I wrote back in November about my desire to have another baby. After experiencing such severe anxiety after Caterpillar’s birth, and a few times since, it has taken me several years to feel ready to have another baby. But after a lot of soul searching and discussions with Hubs we decided to follow our hearts and take that leap. I felt prepared this time and even wrote this letter to myself as a safety net.
I became pregnant in March of this year. I was in equal parts ecstatic and terrified, I had a couple of minor anxiety wobbles which I quickly dealt with. After a tiny bit of spotting we had an early scan at eight weeks and everything looked perfect – the baby was spot on in size and had a good strong heartbeat. After a tumultuous couple of months, where I had been worrying both about whether I could cope with another baby and about the pregnancy itself, I finally allowed myself to believe everything would work out okay. I had read that seeing a healthy heartbeat at eight weeks vastly reduces your chance of miscarriage so I began to relax.
Sadly, on 6th May, one day before the seemingly magical 12 week mark, I begin bleeding heavily and miscarried later that day. The shock and sadness almost knocked me off my feet and I finally understood the pain faced by millions of women every year.
Alongside the heartbreak, I was also utterly consumed by rage. Was I destined to never have a “normal” experience of motherhood? Between PND and miscarriage I began to question if nature or God or whatever brutal forces are at work were sending me a sign that parenthood clearly isn’t for me. The injustice of finally finding the courage to have another baby only to have that opportunity ripped from my body ravaged me until I could feel the heat of that anger in my veins.
Also, the terror. The fear that this awful experience would toss me back into the grips of anxiety and set me back to square one.
And for the total of two days it did.
Life looked dark, cruel, pointless, hopeless and unreal. I was anxious, sleepless and couldn’t bring myself to eat. My skin prickled and my heart raced and I couldn’t be still in the world. There was a deep pool of fear right in front of my feet begging me to dive in.
But I didn’t.
I saw my therapist. I read my old notes. I read my own blog posts. I wrote my three things every night. I stuffed my brain full of as many positive thoughts as I could find and allowed all the feelings – shock, sadness, disgust, guilt, anger and fear – to wash over me while I held tight onto Hubs, Caterpillar, my parents and my friends and cried. While I absorbed the support of countless women in my life who have been through the same.
And the anxiety drifted away. The threat to my mental health was squashed. The sadness and hurt remain. The desperate desire for another baby is stronger than ever. The feelings of anger still sometimes come at me like raging flames.
But I’m not unwell.
I miss my baby and my second chance at motherhood.
But I’m not unwell.
Every day is easier until there’s one that isn’t and then I ride that out and write down what I’m grateful for and begin a fresh the next day.
That expression “everything happens for a reason” is pretty nausea-inducing at the best of times and yet that doesn’t stop it being true sometimes. I experienced PND in order to become stronger, better person, in order to be more grateful and to live in the present. And countless other reasons.
And, similarly, I’m wondering if I lost this baby in order to realise how much I truly wanted it. To realise that anxiety will never stop me going for what is in my heart. To realise I have learnt enough about how my mind works to be able to fight off my demons.
To realise that I am 100% ready to have another baby in my arms, mental health be damned.
If you’ve experience a pregnancy loss and would like more information please visit www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk.