My heart is adrift on an endless ocean
a current of loss ripped it from me
one moment I was laughing amongst friends
I felt so connected
bathed in the sound of their voices and our togetherness
It was only a moment to myself
floating with my face to the sun
held by the water
an embrace of the earth
even as the life inside me was held, embraced
and then all was gone
Deep and vast water
dark and unknown
I felt so alone
panicked and cold
there, a few moments of calm
Struggling on my own
time stretched and contracted
as I contract, then let go
I reached out, then called out
when I screamed they came
strangers and friends
Delivered back to my life
now unfamiliar and strange
I’m bathed once again
in the laughter of loved ones
Where have you been? some ask
I try to explain
Life carries on
but I don’t
my heart is still adrift
not yet found
time ticks on
Beauty the balm
I bathe in
to be reborn
A hazardous job
I was there when they were losing their baby. The sadness was overwhelming.
A memory of loss
I was there when I lost my baby. The sadness still keeps coming out.
He was our second child, another boy, a miracle! After years of infertility, IVF and relationship difficulties, we were speechless at how easy this boy came to be, with me already 39!
Routine scan at 12 weeks done and all good. Can this really be true? My belly grows with baby inside. I’m elated, but this is also tough. I went back to work after a year’s maternity leave, 8 weeks pregnant. It is physically taxing to grow a child… I work in a mentally and emotionally taxing job: providing anaesthesia for children is not like riding a bike (a male colleague really said this).
It’s October and the nights are drawing in. As the days shorten, the life in me continues to grow. The 20 week scan is booked. The next big milestone on this journey is only 3 weeks away.
I have a routine checkup at 18 weeks. No heart beat.
I still have to deliver this dead baby’s body. Our boy whom we never named.
Of course I don’t go back to work immediately. I can self certify sickness for a week. Of course this is not enough. Of course. I go to see a doctor. She reckons it’s best I just get on with things. After all, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, she says. Another blow I know now, 11 years on: my loss, my grief, my personal tragedy so easily dismissed. She books me off for one more week.
This confirmed the general message I heard in life. Be tough. Carry on. The pressure to do so immense, the guilt when not able to even bigger.
I did carry on. But really I couldn’t. What did I know? I was the one in a thick fog, either numb or too sad to even move.
Things got a lot worse for me before they started to get better. The journey continues towards wholeness and it involves a lot of tears. Sometimes there is anger, but mostly only tears. I cry them, it brings relief, usually. Sometimes there is shame at not being able to keep my composure. Then there are the feelings of failure and regret.
The boy who lived saved me in my darkest moments. I am his mom too. He was and is so fully alive and I want that too.
Balms of ❤️🩹healing
So I’ve been living my best life these past 11 years, questioning everything, searching and discovering ways to feel better and live more. But this deep wound was never tended to. It was difficult to recognize and even after recognition it can be difficult to know what will make it better.
General self nurturing practices were: (they occurred in this order)
counting my blessings to crawl out of the dark hole of depression
allowing myself a hobby purely for my enjoyment (this was running for me)
creative outlets (I did an art course, tried crochet, drew, painted)
regular yoga practice
creative writing and occasional performance
I realize that all of these practices has enabled me to gradually inhabit my body and become aware of how I feel in my body. Cultural conditioning and the trauma of loss has disconnected me from myself and I was living in my head. There are also a lot of therapies and helps that attempt to intervene via mental processes alone… To me it always felt like someone was trying to change the way I feel by changing the way I think. This process was painful and damaging too, full of judgement and rejection, moving me away from the healing process that is rooted in acceptance.
Healing became possible through taking a position of non-judgement of my feelings. ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ is the place where it becomes possible to allow healing to happen. There are no quick fixes. The journey of enquiry, acceptance, reflection and expression takes time. There are also processes in the body that need to be healed. Balance needs to be restored to all the systems that are stressed. We are all the layers of our being.
Tearfulness, anger, anxiety, low confidence, isolation, sleeplessness and exhaustion have been the most challenging components of my journey. I was so conditioned to suppress my sadness. After all, we live in a culture that says: ‘laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.’
I am immensely grateful for every friend, therapist, kindness gesture in my life. I am grateful for Baby Loss Awareness Week charity. This gives us permission to talk about our experiences more openly. I’ve found that reading other’s stories really helped me to feel ‘normal’ and even recognize some of my own feelings. Thank you to each and every one who has been brave to share. So here is a small piece of my story.