Pregnancy after a loss & blogger guilt

Pregnancy after a loss & blogger guilt

I spent a long time um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to write about my current pregnancy on my blog. As somebody who has had to deal with the heartache of having two miscarriages, I know how upsetting it can be for somebody going through a loss or infertility to constantly see pregnancy updates. I know how it feels when it seems like everybody else is celebrating bumps and babies and you’re not. It really bloody hurts. And now that I’m pregnant again? Well, I feel guilty that my happy news could be causing somebody else to feel miserable. I hate the thought of that.

What I realised though, when I was going through my own grieving process, was that every woman should be able to celebrate, feel happy and talk about their pregnancy – in whatever form that takes. The fact that I got upset about seeing/hearing about other people’s pregnancies was my problem. Not theirs.

I spent a lot of time blocking, muting and deleting pregnant bloggers on social media. And I know – I know – how horrible that makes me sound. I still feel a little disappointed in myself and ashamed for reacting that way. But in all honestly? It wasn’t personal. It was self-preservation. And that’s what I needed to do to get through that stage of my grief. I had to protect myself from hurting anymore whilst I licked my wounds and allowed myself the time and space to heal.

Of course, not everybody who goes through early pregnancy loss will feel the same way I did. I don’t mind admitting that I was angry and bitter at the world. I’d love to have been able to be genuinely happy to hear of other people’s baby news but it turns out I’m just not wired that way.

Thankfully, the ‘angry and bitter’ stage did pass and over time I gained better control of my emotions. Deep down I understood that people weren’t trying to deliberately hurt me or rub their pregnancies in my face. (It’s crazy how self-absorbed grief can make you). But my biggest ‘eurka moment’ was when I realised this: No matter how resentful I was towards others, it wasn’t going to bring my babies back. I was wasting all of my energy on something I could never change. I had to move on.

For me, moving on meant trying again for a baby, but for others it might mean something completely different. You’ll know what’s right for you.

Forgive me, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog post, it was never one I had planned to write but it was something that has been on my mind ever since I found out I was pregnant again.

I guess, amongst all of the “and what do ya know, we got pregnant straightaway” pregnancy blog posts out there (and they are no less worthy than any others) I wanted to write something for those who have been or are going through what I went through. I think this is the blog post I was desperate for somebody to write 8 months ago.

So, I’ll tell you what I wished I could have read then:

Whatever you’re feeling, it’s normal.

You’re not a bad person.

It wasn’t your fault.

Want to try again? Do it. Need more time? Take more time. Done with trying to conceive? Who could possibly blame you?

It gets easier. You won’t feel this bad forever.

Do what you need to do to protect yourself from further hurt. If that means temporarily pulling away from pregnant friends or relatives then that’s what you need to do. Anybody with an ounce of compassion will understand.

There is hope.

There is support, you just have to find it.

And once more… it was not your fault.

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Lately…

Lately…

I’ve been relatively absent from my blog over the last couple of months and whilst I’m certainly not under any illusion that there are hundreds of people wondering where I’ve been, I thought it would be nice to have a catch up. Bloggers disappear, without a word, all the time and I tend to be one of those people who wonder “What happened to them?” Sometimes life gets in the way and other times, they just fall out of love with it all. In my case, it was little bit of both.

As most of you know, I had a miscarriage in November and that was what turned everything on it’s head. It came at a time when it felt like 95% of mummy bloggers were announcing pregnancies and whilst I was pleased for them all – it can become truly exhausting being happy for everybody else. Especially when you’re battling with your own grief. I had to look after myself and take the time to heal. It was then that I decided to take a step back from the blogging community. For my own sanity, if nothing else.

I, at least, was in the fortunate or unfortunate position (depending on which way you look at it), to have been through this all before. I knew that it would get better in time, I knew that my grief wouldn’t be this painful forever. And I’m glad to say that things are getting better and the pain doesn’t sting quite so much. I can now smile at the pregnant ladies at our toddler groups without fighting back the tears. I trust that my turn will still come. I have to believe that it will.

The amount of time I suddenly gained from not blogging was more than I knew what to do with. Well, at first anyway. But then I joined the library (it only took me two and half years!) and I have found myself getting lost in books again. I can spend a whole morning at the library – browsing the aisles, running my fingers across the spines of books,  searching for a title that grabs me. I’ve slept so much better since swapping my ‘up until gone midnight on the laptop’ routine for one that involves climbing into bed at 10pm to read a few chapters of a good book. Better sleep = less grumpy. Less grumpy = more patient. More patient = happier mummy. Happier mummy = happier daughter.

Talking of being more patient. I never feel like I have to rush around anymore. Whereas before I would snap at Jasmine because she wasn’t walking home from nursery quick enough . I’d worry that she’d then be late down for a nap and I’d have less time to blog or clean the house or prep dinner… The list of things that I thought I needed to get done was endless.

Those things are no longer priorities. Instead, I let Jasmine stomp in every puddle on the way home – even the pathetic 4×4 cm ones. I encourage her to run along the different types of gravel we come across, as many times as she likes. We touch the leaves and twigs on every bush we walk past. We say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to every person and animal we meet. We loiter all the way home and it’s ace. I just wish I had known it sooner.

I’ve started doing more for me and I now know that I’m not being selfish for doing so. A realisation that took far too long to come to me. In January, I rejoined Slimming World and I’m slowly working my way back to my target weight (which I achieved in the summer, before I got married… and then subsequently comfort ate like a mofo after the MC). I also recently started going to cardio kick boxing classes which make me feel a happy, satisfied kind of exhausted.

The time-suck part aside, I have missed blogging. Writing here on Tinyfootsteps has always been my favourite creative outlet but recently I’ve chosen to keep a diary instead. A diary that is for my eyes only. Understandably, my thoughts and feelings have been so raw over the last few months that I’ve been less willing to share them publicly. Everything about the whole damn situation was ugly. My blog was supposed to be my ‘happy place’ and I felt the ugliness was creeping in.

So where do I go from here? I’m not really sure. I think I am just going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

Healing. Taking things slow. Looking after myself. Getting fitter and stronger. Reading. Writing for me. And jumping in tiny, pathetic puddles with my girl.

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Trying again

Trying again

There is something that consumes my thoughts every day at the moment and that is, trying for another baby. I’ve always wanted at least two children, probably because I grew up with a younger brother and I can’t imagine having not shared my childhood with a sibling. I want Jasmine to have that too, I want to give her the gift of a brother or a sister. I often watch her as she plays with her babies and it makes me realise how much she would dote on the baby of the family. I’m not naive – I know there would probably jealousy and fighting, just as there was between my brother and I, it comes with the territory. But I do know, she would make the best big sister ever.

In November we went through a second agonising miscarriage and suddenly my dream of having another child feels like it’s being snatched away from me. As far as I know, there is nothing medically wrong with me and the fact that I already have a daughter proves that I am capable of carrying a baby to term. It’s more the mental aspect of trying to conceive another baby that I’m struggling with. In the last four years I have been pregnant 3 times and only have one child to show for it. And honestly? I’m just not sure I could cope with losing another baby.

Having a miscarriage makes you feel many things…

It makes you feel like a failure. The moment you see those two pink likes you feel a duty to do whatever it takes to bring that baby safely into the world. When my pregnancies failed, I couldn’t help but ask myself what I did wrong. Did I eat healthily enough? Did I take all the right vitamins? Was I too active? Not active enough? You can go around and around in circles but most of the time? It’s just shit luck.

I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I’d told my husband he was going to be a dad again, only to announce a week later “I’m bleeding, I think it’s over”.

I felt guilty that I have the most wonderful little girl and I still long for another child. I felt like I should be happy with my lot and accept that I’m always going to be a mum of one.

I felt lonely and isolated. My husband and I deal with things in very different ways. He likes to just crack on with things and get back to normality. I like to talk things though and grieve openly. But we’re not meant to talk about miscarriage, are we? It’s not like losing a real person, right? Chin up, get on with it.

It’s the months that follow a miscarriage that I find the hardest. When people expect you to be ‘okay’ again. Over it. Oh, how I wish it worked like that.

I felt angry and bitter. After a miscarriage it often feels like everyone else can seemingly fall pregnant ‘first go’ and have a healthy baby 9 months later. Obviously, I know that’s not the case and I know others have struggled far more than I have. But it doesn’t make it any less difficult when babies and bumps are everywhere, as if they only exist to rub your nose in it. It seems so unfair that others can have child after child so easily and whilst I wouldn’t wish my bad fortunate on anybody, I hate being told “I can’t imagine how it feels”. I roll my eyes and I utter “Well, lucky you.” This is me, telling you how it feels.

I don’t like the person I become after miscarriage.

Is it any wonder I am frightened to try again?

I don’t want to call the hospital, sobbing down the phone, to cancel another ultrasound scan.

I don’t want to spend weeks checking for blood every time I go to the toilet, constantly on edge because I fear I will miscarry again.

I don’t want to feel like a failure. Or feel guilty for not giving my husband and daughter what I promised them. I don’t want to feel lonely and isolated anymore. I don’t want to feel angry and bitter about other people’s happiness.

And yet, I still desperately want another baby.

I still want to pick myself up, dust myself down and try again.

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Document Your Life: November 2015

Document Your Life: November 2015

Over the last few months I’ve dabbled around with making YouTube videos. I took part in the ‘Would you rather?’ tag, shared my Top 5 Beauty Products and reviewed a toy for Fisher Price. Whilst I’m still trying to find the direction I want to take my channel in, I’m pretty sure I’m not a ‘sit down and talk to the camera’ type of vlogger. Even though I’ve had some lovely comments, when I watch the videos back I can see how uncomfortable and nervous I am. I think for now, I’ll leave those type of videos to the beautiful people!

Recently I stumbled across a YouTube project called ‘Document Your Life’. People all over the world make and upload monthly videos – compilations of short video clips from their daily lives set to music. I was instantly hooked on watching these videos and watched one after another after another.

I decided that I’d love to take part too and, rather uncharacteristically, also decided I would start the very next month. Normally in situations like this I’d wait until January or until I could afford a super-fancy computer to edit on. But no, I decided to start in November and use my irritatingly slow laptop (which makes me want to punch it in the QWERTY every time I use it).

Things were going well and I was really enjoying filming little snippets of our day and putting them together (however slowly). And then, well, November turned out to be a pretty awful month. I had a second miscarriage and suddenly everything was all doom and gloom. The last thing I wanted to do was pick up a camera and film, I didn’t have any motivation to do anything.

I thought about scrapping the video completely – it felt too short and disjointed. Not only that, I couldn’t use the song I had lovingly chosen as it was 3 times as long as my footage. After watching the film back a few times, I realised that despite its faults, it still made me smile.

And that’s why I’m sharing it anyway…

The dog walk on a windy, grey day.

The moment of peace and tranquility I enjoyed by the fish pond.

The way Jasmine’s face lit up when I kissed her on the cheek.

How could I leave those moments to just sit and fester in a folder on my computer?

Video, for me, has always been about preserving memories – first and foremost.

There we have it, my less than perfect video of moments from a less than perfect month. Memories preserved.

I can’t wait to get stuck into December…

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When it happens again… {Miscarriage}

When it happens again… {Miscarriage}

I sat in A&E amongst people with broken limbs, cuts and bruises – a sorry looking bunch. And then there was me, no visible clues as to why I was sat in that room, waiting to be seen on a Monday night. I wasn’t there to get an x-ray or to have stitches. I was waiting to be told what I already knew. I was losing another baby.

I wanted to do this at home, in private, but because I’d been having lower right-sided abdominal pain there was a chance I was having an ectopic pregnancy. I spent several hours being moved from room to room – poked and prodded, blood taken, swabs taken, internal examinations, external examinations, moved into another room, wait here, wait there… on and on and on. I just wanted to go home.

I really, really just wanted to go home.

Thankfully, it turned out not to be ectopic – I got to go home and await my lab results. I have to be honest, at this point I held on to a glimmer of hope. I hoped the blood was something else. Anything else. But not because I was losing another baby. Surely I don’t deserve for this to happen again?

The next morning, I eventually got the call. “Your pregnancy hormone is down to just 2. We count that as a negative test. Wait a few months and try again… if that’s what you want.”

Right now, I just can’t think of anything worse. We could try again and it could all be OK. I know it can happen. I have a 19-month-old who proves it can happen. But if it doesn’t? It could break me. This is breaking me.

I’ve never smoked in my life and I rarely drink. I try to take care of my body.

It just seems so cruel that this should happen to me… again.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is grow babies, give birth to them and nurture them. And I can’t. It’s not working. I’m not working. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. My body is broken. My heart is broken.

What do you do when it happens again?

I’ve removed myself from social media for self-preservation, the pregnancy announcements (which seem to appear almost hourly at the moment) are too much to bear. I feel angry and bitter at the world. And then I feel guilty for feeling so angry and bitter. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. But why should I have to go through this? Again.

Jasmine won’t be having a sibling in the summer.

I won’t be having another child.

We won’t be a family of four.

It seems so simple for everybody else.

But not for me. Not for us.

I never thought I’d be so unlucky to have to suffer another miscarriage.

What do you do when it happens again?

 

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