Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place from the 9th to the 15th of October every year.
9th October 2020 was two days after I’d been told at what should have been a 9-week scan, that the foetus only measured what you might expect for 6-weeks. And that they couldn’t see a heartbeat. But that I’d have to wait another week to confirm that it hadn’t grown before they could confirm that it was a missed miscarriage.
15th October 2020 was the day after the scan that confirmed that I’d had a missed miscarriage, and the total fucking ordeal that was spending hours alone — thanks pandemic — at a hospital waiting to speak to nurses and doctors, and the day before I took misoprostol to “deal” with the missed miscarriage.
Suffice to say, I didn’t need to be made aware of baby loss that week. I was living it. And far from feeling comforted that the whole world seemed to be talking about it, I hated every single fucking post about it. For all the sympathy and empathy I felt for anyone who had been in my position, I just didn’t want to hear about any of it. And I think I will always resent the fact that I had a miscarriage during Baby Loss Awareness Week because there will never be a year that passes that I’m not reminded of it.
It’s not that I want to pretend it didn’t happen. It will always have happened. I know that. B knows that. But I am not the type that wanted an anniversary. Maybe for some women that’s helpful, but I don’t want a day of concentrated pain. Just like I went out of my way to avoid calculating a due date — right up until the hospital handed me paperwork with a due date printed on it. (I still can’t get over the utter thoughtlessness of that. Giving a woman who’s just been told she won’t be having a baby a piece of paper with a due date for the baby that won’t ever be born.) I’ve done my hardest to forget it. It was sometime in May.
In many ways, I’m one of the lucky ones. So far I’ve only had one miscarriage. It was early. I’d had no scan that showed a heartbeat, or the outline of an actual baby. I had no idea if it would have been a boy or a girl. It was an infinitesimally small collection of cells that we hadn’t expected to be there anyway. We were already working on our contingency plan. This wasn’t the end of the road, it was just a bump. In so many ways, it could have been so much worse. But, of course, hierarchies of misery aren’t that helpful in these situations.
Losing a baby, at any stage, is about losing the parallel existence that you would have had with that child in your life. It’s about that one person who, in our case anyway, never really existed outside of our imaginations, but now never will. It’s about all the milestones you’ll never reach with that person.
It would be all too easy for this to be a post about how if I hadn’t miscarried then, I probably wouldn’t be pregnant now. About how much can change in a year. A post that offers hope. That’s about rainbow babies. (Sorry, I hate that term, I really do.) But I didn’t want to read those posts a year ago. I’ve never wanted to read those posts. I can see how you can get comfort from reading someone else’s story, from hearing how they got through what you’re going through and it was all OK in the end. But I hate the need for this sort of narrative arc.
I hate the fact that very often women don’t talk about their struggles with fertility until they have their happy ending. But life doesn’t always play out like that. So if you’re reading this and you’re in the middle of it, I’m not going to give you platitudes about things happening for a reason, or how time is a great healer. There are a load of other blogs and posts that will do that if that’s what you want. I’m just going to say I’m sorry, it’s shit. And you probably know, in your heart of hearts that it won’t always feel this shit (and you’re right), but when you’re in the middle of it, and it’s shit, you can’t possibly imagine how you’re going to get from it being shit to it not being shit. So I’m sorry. I’m thinking of you.