So tiny, it that died.
So small, the life made out of love that lived inside for a short while.
A beautiful visit that made me sick,
A sensation, an individual who was ours.
The promise of touch after pain, an idea of rainbows and frills.
I wrote this poem after my second miscarriage. I’ve had 3 of them, losing 4 babies, 4 lives. Stages of pregnancy – 14 weeks, then 9 weeks and then 20 weeks with the twins. I went through labour with them and it was very traumatic.
If my children had lived, my eldest would have been 23 this year, the next 21 and the twins 16.
It’s strange to imagine how different my life would be. I never expected to be 44 and childless, single.
I’m a very maternal person I think. I get strong emotional waves of protection for people, a natural instinct of love. I really do. I like to nuture, care for others.
So today on my morning walk I started thinking about that. And about the children I have lost.
I realised that I put so much of my identity into the idea of being a mother that it felt like I had lost a special part of myself.
I punished myself for each of those miscarriages. For not being good enough to keep their little lives going, not giving them what they needed to survive. I blamed myself, especially my body. I hated my body for letting them down, letting them die. I felt deep pain, shame and sadness. Utter despair and bewilderment.
And I buried those feelings deep into the pit of my stomach. I hid them. I carried on. I hardly spoke about the losses at the time, apart from to my mum who was amazing.
My first pregnancy was a ‘missed’ miscarriage, where the baby had died but not come away. I had to have surgery to remove baby. That precious little one had clung onto me even after death. It was 2 days before Christmas, 4 days before my 21st birthday.
I was in a maternity ward and my mum stayed with me the whole time. She pulled the curtains round my bed so I didn’t have to answer questions from the women who were in labour.
My darling sister was in a coma at the time. She’d suffered dreadful head injuries in a car crash 3 weeks earlier. So you can see what an amazing woman my dear mother was. I miss her.
Anyway, I buried those feelings of loss for my baby at the time. There was so much else going on.
After my second miscarriage I hid my pain even more. My fiance blamed me. He said that I was useless, that I should’ve taken better care of myself. He was partly right, I should have done. And I did, by not marrying him!
My last pregnancy was different. It came from an event that happened when I was traveling in Thailand. Something I’m not ready to talk about. But I wanted the baby. I didn’t know I was carrying twins until I lost them. Because I hadn’t had any scans.
I’d always hoped for twins.
I loved all four of those babies I carried and still do. Why am I thinking about them now? Because as the protective layers of fat are coming off my body I am allowing myself to feel the loss. As I reconnect with myself, with my body, I need to feel the pain and love myself through it. I need to stop hiding, stop being ashamed and stop punishing myself.
I did not choose to lose them.I have responsibility for them but it is not my fault they died. They just did.
When I had to have a hysterectomy 3 years ago because of big adenomyoma tumors, I was surprised at experiencing some feelings of closure. I am never going to have a baby. Never. And that means I don’t need to keep feeling that disappointment any more. It’s not going to happen. Ever.
But I am so very blessed to have experienced pregnancy and labour. Some women never do despite trying so desperately to.
And my maternal instincts are not wasted. I get to be a mother every time I listen to someone who is hurting, when I laugh with my friends, when I sit alongside those who are broken, sick or lost.
And I am so very grateful.
Love L x