This week has been really, really hard. I don’t really have any reason as to why this week should be harder than any others, but it was. Maybe it was because I got my period last weekend. The first one after a miscarriage is pretty awful because of the nature of it, it brings back all the awful memories (which by the way aren’t fading anywhere near quickly enough) of the miscarriage itself. It also throws your hormones all out because, clearly, you haven’t been through enough yet, you’re not emotional enough so let’s pile on the hormones too! Sometimes the human body is as cruel as it is amazing.
I struggled through work, fighting the tears every day as I sat at my desk until a kind word from my old boss tipped me over the edge and opened the flood gates. That was Thursday, so then on Friday I thought “Finally! I just have to get through today and then I can go home and let it all out.” And that was a good plan…until one of the girls on maternity leave popped in to the office to catch up with everyone. She stood by my desk talking about her two month old baby. It was excruciating.
Don’t get me wrong, firstly, she has no idea what I’ve been through and secondly even if she did, her life hasn’t changed as a result of it and it’s only natural that she’d want to share her happiness with friends and colleagues. I know all that and as a rational, logical person I can understand it. It really doesn’t make it any less excruciating to hear though. Thank God I had something else to focus on – I’ve never studied a spreadsheet so intensely in my life!
On top of feeling really emotional and generally crap, I now also have the confusion of feeling desperate to be pregnant again. I didn’t think that would happen so quickly (if at all) to be honest. We were told to wait until I’d had a period before trying again and we both thought that seemed really, really quick. I couldn’t imagine wanting to get pregnant again so soon and had quite a few freak outs at even the thought of it. Now though, only 5 weeks later, I feel ready. I feel positive that despite losing our first child, this time it’ll be ok. I don’t know whether that’s some pre programmed survival instinct to stop the human race from going extinct, or whether it’s my desire to have a baby overriding everything else, but whatever the reason I feel like next time it’ll be ok.
When you lose a baby, certainly from a mother’s perspective anyway, you’re left with this emptiness. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it but it’s a sort of black hole inside you. It’s a void that you know only one thing can fill. I don’t know if every woman feels it, but for me I knew I was pregnant instantly. I felt pregnant, different, wonderful. (And yes, also sick and tired and emotional) That’s what makes the emptiness so all consuming I think, to go from feeling pregnant to feeling nothing is a really hard thing to get your head around. It’s unnatural after all – normally when there’s no longer a baby inside you it’s because you’ve given birth and you have this tiny little person to look after. I also can’t help but think that by now I should be able to feel my baby moving. I know that’s not constructive, and I try not to dwell on it, but I feel robbed. We should’ve been painting the nursery by now. The paint patches remain on the wall – a painful reminder of the plans we were making, the unopened tin of paint still sits in the room I can’t bring myself to enter.
I don’t know if we’ll try again yet, I don’t know if when we do we’ll get pregnant straight away. I don’t know if we’ll have to endure another miscarriage. There are so many things I don’t know, but what I do know is that I love Paul and I love our baby. The ten weeks I had of feeling blessed, lucky, excited, and hopeful were the best of my life. I can honesty, hand on heart, say that I’ve never been happier than I was for those 10 weeks and despite the 6 weeks that followed being, without doubt, the worst of my life, I don’t for one second wish that I’d never been pregnant in the first place.
I’m determined to make next week a better one. So today I’m taking the power back from the grief. Those paint squares and that tin of paint? I’m going to do something about them. I’m going to clear out the room that breaks my heart, and I’m going to open that sunshine yellow paint. I’m going to think of it as a fresh start because I know deep down that room is going to be a nursery one day, so I’m going to paint it in that cheerful yellow and dare myself to leave the door open and not shudder every time I pass it. Maybe I need to confront that last remaining link to my first pregnancy. Maybe it’ll help the healing.