Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day 15/10/2022

Today, marks infant loss and awareness day. Many people will have never heard about it, many would like to forget it and move on and some, like myself, use this day to commemorate those children that we have lost.

Now, at the age of 56, as I look back over the time of my fertile years, I remember them as both bitter and sweet. I now have 2 beautiful children. Both are in their 20's and have begun their own life's journeys. But at one time in my life, I had just about come to accept that I would never produce a child that would actually live, take a breath and experience life for themselves. My story was one of both infertility and loss. As I sit here today, remembering myself grasping at the possibility that maybe this time, this pregnancy, would be the one that would provide me with, what at that at that time, was all I was living for: to be a mother.

Women experience child loss and miscarriage differently and it is true to say that for myself, my reactions to it changed dramatically, with every loss; and there were many, over a lot of years. I lived through that whole time in 2 states: joy and despair and yet, I was aware all of the time, that others needed me to at least try and act calm, try and think logically. Strangely, it never crossed my mind to ask how others were feeling. It was my loss. My body had turned on me and was refusing to cooperate. It was my hormones that were playing up. It was me who was suffering. I was grieving. I grieved for years.

Emotions become twisted. I would feel such intense emotional pain of the loss one minute, then I would be blaming something for it: was it something I ate? Should I have sat down instead of flying round the house trying to get it perfect for the new arrival? was it the fault of the medical professionals? There had to be a reason. Thing is, sometimes there is no known reason. And that's the worst scenario. After my fifth miscarriage, I underwent tests and yes, there was a reason. A very complex reason. Basically, I carried a mutant gene that meant that although it was entirely possible for me to give birth to a live child, we would never know until the point of birth, if that child was affected by this gene. If so, the child would be born deceased.

So I pulled on my 'big girl pants' and distanced myself emotionally from what was happening. Then, I had put on my logical head and was just going to keep going. I would walk into the hospital ward, all upbeat and bleeding and casually state to the doctors and nurses to ' get your marigolds on, it's happening again.' They would look at me with a really puzzled look on their faces and I would think they had no understanding that I just needed to get this procedure over with, without fuss and carry on regardless. It wasn't until many years later, after my children were born, that I realised that what I was going through was real trauma. I chose to continue to put myself through trauma in order to have a living child and to do that, I had to switch myself off emotionally. It took many years for me to come back from it.

People think that once you've had your child, the ones that could have been, fade into the distance of your thoughts and that the child in front of you heals the torment. It doesn't. It gives you a distraction. Healing from it is something that gets put on the back burner and the grief never really goes away. My last miscarriage was 28 years ago. I can't say that the memory of it is a happy one, but it has taught me so much about human emotion. We aren't all 'one size fits all emotionally' we are all different. We all react in different ways to the same thing situation. No one is wrong to behave in one way or the other about miscarriage or child loss.

Miscarriage is not uncommon, but no one really talks about it. Someone might share that they lost a baby and people say ' oh I'm sorry' and then change the subject. Because it's uncomfortable. And I get it. Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, gives us an opportunity to talk about our experiences, to remember those little ones and the big ones that we lost and it gives us the opportunity to listen to others experiences and show compassion for our shared experiences.

So, today, I will light a candle for all of my babies. I will light a candle for all of your babies and I have sent Reiki to any parent going through miscarriage or the loss of a child, whatever their age.

If you need someone to talk to, I'm here.

Take care. Be kind. To yourself and others.


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