Trigger warning – Details of miscarriage.
For those first few weeks, I counted every day to being closer to meeting the baby we had longed for. We had been trying to conceive for just over a year and couldn’t wait to finally meet the baby that would make us a family.
But then one night, I bled.
The doctors at A&E found my hormone levels to be low so they said that a scan was needed to be sure and to come back tomorrow. I didn’t sleep that night and when the next morning arrived I felt so vulnerable as I sat there, with an ultrasound scanner between my legs, waiting for an answer. The blurry image came on the screen – there was my baby’s home but they couldn’t see a baby anymore ..
‘Maybe It’s still too early to say, come back in 2 weeks’
For those 2 weeks, I continued to bleed and with each visit to the bathroom, my heart grew heavy as I just knew my baby wasn’t with me anymore. It was like a light had been turned off – so when it was time for my second scan I already knew what the doctor was going to tell me and her face as she saw the screen gave me confirmation.
I’ll never forget the day while miscarrying, a big chunk came out of me that I scooped up into my hand. Was it tissue? Umbilical? My baby? I still don’t know, but for months afterwards every time I went to the toilet I’d check when I wiped because I’d get the feeling of something falling out of me. It was like PTSD and that feeling seemed to haunt me.
I lost my baby at 9weeks but It took my body 3weeks to let go and miscarry.
I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I didn’t know how too.
Giving Myself Permission to Grieve
We went through trouble trying to conceive again which just added more hurt. I had a disconnect with my body, I didn’t want to look at, touch or take care of myself. I didn’t feel sexy but wanted to have sex purely for the hope of getting pregnant. It became super practical and each period that came sent me further into a deep depression.
But then something clicked.
While reading stories of others who had also miscarried, I knew something had to change. I wasn’t allowing myself to really process the loss, rather just letting myself get swallowed up in the grief.
And so I made a decision.
I was going to be proactive in my healing and I was going to approach it more holistically because I started to realise that I needed to get some sort of closure on this journey before being truly ready for anything else.
I am a doula (someone who works with pregnant people and their families, like a birth partner) and so matters of the womb are dear to my heart. I read all the books, went to all the lectures and did all the online courses. I realised that in order to change how I treated myself I first needed to start with my thought process.
Instead of thinking my body had failed me, I had to acknowledge my body had also been through something. We were in this together and my body needed my love and appreciation not my hatred and hostility so I gave my body permission to grieve. It didn’t need to rush through healing so I could conceive again, I allowed my body to take all the time it needed and during that time I would be kind and patient.
Learning to Be Gentle With Myself
I used the time I had to get to know my body better. What she liked what she didn’t like. How were my menstrual cycles. What foods were most nourishing and what kind of exercise made me feel better.
I had acupuncture & reiki to help unblock my stagnant energy but most importantly I was kinder to my body, trying to forgive it for what felt like a failure. I realised my body just did what it needed to do, it wasn’t a betrayal. I should honour this body and show compassion, because now more than ever, it needed the gentle care that I had long been denying it.
The biggest shift for me, came when I decided to name the baby I’d lost.
Eastern religions teach that the soul chooses its parents and its lifetime as a way of working through karma from previous lives and believing this way of thinking helped me cope. Usually the karmic lesson requires a whole lifetime, but sometimes it can be learned in a few brief weeks or months. I chose to hold on to this thought process. A loss is still a loss but It brought me some sort of peace.
So my husband and I held a mini ceremony honouring our baby. We chose a name, wrote it down and placed it in a bowl with a crystal and a strand from both of our hairs to symbolise us as parents.
We each said we loved our baby and hoped to see them again one day as we said our goodbyes.
We then buried the bowl underneath a tree.
Giving them an identity and being able to say goodbye was tough but provided some peace at the same time. I made a promise to remember them but to let them go at the same time.
I then made sure to be gentle and hopeful. I again said out loud how thankful I was for my body. I bathed in flower petals and magnesium flakes.
I massaged away any aches and manifested that a baby would come when the time was right.
It was only after what would have been my baby’s due month did I then fall pregnant again.
I like to think my body had to go through the time it would’ve taken for a full term pregnancy to honour the baby that we had lost, proving again that my body and I were in this together.
Sharing Our Loss
After some time had passed, I decided to share about my loss with others.
I began to answer those questions of ‘ so when are you guys going to have kids?’ With an honest ‘ well actually I just suffered a miscarriage’ instead of the polite ‘ oh soon’ that I usually mumbled.
It was whilst sharing, that I realised I wasn’t as alone as I thought. I had no reason to feel ashamed. There were many friends and even family members who had suffered a miscarriage too.
So many women, a staggering 1 in 4, go through this loss.
You probably know someone who has miscarried but you won’t know it has happened to them because they stay silent, because that’s what we’ve been taught.
You mustn’t tell when you become pregnant, so when you miscarry, you have no one to understand your journey. You have no one to confide in and therefore no one knows how best to support you in the ways that you need.
It’s isolating. It brings on the shame, the anxiety, the sadness, the not wanting to make people uncomfortable.
And so you just stay silent.
But the silence is deafening.
Sharing about your loss isn’t always easy. it can feel like something you never want to say out loud. But in sharing, you will find people who are also going through something similar.
You will find a community.
And in community you find comfort.
Healing isn’t linear. It’s something that is ongoing and you’ll for sure have ups and downs along the way. But know that you aren’t alone and remaining gentle with yourself is key to staying on your path to wellness.
-Bloom From The Darkness
Author Bio: Leata-Mae d’Avoine
Beginning her journey into women’s health as a doula in 2015, Leata-Mae d’Avoine is also a holistic well being facilitator and a womb wellness consultant. Her work is focused on encouraging others to stay informed about their health and advocating for reproductive justice.