For the better part of the last four months I have been depressed. Not just a little down. Not just a little sad. Depressed. And it’s taken me just as long to work it out.
My depression was triggered by the loss of my second baby on May 10. Yep, do the maths – that’s two days before mother’s day. Hmm. Ironic, hey? Wait. It gets better. Not only was it two days before mother’s day but also, a year TO THE DAY since my first miscarriage. Double hmm. Not just ironic now is it? I’d go with cruel. Oh yeah, and I was one day off the so-called ‘safe-zone’ of three months.
I can’t explain the utter devastation that miscarriage reigns. It is the single most, soul destroying experience a woman can go through. And I’ve been through it twice now. I’m not saying my experience makes me better or worse than anyone else. There are a lot of women out there who have been through more than my two, or worse, but I will say this much. A loss is a loss. And that’s where all miscarriages are equal. The minute you discover you are pregnant, you envisage a whole new future. You are a mother. Whether the pregnancy was planned or not, when you see two pink lines on that stick, your life as you know it has changed forever. You have life within you.
That sensation is eerie, exciting, scary, and amazing all at once – it instills in you a sense of awe. You imagine your unborn child. What will they look like? Who will they take after? Will it be a boy or a girl? And your imagination runs wild. The one possibly our mind does not consider, is that this pregnancy may not end in a child at all. It may end in tears, blood, heartbreak and despair. And it does for one in four women.
I could accept miscarriage happening to me once. I was ok with that. Them’s are the odds. But twice? Twice suggests something more than just bad luck. A cold hand of fear grips my stomach when I consider the possibility that there may be something wrong with me.
I suffer from anxiety at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to pregnancy, I imagine the worst case scenarios. Suddenly I am faced with the prospect of infertility. Picture myself undergoing IVF, surrogacy, adoption. I start googling all the possible medical conditions that will prevent me from achieving my dream of holding a chid in my arms. The panic envelops me like a blanket.
I was also not prepared for the anger. The anger I felt towards myself – for failing in my job as a woman. The anger I felt towards anyone I encountered who was pregnant or had a child. Why were they more worthy than me? I did EVERYTHING right yet others who didn’t, went on to have perfectly healthy babies. It wasn’t fair! I was angry at the world. I was angry with God. And the weight of that anger pressed down on my soul. I was in a dark place, a really bad place. A mere shadow of myself and I could see no way out for a long time.
Getting out of bed. Exhausting. Getting showered and dressed. Epic – nevermind make up or putting any effort into my actual appearance. Facing the world, day to day tasks? Humiliating, paralysing, gut wrenching. People say the dumbest things in an effort to be helpful, but in all honesty, they just made me feel worse. In the end, I just avoided life because how could I enjoy a present so far removed from the one that I imagined and felt I deserved? It still hurts every day when I think about where I should have been in my pregnancy (btw, 29 weeks, 6 days)… but instead I have nothing.
Even now, I’m only just starting to come out the other side. I don’t know what the catalyst was for the funk finally lifting. Perhaps I just got as sick of myself as I was with the situation. And begrudgingly moved into acceptance. After all, what’s the other option?
p.s Things that people say that ARE NOT helpful after miscarriage:
- It was obviously not meant to be
- Your baby is in a better place
- At least you are able to get pregnant easily
- Your baby is an angel in heaven looking over you
- It’s nature’s way
- Be glad you didn’t have a severely disabled child
- You can try again
- It wasn’t really a baby yet