8 things I’ve learnt since my miscarriage
This piece contains material of a highly sensitive nature including miscarriage, loss and bereavement that may be triggering for some individuals. Please do get in touch if you feel you need to talk to someone further.
This was a piece I never thought I’d write. I’m not a writer, but even penning the title to this piece has felt therapeutic.
Throughout the last few months I have written little notes, saved poems, quotes, images, and recorded videos of my feelings as if I’m speaking to an audience. Documenting things in this way has been part of this journey for me; my screenshots and saved pictures on Instagram have become a place of healing rather than just quirky memes.
But today I am writing. I want these words, these feelings to resonate with someone to know they aren’t alone.
The journey around pregnancy and then miscarriage has been incredibly painful, intense, and lonely, but also I’ve had moments of joy. It’s strange to even type this, it feels wrong to even have moments of joy during this time.
This was my first miscarriage and I am under no illusions about possibly having others in the future. I have endometriosis, pcos and pmdd, this journey was never going to be easy. I’m not the first to experience this pain and I certainly won’t be the last, but my own views and understanding has deepened so much on this topic.
It’s been life changing.
Today I chose to honour the baby we lost by sharing personal reflections, from seeing how pregnant I “could have” looked, to feeling that ache in my heart when seeing all the baby clothes in the shops. Each passing thought and feeling deserves its place.
Whilst I wasn’t able to birth this child, they did give me a lot of life lessons, and here a just a few of them,
- Life is short – Sounds cliché, but those of you who know me well, know me and my husband have experienced a number of bereavements since we got married a year ago. But this was different. It was a very real reminder that life can very easily be taken before it has even had a chance to make an impact on the world. It’s made me much more thankful for my own life an all the little moments. I have experienced heartbreak before, but nothing like this. As someone who has attempted suicide in the past, this has really sat with me. I really want to enjoy life again and stop taking those little moments for granted. So if you hear me say life is short, you will know where it’s coming from.
- People can be kind – not all people, as me and my husband experienced when accessing services for the loss (a story for another time), but generally people can be kind. Our GP, Doctor Ahmed, has been a huge part of me seeing light at the end of the tunnel, from referring to our baby as Baby-Shergill to just giving me space to cry and much more. It really humanised the experience for me and made us feel cared for, in a system which we are usually left out of.
- It’s okay to feel everything and nothing at the same time – in the days after the miscarriage, me and my husband had the happy news our friends were pregnant and we even had baby showers to attend. My god, was that hard. I remember feeling zoned-out for the majority of the baby shower, and kept trying to make excuses to go back to the hotel. I spent a lot of the baby shower hanging around our male friends because the pain in my chest was too much to bear that evening to be around our pregnant friends. Have you ever had that sinking, hurty chest feeling? That was me all night. But, in the same breath, I was over the moon for our friends and family. How could I not be? But knowing our baby wasn’t going to be there to grow up alongside the other babies was a pain I couldn’t bear. But, in true Neelam style I sucked it up and carried on. It’s not that I felt jealous in any way, but seeing everyones joy is always a reminder of what we have lost. Also knowing I was 2 weeks behind another friend was especially hard. You can feel many things at once, and all these feelings are valid.
- You will become fearful – I am terrified of pregnancy, mainly of pregnancy loss. I spent weeks blaming myself over the loss, blaming my weight etc, and desperately comfort ate and then starving myself to ease some of the pain. Thankfully now, I’m in a better place. But the aftermath of loss hit me the hardest, I’m now super conscious of dates (for example the trimesters, mothers day fathers day etc), of getting pregnant again, feeling bad for being such a terrible wife (not that my husband would ever think so) and much more. Fear is a part of the journey I hadn’t expected.
- Friendships will change – telling some of my closest people has really shaped my healing journey in more ways than one. The little gestures, such as asking to create a remembrance and honour Baby-Shergill really touched me, keeping me company, or even offering a hug – especially when they aren’t huggers (you know who you are), meant the world to me. On the other hand, there have been moments I’ve needed my friends and family but couldn’t reach out, because I didn’t know how I was feeling. Some were not approachable, had their own issues to prioritise and drifted away so I couldn’t reach out even if I tried. Others felt my miscarriage had too much of an impact on them and stepped away not having capacity to support me during this bereavement, I guess I carried too much emotional baggage for them. But that’s okay, everyone is on their own journey. If I’m honest, I’ve lost friends whilst on this path of healing and having “new” priorities, but that’s okay, I have to put myself first to revisit what friendship looks like for me. For me, friendship should go beyond words, but they change over the years. I have always felt I could get through anything if I had my friends around me, but this experience shattered me and those around me.
- People will still ask when you are having children – Yep. They will and it sucks. I’ve been too emotionally fragile to tell them what has happened, but I wish I did. I wish I could, and I wish they were there to hold me through this, instead of asking why I haven’t had children yet. I cannot stress how inappropriate asking someone this is. The amount of times I have said that me and my husband are just enjoying life and not thinking about children just yet, whilst hiding this pain is unreal. So if you are reading this, I don’t want or want your fertility advice.
- Your faith might be tested – in times of distress I have historically clung on to faith, but this time was different, I couldn’t find anything to soothe my heart. That is until I spoke with a dear friend, Amrick Ubhi who spoke about the soul of our child passing on to the next life, it weirdly provided me some comfort. I wanted to include this because I am grateful for some of the space, grace and empathy that people like Amrick have given me during this time. You don’t have to have experienced miscarriage or loss to empathize and care about someone.
- Blame comes in waves – Was this my fault? Was this my weight that caused this? What could I have done differently? This is my Karma? Did I deserve this? Did I start the year on such a bad note that I created this? Was my caste a factor? Am I good enough for my husband? All these thoughts have run through my mind, and kept me up at night. I have been lucky to have such an amazing partner who has held my hand throughout this and constantly assured me I’m not at fault, even down to ensuring we have the financial stability for me to grieve and heal. I do often wonder though what spaces do partners in this journey have?
For a while I wasn’t sure whether to write about this experience, but I want more for Baby-Shergill. I want to honour the lessons they’ve taught me in such a short space of time. My heartache and healing is far from over, but I’m taking things a day at a time, and hopeful for the future with an amazing partner who had held me every step of the way.
To those of you who have experienced miscarriage or loss, my heart goes out to you. I hope you find love, light and healing in your journey.
As always if you ever need space to talk, you can always pop into my messages, I will never not have time, capacity and love for whatever you are going through.