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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One day at a time…

One day at a time…

Part of me expects that nobody else, other than me, will ever get to read this blog post – although I hope that won’t be the case. I’m pregnant. And, as much as I wanted this, and I really did want this – I’m not overjoyed or excited… I’m bloody petrified. You see, this is my fourth pregnancy and thus far my success rate for a healthy full-term pregnancy is 33%. Doesn’t sound a lot, does it? But the numbers don’t mean anything, not really. Either I’ll lose this baby or I won’t. I’m trying to be optimistic but I’m finding it incredibly hard.

At the time of writing this, I am 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I count the days because every day counts. Every day closer to meeting my baby matters to me. Every day I get to stay pregnant, I’m thankful – to whom, I’m not entirely sure, just thankful.

There’s been a spate of pregnancy announcements in ‘real life’ and in the blogging community over the last week or so. I thought it would be easier to be happier for people, knowing that I’m pregnant myself. But I’m still jealous – I’m jealous that they know their baby is growing well and that everything is as it should be. I’m jealous that they’ve got to see their wriggly bean in black and white, that they’ve looked into their husband’s eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. That’s a moment I’ve been dreaming of. (My own husband’s eyes though, obviously!)

I’m envious of the fact that they, having reached 12 weeks, can shout their news from the rooftops (often in beautiful and elaborate ways). Right now, I cannot even comprehend getting that far. My mind daren’t let itself think about ways of announcing my pregnancy. I can only think about today, I can only hope I’m still pregnant at the end of it. And then the same process will start again tomorrow. I’m just taking it one day at a time.

Of course, I know that all of these newly-announced pregnant ladies would’ve no doubt dealt with their own fears, anxieties and struggles over the last 3 months. The first trimester is a scary time, no matter what you have or haven’t been through previously. It’s such a shame that, as a society, we feel forced to keep quiet about what is often the hardest part of pregnancy.

The good news is, I’ve stopped peeing on pregnancy tests now, which is progress. I’ve peed on an embarrassing quantity of pregnancy tests since I got that first positive in order to check that “Yep… I’m still pregnant.” However, the sore boobs and sheer exhaustion I’ve been experiencing is now enough to reassure me that somethin’ be going on in there. That said, I do check for blood every single time I go to the toilet. And I do worry myself sick that I haven’t been sick. I was so, so poorly when I was pregnant with Jasmine. Why am I not puking already?!

I’ll probably regret having a desire for morning sickness in a week or two. Here’s hoping!

Next week is going to be especially tough, both of my previous miscarriages were in my sixth week of pregnancy so I’ll no doubt be on ‘high alert’. But it’s also going to be Jasmine’s second birthday and then we’re off on our first holiday abroad as a family so there’s also a lot to look forward too. I’m determined to enjoy it all.

For now, I’ll keep wishing, hoping and being thankful, one day at a time.

Stay sticky, little bean. xx

This post was originally written on the 30th March 2016. 

I wasn’t sure whether or not to publish this post publicly as, reading it back now, it seems very negative. But that’s how I felt at the time and I want to be honest with myself and my readers about pregnancy after a loss.

TinyFootstepsPregnancy

To see more posts from My Pregnancy Journal click here.

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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 fortune 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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ME & MINE {A FAMILY PORTRAIT PROJECT} November 2015

ME & MINE {A FAMILY PORTRAIT PROJECT} November 2015

This month’s Me & Mine photos were taken during our visit to Banham Zoo last week. I wish they were taken under happier circumstances but this has actually been a really difficult month. After recently having a second miscarriage  I am really struggling to stay positive at the moment. I feel physically and emotionally drained. A few days after our loss, Stephen just so happened to have the day booked off work so we decided we really needed to get out of the house and have some quality time together.

We visited Banham Zoo this time last year and poor Jasmine was absolutely petrified of everything. In fairness, one of the tigers made it very clear that he was desperate to eat her. This time, however, was very different – Jasmine thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the zoo. She waved and said “Hiya” to all of the animals, looking a little perturbed when the snowy owls didn’t wave back. Rude.

I remembered to snap a couple of family selfies whilst we were outside the giraffe house, using my new camera. Annoyingly, I had my camera set to take lower quality photos (and didn’t realise it was on that setting until I got home). It’s a real shame as these are some of my favourite photos of us as a family. Ah well, I’m slowly getting to grips with the camera functions – even if I am learning the hard way!
Me & Mine November 2015

I don’t think I’ve taken a single photo of Jasmine over the last few weeks where she hasn’t had her tongue out. It seems to be her default facial expression at the moment. I’m so tempted to paint her face black and white to make her look like a member of KISS.

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See what I mean?!

Now that November is over I feel like I can start focusing on Christmas which will be a much needed distraction over the coming weeks. I hate feeling sad and angry and I want to make Christmas special for Jasmine. I’m expecting to have some ‘down days’ along the way and I’m allowing myself that because I’m only human. I’m really hoping December will be a happier month.

I don’t have everything I want right now but I do have everything I could ever need.

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dear beautiful

Miscarriages, silver linings and rainbow babies

Miscarriages, silver linings and rainbow babies
One evening last week I received a much anticipated text message. It was the message to say that my friend Lorraine had given birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl. I cried a few happy tears as I know just what this day had meant to her. Her journey to motherhood had not been an easy one but it is one that we had shared together. You see, Lorraine and I have never actually met, not in person. But she is my silver lining, a lovely, caring and supportive person and was the best thing to come out of an awful time in my life.
On the 13th November 2012 I had a miscarriage. An unplanned but truly and utterly wanted baby was leaving my world as quickly and dramatically as it had entered it. The night before it happened, Stephen and I lay in bed, working our way through the alphabet coming up with baby names for each letter, some more ridiculous than others. We did this until the early hours of the morning at which point we eventually fell asleep, dreaming of our future family. The three of us.
The next day I awoke early with period-like cramps. I knew that cramping in early pregnancy was pretty normal so I didn’t think much of it at first. Unfortunately the pains grew stronger and stronger and after a trip to the bathroom I discovered that I was bleeding rather heavily. I knew straight away it was all over for me.
Now that I have experience of both, I can honestly say that having a miscarriage was more painful than natural child birth, for me anyway. I’m not sure if it’s because I learnt to manage pain in my second pregnancy or I was more relaxed during Jasmine’s birth but my miscarriage was agonising. I remember hitting the bathroom sink with clenched fists in order to distract myself from the pain of my uterus. It was contracting rapidly to expel a baby which, at that point, would’ve easily fit in to the palm of my hand. I sobbed because of the physical pain and I sobbed because of the emotional torture I was being put through. How cruel that I’d received one of life’s greatest gifts only for it to be snatched away from me just weeks later. What exactly did I do that was so bad that I deserved this?
I was truly the saddest I had ever been in my life.
I told a couple of close friends about what had happened and whilst they were sympathetic, they couldn’t really comprehend what I had been through. I don’t think anyone can truly understand unless they’ve experienced a loss themselves. I turned to the internet for help and it was on a miscarriage support forum that I found Lorraine. She had, just a couple of days before me, lost her first baby too. We understood each other’s anger, frustration and disappointment. After all, we were both feeling those emotions first-hand.
We continued to bond as we sent messages of support to each other and we stuck together through the emotional roller coaster that is trying to conceive. I shared Lorraine’s grief when she subsequently went on to lose yet another baby. It was then that I realised that these things have no rhyme or reason. Sometimes bad things do happen to good people. And as hard as it is to accept, they just happen.
Nine months (to the day) after my miscarriage I found out I was expecting again and whilst I was obviously overjoyed, I was extremely cautious not to get my hopes up. Once bitten, twice shy. A few months later Lorraine found out she was pregnant again too and we were able to bond further over swollen ankles and backaches!
Twenty months on and we finally both have our rainbow babies in our arms. This is the moment we told each other would happen one day. So, Lorraine, for every ‘we can do this’, ‘it will happen’ and ‘you are stronger than you think’ message we exchanged, I want to say a million ‘thank yous’. Thank you for being there, thank you for your kind words and thank you for being so pleased for me when you still had a way to go yourself. Most of all, I want to thank you for being a true friend. You are my silver lining in what was a very dark and difficult time for me. For us both.
But look at us now, mummies to the most gorgeous little rainbow babies in the whole wide world and I wouldn’t change a thing.