Dating a pregnancy after miscarriage
That's my baby that she's growing." Insanity, I know, but possibly evolutionarily useful insanity. The stakes keep rising but we have to keep playing the game.Maybe another baby will arrive to heal the hole in my heart.It seems more real to me than opting for an operation under general anaesthetic. Miscarriage, by contrast is an entirely private grief.There's me and my partner, and he's generally so intent on protecting and comforting me that it's hard for him to make space for his emotions. " a friend will ask, in a conversational tone, and I wonder, do they really want to know the blackness of my mood?The hormone rushes make you feel like you're stoned. With a miscarriage, I'm left battling through the layers of euphemism to even recognise that I have been bereaved. When the scan revealed that my baby was no longer viable, I was referred for an operation with the horrendous name of "Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception". Every time my mind trips back to this death, this loss, it strikes on empty, because there's nothing there to miss.This jellybean, lying forlornly on some toilet tissue – how can that sum up all my hopes and dreams for this child? I almost welcome the pain and blood that happens when I miscarry. When a friend dies, you can seek solace in the company of other mourners.Pregnancy is a superstitious time and I can see why women don't want to tempt fate by announcing their news too soon. We can be proud of our pregnancies, no matter how "successful" they are. The only thing that has really helped me through this is knowing other women who have been through the same thing.But fate has dealt me that blow, the one people don't talk about, and I can tell you that the fact that people don't talk about it makes it a whole lot worse. Miscarriage is such a common trauma – there is no reason for us to be alone in our grief.
I won't be so sentimental as to say that these unborn babies will stay with me, because they never really lived, but these scars will have made me part of who I am. Our society conspires to render miscarriage invisible.
You have a vastly increased need for food and for sleep. I had the company of others who were as grief-stricken as I was.
You feel more squeamish, more nauseous, more emotional and more hygienic. My mind replayed moments with him – a ceaseless video stream of memories, which was part of the way that my brain processed the loss. The word "baby" was never mentioned by the staff in the Early Pregnancy Advisory Unit. I feel as though I must be kidding myself, wallowing in a morass of grief over a person who never even lived.
The stack of baby clothes that I have in the attic is slowly diminishing, pragmatically distributed to women who are actually having babies, not ghosts. Throughout the animal kingdom, there are examples of bereaved mothers attempting to steal babies. The survival of the species is best achieved if there is a mechanism for matching up thwarted parents with unwanted babies.
And alongside the helplessness and hopelessness there is another, even darker emotion. And I have reached the point where I've thought, "She's got my baby.Kate Evans's book on breast-feeding, 'The Food of Love', is published by Myriad Editions (£12.99).