I have thought hard about posting this. About whether I would be opening myself up to criticism or even ridicule, but sometimes ‘taboo’ things need to be talked about, because there are people out there that need the support of knowing that they are not alone.
I’m aware that there could be a million answers to why people don’t discuss what I’m going to talk about – because it’s too difficult, because views are so diverse, because it’s not a subject that is discussed in casual forums are to name but a small few.
This is TOTALLY understandable and I’m not saying that we should all be sharing our deepest and most sensitive experiences with random strangers that have no want or need to hear about them. But, having recently experienced a pregnancy termination that became a miscarriage in the recent months, I wanted to write something so that anyone out there who had experienced anything similar could read and find support or comfort of some sort.
I had been feeling pretty ‘off’ for a week or so when I decided to take the test, so when I saw that bold lettering on the stick telling me I was pregnant, surprise was not one of the feelings that coursed through me.
I have a son, it took years of trying and tests and ‘help’ to conceive him so I know how it feels to desperately want to fall pregnant. This was the other side of that coin, this was unplanned and precautions had been taken to avoid this even happening.
My first pregnancy was difficult. It came with multiple health issues during and even more afterwards. My post natal depression was crippling and escalated to the point of self harm and suicidal thoughts. I don’t have particularly happy memories of being pregnant or being a new mum and this, among other personal circumstances, meant I don’t want any more children.
It’s a personal choice and it doesn’t require your judgement, no matter what your views.
So, when I looked at this test, my face fell and anxiety set in on a deep and primal level. I knew I had to make a choice and I knew the sooner I made it, the better.
I made a trip to the doctor that day and explained (very tearfully) the situation and my decision – it was not pleasant or easy and I was plagued with fear. Not fear of making the wrong decision, but fear of being judged for my decision – I was afraid of having to explain myself and justify my choice, which is utterly unfair because it’s MY CHOICE and It’s MY BODY.
The doctor was understanding and provided me with a couple of leaflets, once of which included contact details for Marie Stopes.
A couple of days later I had an assessment over the phone and an appointment was made at my nearest clinic. I ended up going twice because it turns out that the first time around I was too early in the pregnancy for a termination (but too far along for the morning after pill – like some sort of purgatory).
Another appointment was made for 2 weeks later. During this time I went to work as normal and tried to ‘get on with it’ as it were. I started to notice small amounts of spotting and I was getting some cramps but I ignored it – believing this to be fairly normal.
But the bleeding started to get heavier and the cramps were getting more frequent. I phoned the Marie Stopes helpline and was asked a few questions – the upshot being that if it got worse, I should go to the doctors but they couldn’t tell if it was a miscarriage without an examination.
That evening, on the train home, the cramps got much worse. I realised very quickly that they were contractions and they HURT. I sat on that packed train for almost an hour in excruciating pain but I didn’t want to ask for help because I didn’t want a fuss. I didn’t want to be that person that causes drama on a commuter train – what if it had to stop?? No, I would grit my teeth and get back home, do myself a hot water bottle and battle it out. I had an appointment for a termination in a couple of days anyway, there was no point in going to A&E to wait for hours in pain when there was nothing to be done except ride it out.
I was in pain for almost 2 days and bleeding too, but I kept telling myself that it was my body doing what I was going to get done on Saturday anyway so no need to seek help.
When Saturday came around I was lucky enough to have a friend that took me to the clinic but I was unlucky enough that protesters had decided to set themselves up outside. They held posters and bisected models of pregnant tummies with babies inside and as I walked past them, they told me that god loved me. I thought to myself as I walked past, with my eyes firmly on the ground, that if there was a god I bet he wouldn’t want his worshippers to make people feel how those people made me feel that morning.
The nurses at the clinic were helpful, but unfortunately they couldn’t determine whether there was any pregnancy left due to the bleeding. I needed to go to hospital for blood tests, then would need to go back to hospital a couple of days later for more tests to confirm what I already knew.
Overall it had turned into a waking nightmare. I was sore, tired and to top it all off my body had gone into pregnancy mode which meant my hormones had gone absolutely ballistic. My skin broke out, my SPD came back (related to my hypermobility and a nightmare in itself), I had mood swings, I felt nauseous, I had sore boobs – the bloody lot! It’s been over 2 months since it all happened and my body is STILL getting back to normal.
But you know what concerned me the most after this whole ordeal? It was the shame and anxiety I felt about how other people might perceive me or my situation. I wonder if this is just another facet of my own self esteem and anxiety issues or if this is something other women experience. If it’s something other women experience then I worry about living in a world where a person can go through something like this and be ashamed of it.
I was so lucky to have friends and family for support during this time but I was luckiest to have a supportive partner who never once questioned the choices I made and provided calm comfort that came with no strings or judgement. I don’t think I would have been able to bounce back like I have if it weren’t for those around me.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re going through or have been through something similar, I’m here to talk – no judgement.