Since going through recurrent miscarriage, I have had the honour of meeting (online and IRL) some wonderful people who have shared their story of infertility, loss, miscarriage, IVF, stillbirth, baby loss, child loss and mental health struggles with me. Community is a powerful thing that has offered me so much support over the last year. One thing I’ve learned throughout all of this, is that grief is strange and unexpected. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. And there is no comparison between one person’s experience and another’s.
Sometimes I grieve the pregnancy I may never have. It is lonely and scary becoming part of a club. Infertility. Some parents never get pregnant – they still grieve. They have still lost. Some mothers experience secondary infertility and cannot conceive again after they already have one or more children. They still grieve. They have still lost. Some mothers have hyper fertility and fall pregnant time and time again, but each pregnancy ends in devastation and loss. There is no comparison between these fertility journeys. Each one is painful. And each mother grieves.
Sometimes I grieve the babies we lost due to miscarriage. As we approach the year anniversary of George’s birth day, I find that I miss him terribly. I miss the smiles we didn’t see. The milestones we never reached. When I think about George, I grieve. I feel lonely and lost. It’s a feeling similar to fear. Then when I stop and remember that George wasn’t the only baby we lost, I feel completely and utterly bereft. How did it happen 5 times? How did we endure that? How on the Earth can we ever face that again? Yet sometimes when I think of George, I smile. I feel proud of the strength he gave me. The opportunities he has given me. Grief isn’t all sadness. It’s strange and unexpected. I no longer tell myself I should be over it or my reaction is over the top. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no too little. There is no too much. There is no ‘enough now’. It just becomes part of your story. Sometimes it’s at the forefront of your day, other times it’s hidden in your heart.
I’ve heard heart breaking tales or stillbirth, neonatal death and child loss. Sometimes I have compared my grief to theirs and thought that I have no right to grieve. But I do. Because there is no comparison. Their journeys are full of hurt and pain, no doubt. It is something I hope that I never understand. But if I did, it would still be different to any body else’s experience. There is space for us all to grieve our own losses in our own way.
So if today has made you reflect on your own loss, my heart goes out to you.
To the mothers grieving the baby they will never have.
To the mothers grieving the baby the lost and never met.
To the mothers grieving the baby they lost too soon.
To the mothers grieving the child they lost.
My love goes to all of you today.