Coping With a Miscarriage & Depression – Behind The Maskby Janet Avery-Ward - 18th March, 2016
I am not starting from the beginning of my story, in fact I am starting with the most recent of years. I will go back to the start in a future blog post.
After 5 years of being convinced that I would never have a second child after the mental problems I faced following the birth of my daughter, my husband and I finally made the big decision to try for another baby.
After a short period of trying we found out that I was indeed expecting our second child, we were over the moon with excitement. This time was going to be different. I was prepared and determined that with appropriate help and support I would not let the post-natal depression that consumed me following the birth of my daughter take hold again. This time was going to be a happy occasion and I was going to change all the aspects of motherhood I regretted and missed out on first time around!
I happily continued living my life, going to the gym, looking after my horses and being a mother to my daughter. I was so happy, things were finally going well, I could see the future and it was bright. As the weeks passed I patiently waited for my dating scan. By the time the scan came around we had estimated 10/11 weeks pregnant.
Excited to get a first glimpse of my tiny baby I watched the screen. It was tiny, not at all what I was expecting. The sonographer, in a rather harsh tone, corrected our estimated dates and told us that I was only 4-5 weeks pregnant. Laying there I felt embarrassed, how could we have got the dates so wrong? I felt sick, something was not right. I thought hard about the dates, I could not be that far off. After all I had already known I was pregnant for over 4 weeks.
That evening, feeling a little concerned about our findings, I continued as normal. As I prepared my daughter’s dinner I suddenly felt a little damp. I quietly went to the toilet and discovered that I was bleeding. My heart sunk, tears filled my eyes as I called for my husband. At that moment all my hopes and dreams that I had already built for my tiny baby slowly started to drift away.
We went straight to the hospital where I was seen very quickly in the early pregnancy unit. Unfortunately due to it being out of hours I was told that they were unable to perform a scan and the only option was to do an examination. At that point they confirmed that I had not lost the baby yet. I was sent home and told to take paracetamol for the pain. They advised me to return if the bleeding increased. I tried to reassure myself that maybe things would be ok but deep down I think I knew.
Over the course of the weekend the pain was intense and the bleeding increased, however the hospital told me that they could not scan me until Tuesday! In my heart I knew I was losing the baby however the torture of not knowing was killing me.
Finally Tuesday came, the physical pain was immense yet nothing compared to the psychological agony I was enduring. As the sonographer sympathetically performed an internal scan I looked away, tears rolling down my cheeks. She was silent, I knew what was coming next. She gently placed her hand on my leg, and said ‘I am so sorry, you have lost your baby’. My heart instantly shattered into a thousand pieces as tears flooded down my face. Once the scan was completed I felt the large gush of blood poor out of me, the reality of what had happened was suffocating.
Over the coming days, forced to rest due to the pain, I was trapped with my thoughts.
Why me? After all I have been through in the last 10 years (more on this in future posts) why me!
Have I done something to deserve this? So many bad things have happened in my life, I must have done something to deserve this.
I must be a bad person! For all the bad things I have been through in my life and now this to happen I must be a really bad person.
Millions of thoughts filled my head, the world which had once looked so bright with hopes and dreams was dark. Any brightness that was once there had been blocked by the sadness and anger that now filled my mind. Trapped in a world of pain I feared that my mental health would yet again take a turn for the worse. Feeling determined not to give in to my demands I fought the temptation to self-harm. I needed a way to remember my baby and a way to try to carry on with my life.
Finally I came to the decision of what it was that I was going to do. Firstly I had a tattoo to symbolise my family and the baby that I had just lost. To me my tattoo will be with me forever just as you hope your children will be. I am not suggesting that this would be the right thing to do for everyone, but for me it was the first step in moving forward. If you do decide to get a tattoo, make sure you go somewhere reputable that’s been recommended to you and not somewhere unlicensed.
Secondly I wrote a poem:
Never did we meet, nor touch nor speak
Your first Christmas came without you. You’re the unopened gift we never got to hold.
We carry you in our broken hearts and unwrap you in our dreams.
Your face, your hands, your tiny feet we can only imagine.
We see you in every bulging belly, wishing you’d never left us.
We see you in empty baby shoes and imagine what could have been.
You’re in each tear we cry as we look into the sky.
You have left a hole in our hearts that can never be repaired.
May you rest peacefully in the heavens and one day we shall hold you tight.
Mummy & Daddy xxxxx
I placed the poem at one of my favourite spots on our local heath along with a bunch of flowers.
And lastly I bought a small teddy, something that I can cuddle every night and remember what could have been.
Sadly despite my best efforts to move on in a positive manner my depression increased, life yet again was hard. Everywhere I looked I saw a pregnant lady. I felt so angry. Why were they having a baby when I had lost mine! Anger filled my heart. Any reminder of what I had lost was unbearable. To add to the difficulty of my situation my husband’s best friend was expecting his first baby. This broke my heart. How was this situation fair? I have experienced so much pain in my life and yet I lost my baby. They have not had the difficulties that I have faced yet they were happily expecting the one thing I wanted more than anything! I hated them! And in turn hated myself for feeling that way. The jealousy of others was consuming me.
Finally after physically recovering from the miss carriage and surgery I decided to put all my energy into training for a race. Exercise has always been the one constant in my life that I can turn to when I am unable to see the light. Through training and talking to those that are close to me I gradually started to feel better. The thought of what I had lost still hurt, in fact it still does. I don’t think the pain will ever completely go away. However my love for exercise and running was helping turn all my negative energy into something more positive. I trained throughout the winter and participated in a Tough Mudder event in the spring. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant again!
If this was a movie then I would now live happily ever after! However this is not a movie and things are never that simple.
I was indeed over the moon at the news of the pregnancy, however I was petrified that I would lose another baby! Fortunately all is going well with this pregnancy and I am about to enter my third trimester.
If only I could just flick a switch and be happy and put the past, along with any irrational fears, behind me then life would be a much simpler place. Despite my love for my unborn baby and my happiness of my pregnancy, the stress and worry of what could go wrong is consuming me, taking over my life. This pregnancy has become far from enjoyable and sadly my mental health is once again affecting my life in a negative way. To be continued….