I did not cope with my miscarriage conventionally well. I got so low I didn’t even know if I’d make it out alive. But, with hindsight, what I did do well was I allowed myself to fully experience and embrace that trauma and as a result the person that emerged from the wreckage is actually the person I always wanted to be. Strong. Intense. Loved.
Before my breakdown I was a private person. So private that most of the time even I would have an incredibly difficult job trying to decipher how I was actually feeling. I could never admit to negative feelings. If I was honest about a negative event in my life I would dress it up with positive interpretations or just flatly refuse to accept that it had affected me at all. I tried desperately to hold on to all of that when I lost that baby- in fact, I did hold on to my privacy, yeah I really did- and in doing so I lost my mind. I was devastated and because I’d never learnt to accept my feelings I absolutely hated myself as a result. I wonder whether I could have made it without the sunlight of my first born son to illuminate the pitch black I was residing in a lot of the time. But having him also made me despise my weakness even more because I was disgusted that I could have such a beautiful wonderful child and not be happy.
Then there came a point… I don’t know whether it was an impulse that came purely from my subconscious or the intellectual part of my brain finally taking my councillors advice but something clicked and I knew that I had two choices: open up or fold. So all of a sudden, maybe six months after it happened, I just started telling strangers at any opportunity. Sometimes it’d be in response to someone asking whether this was my only child? Or did I plan to have more? And I might just casually drop it in with a sad smile and say no more and that felt good. It was a relief because otherwise, faced with that question, I would get totally hung up on my missing child and isolated from the World who didn’t know they’d existed… Then sometimes a woman (because in the beginning it was only women) would be able to empathise and when that happens between women who’ve lost children what is created is this instant deep bond that feels like sisterhood. And how comforting is that?
So… I managed to claw my way back into the land of the living and fragment by fragment my armour of self loathing was beginning to flake and peel. I began to accept that this woman having these deep meaningful conversations and doting on and nurturing her child was me. Not ‘me but really I’m a depressed monster’ or ‘me but only part of me, and the other part is despicable’… When I was doing those things (let the record state that) I was a good person; that I should love and be proud of.
As I was beginning to venture out of my shell and socialise I was coming across people that, when I was a ‘respectable’ mother of one, I would have been perfectly civil to but would have refused to even consider a real friendship with as a result of my prejudices. Did she smoke when she was pregnant? Not my sort of person. Was she wealthy and well-spoken? Probably stuck up. But, because I needed friendship like I have never needed even oxygen before and because as far as I was concerned I myself was the lowest of the low (it was that unhapiness despite my living child thing that just tore me up); I was willing to let anyone in and I have made some of the most beautiful friendships with people as a result. They have my back and, my self esteem is reinforced because, I have theirs.
And then… Then something wonderful happened. I decided I wanted to reach out into the ether and tell my story publicly just on the off chance that it might help someone going through something like I did. And to my amazement what poured of me was graphic and uncompromising but it was also… Somehow… Captivating. And when Nickie published that article one by one people started to tell me that I was courageous- and talented. Some opened up to me about their experiences (maybe from my past or from the peripheries of my life, who I would not otherwise have made a connection with but) now here we are meaning something in each others lives. Now it’s months later and they’re still falling like flies and finding genuine intimacy in my company. And that was down to me. How could I possibly hate myself again?