreciate the comment However, I know I was lucky cause I did get good news in the end.
Thankyou so much for sharing this. I absolutely loved your first book for its humour, and for the compassionate and lovely way you dealt with this issue… I’ve spoke about it before but I’m so happy you included this chapter. Having a baby is amazing but talking and remembering about the little stars we lost along the way is something which shouldn’t be so taboo. I’m so happy you got your boys but Evie will always be in your heart xxxxx
Thanks so much Emma that is so lovely of you to say xxx
Well done for sharing such a personal part of your life. It takes a lot of bravery.
I too had to make the hardest choice a parent has to make and say goodbye.
After many years of trying, 2 cycles of donor egg ivf and 9 miscarriages i fell pregnant with twins and was over the moon. After early bleeding i had a great 12 week scan and started to relax and dream and at 19 weeks shared my happy news with the world but sadly the next day at my 20 week scan i was told i was having a boy and a girl but my son had huge issues with his brain. After weeks of 2nd and 3rd opimions i was told that if he survived he would be severely disabled and never have a life without pain. It was suggested i let him go but at 24 weeks it was likely i could lose my daughter too so i waited and waited hoping for a miracle. It was clear at 32 weeks my son was struggling and not really growing so i agreed to stopping his heart. Signing the paperwork was the hardest thing i had ever done. He slipped a
Well done for sharing such a personal part of your life. It takes a lot of bravery.
I too had to make the hardest choice a parent has to make and say goodbye.
After many years of trying, 2 cycles of donor egg ivf and 9 miscarriages i fell pregnant with twins and was over the moon. After early bleeding i had a great 12 week scan and started to relax and dream and at 19 weeks shared my happy news with the world but sadly the next day at my 20 week scan i was told i was having a boy and a girl but my son had huge issues with his brain. After weeks of 2nd and 3rd opimions i was told that if he survived he would be severely disabled and never have a life without pain. It was suggested i let him go but at 24 weeks it was likely i could lose my daughter too so i waited and waited hoping for a miracle. It was clear at 32 weeks my son was struggling and not really growing so i agreed to stopping his heart. Signing the paperwork was the hardest thing i had ever done. He slipped away peacefully and somehow despite constant contractions i managed to hold on till 38 weeks before i had my babies.
My daughter was taken to scubu and i got to spend the night with my son and say my goodbyes.
4 years on i still miss him and imagine what life would be like if i had both my babies. My daughter started school last month and it broke me she was doing it alone. Time heals a little but there is a huge hole where Alexander should be.
I always feel so bad when i complain that my daughter is being a pain in the behind but losing a baby doesnt mean you cant have a bad day or struggle.
So let’s all talk about loss. Lets oit sweep it under the carpet.
You are wrong when you say you were not brave and strong. You made the bravest choice a woman could face. You made that choice for your baby not for you. I too am one of those mothers, my beautiful daughter would have suffered incredibly had she been born and I do not regret my decision one bit, I did not end her life, I ended her suffering. We took the pain so our babies did not have to.
I have a wonderful daughter who was a twin, we lost when they were 7 weeks. She’s my miracle at 24 , We lost our next child at 18 weeks, 16 years ago no heartbeat, horrendous time, did not grieve really, our next child was an epropic pregnancy at 9weeks, 12years ago, I still grieve no one talks about it but I remember x Thank you, this does need talking about x
I agree totally with what you’re saying and wish more people would talk about it but after losing my twins in July 2016 when I was six months pregnant, it feels like everyone apart from my husband and a close friend who has experienced a similar loss, has forgotten about it which I guess they would if they don’t know what it’s like. What has really helped me is a local Sands support group where everyone knows what you’ve been through. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope that people read it and realise that we probably do want to talk about the loss and what it means to us instead of keeping it all inside.
I remember this bit from your book, it made me cry, it resonated so much. We experienced most of the challenges you mention. I also came to fear every scan and doppler and spent my last pregnancy in a state of complete anxiety and dread, followed by a horrendous birth with lifelong injuries for me and massive PND. I know how lucky we are to have our 2 smalls and I adore them. But this significant part of my life has been unbelievably hard; I can’t pretend it didn’t happen, or that it hasn’t become a part of me in some way.
Thank you. Thank you for sharing what so many of us have felt we needed to keep to ourselves because it makes others feels uncomfortable,and it gets worse when you keep miscarrying. Every time you have that dreaded feeling,but every time you still have hope. I once even fainted at the news i was pregnant because i was so scared at what was coming my way. You just hope this one will be the one,you pray to all the Gods you’ve ever heard of that this one will stick! I’ve heard it all:oh it s ok,it happens all the time!I know a friend who miscarried 4 times and went on to have a perfect baby! At least you know you can get pregnant! And you want to say “I’d rather I didn’t get pregnant. I d rather the doc said “we know what s wrong,and we can/can’t fix it. I d rather I didn’t have to hide my miscarriages because I know people won’t be able to comfort me,people don’t often have a friend who miscarried 8 times and went on to have a perfect baby. Some friends don’t even invite you to their kids birthday parties anymore because they think they know better than you what s good for youm or because they think you can’t be happy for someone else s miracle.And the pain then gets deeper for a whole lot of other reasons. We talk among grieving women on various chat rooms ,and it helps, but if only friends and family could be there too… if only it were not still such a taboo.
Thank you for sharing your story. I am one of those people struggling to conceive. I am really glad I read your post because you are right about our tendencies to gloss over the difficult bits. Because of my struggle and those of friends and family I am aware that behind each ‘perfect’ family could be an story flecked with heartache. However I still feel incredibly jealous and angry because for those families there is now a happy ending – not for me though. It makes me feel bitter for which I then feel guilty. I think I understand what you are trying to say but my feelings of jealousy remain. X
Hi. I totally understand where you’re coming from with the jealousy. I don’t have any words of wisdom only hope. I had problems conceiving and the guilt about feeling so jealous of others would just eat me up. It actually consumed so many of my thoughts! I do now have a child and whilst this is no consolation to you I just want you to know that there are other people who completely understand the position you are in. I wish i had known that i was not alone in my feelings and that I was not a bad person for feeling that way.
Sending lots of love xx
Thanks for sharing your story…I can honestly say that I was lucky enough never to experience people glossing over my miscarriage or being uncomfortable with it. What I did experience was countless women in my life; relations, friends, acquaintances even, taking my hand and telling me they understood because they’d had a miscarriage too. So many of us who’ve not said anything because it was early days or they hadn’t reached the Magic 12 weeks … we need to talk and console and strengthen each other and you sharing this part of your life will reach so many. So cheers for that and I’m looking forward to getting my copy for my birthday in a couple of weeks xxx
I’ve had one termination (knew I couldn’t cope), then my beautiful son who is now ten and a year after he was born, a miscarriage. I think of myself as a mother of 3 although 2 are in the stars. In some African cultures they ritually make a place for every member of the family, living, dead, stillborn, miscarried, aborted, missing etc – they all count and are all important. No-one is ever forgotten, everyone has their place and there are special grief rituals where the whole community mourns together because no-one should ever have to grieve alone. They say that we owe the dead our grief – that their souls can’t move on without it. I love that.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, such a hard thing to do. We lost our first son at 30 weeks, he was born asleep. I remember reading about Evie in your book & I just wanted to reach through the pages & hug you.
We had some amazing support through the baby loss charity SANDS. They have a website, support groups & a helpline. If anyone needs them they are there, it’s never too late to ge in touch
Wow, you’re so brave! Brave to make the decision you made, brave to share it with the world, to enlighten those who judge, and not worry about being judged. Sorry for your loss and thankyou for the raw truth xx
Thank you for sharing this story and for your openness. I also made a heartbreaking choice to end a wanted pregnancy. We lost four other babies to miscarriage. We finally have two wonderful children, five years apart, but you never forget the ones you lost, especially our son who we had to say goodbye to at four months pregnant. This is always a poignant month for me as he was delivered at the end of October. The autumn leaves bring everything back, the agony of the decision, the birth, his funeral. I’m not always as open as you have been for fear of being judged for ending my pregnancy but it is so important to share these stories, for the sake of other women like us.
Thank you. I had two missed miscarriages followed by an ‘elective induction’ at 23 weeks on Boxing Day. Our little boy had birth defects which meant he would never know how much I loved him as he was blind, deaf and his nerve endings hadn’t developed. He had a beautiful strong heartbeat and lots of brain activity which meant he could know distress but never feel, hear or see me comforting him. It was an oddly simple decision, he looked so peaceful and safe it seemed wrong to wake him only to let him die alone. I requested a big enough dose of morphine at the onset of labour so he would wouldn’t be aware of what was happening and the next 9 hours were the worst of my life. 5 years later our beautiful little girl was born. I would like to say it all needed happily but she has Asperger’s and my husband left us when she was only 2. It has been a long, lonely and difficult time and though I know that my 8 yr old daughter is funny, strange and lovely, I still cannot be sure it was worth the heartache
This is a beautifully written piece, and illuminates many stories I’ve watched friends go through. These are real and deep losses that touch the most human part of us. They should be talked about and grieved and mourned with all the weight and respect and compassion they deserve.
Without detracting from that though, I am wondering why you chose to start the piece with an assumption that those who are longing for something that seems out of their reach – the same deep and human longing that led you to trying to have children yourself – are not aware of the hurt and effort and heartbreak that is often involved in getting there. And crucially, if they did know, would it change the longing? If you knew from the start that you would have to go through IVF and miscarriages and those awful days before eventually becoming a parent, would you choose not to go through it and remain childless? You may not intend it to be hurtful, but there is grief in circumstantial infertility too, and it doesn’t seem right to start pitting us against each other.
Thank you, Laura. I felt exactly the same about this article. Circumstantial infertility is perhaps the most invisible loss of all, but it is still a loss, and needs to be acknowledged and grieved. There is a great piece about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/02/the-desire-to-have-a-child-never-goes-away-how-the-involuntarily-childless-are-forming-a-new-movement
A friend sent me a link to your post, I know out of the kindness of her heart to make me know there are other people out there going through similar things and to let me know she’s thinking of me and for that I am grateful but she doesn’t get it because she isn’t me and she hasn’t been in my position.
I think that we fail to talk about baby or pregnancy loss in an honest manner not because we chose not to but because we try to mould it and categorize it into a single subset. There is no rule to this grief there is no one size fits all sticking plaster where we can say there there think about. … and it’ll be all right.
My baby wasn’t deemed to not be viable/compatible with life, it wasn’t a missed miscarriage only discovered at the 12 week scan. He had a chromosomal disorder that I decided I didn’t want to have to live with for the rest of my life. He may not have survived the pregnancy but in all likelihood he would have done and he would have needed constant care and support and attention for the rest of his life and I didn’t want to do that.
And I can sugar coat it and say ‘well I didn’t feel’ I could do it or those who accepted their fate and ‘got on with it’ have more money than we do so they can manage better or that our society is a ‘cruel world’ for children like that but ultimately I didn’t want to do it and for that I will always feel guilty. I will always feel I denied him a chance of life and the thought of having another baby, one that will be ‘normal’ and not come with extra work and difficulty makes my heart burn with a shame so strong that I can’t bear the idea of ever being pregnant again even though pregnancy is the only thing I desire.
And I can’t read stories of those that have lost a baby, it’s not my loss. And my well meaning friend I know she wants a second child more than anything and I know her husband does not and I know that she is dealing with her own loss. And my friend who has been through multiple rounds of IVF and can not adopt because her partner does not have a permanent job and therefore they cannot prove their financial stability she is likely to never have a child, how do you discuss that loss?
How can I say my story of loss should sit in all righteousness next to a mother who has gone through 9 months of parasitic co-inhabitance and hours of medical torment to be presented with a lifeless child or one medically neglected to the point of no return. How do we put these stories down on paper and turn the page to read of a woman who suffers a miscarriage when she didn’t even know she was pregnant. Can we say that is better or worse, is it better or worse?
And we grieve for the unknown child and the future that should or could have been, the future we will never know and in this we are united.
It is all loss but it is incomparable loss. It is a loss so personal and removed from all that we know it is impossible to articulate even to those that stand the closest.
And I am grateful for those who speak about it who give a voice to this loss a voice that truely deserves to be heard.
But I can not shake the feeling that it is only me that can hear the voice of my unwanted little star and I wonder if I am alone in that.
Clare..your post is eloquent and heartfelt. Truthful and Sorrowful. Your words touched me but I have no words that can help you heal. I do wish you peace and acceptance. May your future be brighter and lighter than you have ever imagined
Thank you for this Katie. I’m going to show it to a friend very recently miscarried at 12 weeks pregnant, I hope it gives her a little comfort.
Thank you so much for posting this again. I’ve read it before and sometimes find it useful to share with friends, because I can simply say to them – “This. Exactly this. It happened to me too.” – when I want them to understand where I’ve been. You have described it so well, it’s like I have written it myself. And no, I would never have described it as “a choice” either. Xx
Thank you for sharing this, it was painful to read but very cathartic, as we had a very similar experience to you 4 years ago, when we lost our son at 16 weeks. Such a difficult decision to make, but the right one for us and our other two boys.
We told very few people, and those that know had varying degrees of sympathy. “at least you have 2 healthy boys, you’re lucky” – yes but we still loved this one, “better that you found out now so you can deal with it and move on” was a particular favourite, as I was really struggling with the moving on part.
The whole terribly sad experience really brought it home that you genuinely can’t comment on anyone’s situation until you live it yourself. All baby loss is so sad, and too often hidden, there were very few people I confided in, and this was exacerbated by some of the responses I got from some of the people who are closest to me.
I will always think about our boy and how life might have been with three of them (my washing machine might not have been able to cope with all the extra sports kit!), but life does get better, although a big cliché, time is a great healer. With love to you for sharing this story xxx
I forgot to say that I did receive excellent support not only from my GP and bereavement midwife, but also a small charity called ARC – through their volunteers but also the private forums they have.
Thank you for sharing this. It must be very difficult: there is so much public opinion about what ‘you should/shouldn’t do’ in these situations, as well and many people who are uncomfortable to talk/hear about it. But it is so important that these things are shared and then hopefully people can begin to feel less alien and lonely when it happens to them.
I am currently in the process of trying to decide whether or not to try for another child, knowing that there is a one in four chance that I will have to go through what you describe above. All those abstract ‘ethics’ conversations you have with friends take on a whole different meaning when it’s real life.
You are very brave to share this and I know it will help other people. Thank you x
Thank you for sharing your’s and Evie’s story Katie. It’s so important that people talk about this more to render the stigma around baby loss. Our eldest daughter (Ava) was stillborn at 39 weeks. We have since been blessed with another little girl and a boy and I’m currently expecting our fourth. It is absolutely terrifying bring pregnant again but so worth it if you get to hold your little one in your arms eventually xxx
I called my little girl Maggie. I still look up at her star nearly 9years on. I have 2 gorgeous boys now and feel very lucky to have come through the other side of all that grief. However the experience changed me forever. xx
I already had a healthy five year ols boy and a beautiful two year old daughter when my baby girl at died twenty weeks.. It felt wrong to be upset, I already had so much and my family helped me get through the loss. But I have always tracked the life of my daughter that is not here, I have always missed her presence. I had another son four years later, my family is wonderful, my life very lucky and fufilling but there will always be a but…
My love to all of those who have not been as lucky as I have. X
Thank you for sharing… I had a similar situation as you, and sadly made the same decision. I know this was the right decision for my baby and my family, but such a difficult thing to do. People don’t know how to react, and make all sorts of inappropriate comments…. but talking about baby loss as you have done is the most powerful way to raise awareness and educate people. I had some incredible counselling support from a small charity called Petals (www.petalscharity.org) – it gave me my life back after a very tough time. We need more of this kind of support available for people experiencing loss.
And it never goes away. 53 years ago I carried my son Miles to term but he died on his third day. I think about him every day
What a beautiful piece, which must have been so hard to write .. thank you for your eloquence and courage. I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks. If anyone can call it “lucky”, I was lucky enough that baby decided to leave by herself before her 1st scan (i’ve Somehow always assumed she was a girl..): I didn’t have to make any awful choices for her. I am thankful for that at least. But the emptiness she left was crushing. The very hardest part tho, was telling my own mum about it, and the response she gave. “Oh Ellie .. I was going to be a grandma!”
People can be so unimaginably cruel about miscarriage and i’m grateful that we are starting to talk about it more. I’m glad to say that our lovely girl got here eventually, and i’m blessed with a beautiful son and daughter. The anguish and agony of miscarriage never leaves you, but you do learn to live beside it. My coping mechanism is to think, she didn’t make it here 1st time but she bloomin’ well got here on her 2nd try ❤️Blessings and love to all our babies, and to all the mammas still waiting for them xx
Three. Three that didn’t make it. And one miracle that did. Thank you for writing this and explaining how you feel, and it resonates with me in many different ways.
Not quite the same but I had a termination at about seven and a half weeks. I feel pregnant from a one night stand and knew I couldn’t keep it. One of the hardest parts was before the termination having a scan and the sonographer pointing out the heart etc. I felt so guilty. Fast forward ten years and I now have two beautiful children and a third on the way but still feel a sense of guilt about the termination I had at 20. In my head I have four children. One of the hardest parts is feeling you are not allowed the privilege to grieve for your loss as it was your choice. People just expect you to get on with it but it’s very hard. For a long time I kept everything bottled up and didn’t talk about my feelings towards it as I felt so guilty. I suppose I put my heart and soul into the two children I have almost to compensate for it but part of me will always grieve for the child I never had. I still have my days when I wonder what he/she would have looked like had she been here but I’ll never know. In my head I call her Sarah and a little part of me will always remember her.
A friend has just sent me this article following the loss of our baby girl to Edwards Syndrome. We had ‘that scan’, followed by chats in the quiet room, failed tests, actual tests, options, decisions and weeks passing and baby growing. All a rollercoaster of emotion and guilt that we may have to make a decision – that although right for us and baby – we would struggle to live with forever. Then one day she left us, her heart stopped beating. She gave us one gift – to leave us and not us have to give her up. I am grateful for this rather cruel twist of nature. I will never ever not feel sad, but I wouldn’t have been strong enough to give birth to a child I would get to spend only days with, or had to deliver a still born, so I am grateful she left when she did and our journey was somewhat less turbulent than it could have been. But I’ll always miss you baby Orlaith.
Thank you for sharing your story and letting me share mine x
Thank you for sharing your journey and for helping to raise awareness of baby loss. I too have a story, with a different outcome and for which I am truly thankful. But I am also trying to help others mums get through scary times, because I know what it’s like to be told your baby might die. Xx
Wow, how brave of you to share this and thank you so much for doing so! I recently miscarried my first, unplanned pregnancy at a mer 6 weeks. I was heartbroken but far too many people gave me the “oh at least it was early”, and “oh but it wasn’t like you’d planned to get pregnant in the first place” or my personal favourite “but you always said you didnt want kids anyway”
Like you have quite rightly said, it didnt matter that it was unplanned or that 2 yers previous I’d say I never wanted kids, I changed my mind and we wanted that baby. And it did not matter one bit that I was onyl 6 weeks along. It still hurt like hell and it still does now.
Lets hope our second attempt leads our journey to a happy place.
Thanks again for this.
Thank you. Just thank you…
A lot of years ago and when my youngest was not quite 8 months (she’s just 22 now) I had an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Baby #3 is planned but maybe not quite so soon!
You’re breastfeeding but suspect you may be pregnant… you do the test and it’s positive. Something doesn’t feel quite right (you’ve done this twice before). Doctor confirms I’m definitely pregnant, but doesn’t tell you what he suspects… cue a long & painful journey (which one day I will write down, but even this far down the road am I ready to do so). The end result was a total hysterectomy- not multiple choice if I want to see my babies grow up.
My babies are now grown and living away from home. I miss them – they know that – but I gave them wings to fly and a nest to fly home to if and when they need to. We talk about the sister they might have had – she’s called Natalie.
Thank you again.