Miscarriage – How It Feels, Four Months On
It’s been four months now since my miscarriage. Four months since the worst week of my life. I know I’m lucky that this was my first miscarriage, and that I already have a four-year-old boy. I know that. Still, it hurt, because that’s what these things do.
So, it’s four months on, and whilst I’m “okay” I’m still definitely not okay. I mean, I’m not randomly crying in the street anymore because my baby is gone and isn’t coming back. I don’t get into the shower in the morning and have a good 10 minute sob whilst the water sprays on my salty face anymore. And I’m not waking up at night anymore in floods of tears because she’s gone. But, the background hurt is still there. I’m not sure it ever won’t be. I miss her.
Obviously we didn’t get to find out if she was a She. But I knew she was a She, in the same way that I unshakeably and defiantly knew that my son was a He way before the 20 week scan.
I’ve spent a lot of the past four months willing my brain into different pathways and different knots. I’d spent two months building a mental future that will never happen now, and it’s taking a while to unpick the images I’d layered against reality. I won’t be walking my son to primary school in October with a baby strapped to my chest. We won’t be spending Christmas Day in a fug of sleep-deprived joy as we watch our son wish his sister a Merry Cwisstmas. Until recently, I’d been labouring under the misapprehension that at some point in the future we needed to haul everything down from the attic. The process of remembering that these aren’t true now is still ongoing.
Of course, we’ve tried to get pregnant again. January’s surprise discovery came after 18 months of trying, so we obviously weren’t going to give up after the miscarriage. But nothing has happened. And my bandaged heart broke again in May, and June, as I stared at negative results alone in the bathroom.
It hurts. It hurts everyday, but the hurting has slipped into the background a little. The pain bursts forth on those Bathroom Days, and every time somebody new announces a pregnancy, and sometimes on random days from chance remarks. I’ve dealt with it the only way I know how – humour. My favourite coping mechanism is to mentally add another name to my yet-to-be-published first novel: Everybody Is Fucking Pregnant Except Me. That amuses me for a bit – the bitterness behind those words letting me laugh at myself. Because I don’t want to deny anyone the happiness of having a wanted baby. I’m not even particularly jealous, and definitely don’t wish anyone badly. I just wish I were there too. I wish I were still pregnant.
All of this was one of the main factors in my recent decision to return to work. As stated in my previous post, I wasn’t particularly looking for a job. And, if I did find one, I only wanted part-time. But I began seeing my life stretching away in front of me, full of pain and dashed hopes. I could see the cycle of Trying and Waiting and Crying each month stretching over the years and taking over my life. I didn’t want to wrap my self and my being and my happiness around that cycle. Work seemed like a much better option. It’s far healthier to focus on work and a business than monthly misery, right?
I hoped, and still hope, that focusing on work can quell the raging fires that burn whenever I see somebody moan about their pregnancy (FYI, I don’t mean when people just talk about the negative side-effects of pregnancy, I mean when they properly MOAN about pregnancy or being pregnant). I don’t admire myself for it. Obviously everybody is entitled to moan about a physical process that is renowned for being HARD. Clearly I know I’m in the wrong for feeling so furious every time I see words along those lines. But, I do. There are women in this world who have been trying to conceive for far longer than me, who have suffered far more miscarriages, who have undergone invasive therapy and still haven’t seen that Positive result. I feel collective fury for them and me every time I see someone moan about their pregnancy. And then I feel guilty for days, and wonder “Is this why the miscarriage happened? Because I’m a horrible person? Is that why my baby died?”
I know miscarriage is blameless, and natural, and in the first trimester is most often down to genetic abnormalities and nothing to do with the mother. I know that, but four months later I still don’t feel it. I’m still trying to train my brain out of that particular corridor. I don’t often take that corridor, thankfully. I’ve shut its door, and placed a sign that says “OUT OF BOUNDS”. But in the dead of those nights where I can’t sleep, or the midst of rising menstruation hormones, my brain ignores me. It waltzes down that corridor and drags me along.
And, to be honest, I’m glad that I sometimes go there. Rationally, I think the the timing of that pregnancy wouldn’t have been quite right. She would’ve been born very shortly after my boy starts proper school, and that’s a lot of upheaval for a tiny boy. I would’ve been in the third trimester during the hottest part of the year. And we definitely would’ve struggled a little, financially. I’ve logic-d myself into a sense of day-to-day Okayness. It’s comforting, in a way, to sometimes open that door to the pain. To sometimes remember that there is no “right time” to have a baby, and that I’m not actually an emotionless husk of a person.
But, I do miss her. I miss knowing she was there. I don’t miss the constant exhaustion or the excruciating nausea, but I tried so hard not to moan about them at the time, and I miss holding my stomach and knowing she was in there. If, at some point in the future I did manage to get pregnant again, I don’t think I could bring myself to feel badly about the bad things then either. If it happens, if we manage it…
Who knows, though. It took 18 months last time. It may never happen. So I shall focus on work, and my boy, and our life here and now. It’s all I can do, really.