These last few months have been very difficult; at times I’ve felt like I've been living in the vortex of unluckiness. Three months ago today I was in hospital waiting to see if I’d be released on not; I had learned that I’d miscarried exactly a week before.
It was my 12-week scan and I was SO excited about seeing a tiny, live foetus inside me. Unfortunately, as soon as that ultrasound machine touched my stomach, a series of rather devastating events followed. I learned it had died a while ago (it was a ‘missed miscarriage’). I made a decision about what to do. There were complications; I stayed in hospital for two days (and met a racist nurse; “Do you want to bring in your own food? Oh, that question is mostly for the Indians and the Chinese. I don’t know how they can eat that stuff…”). The nurses were actually lovely (except for the racist one who seemed super-nice until that moment when I realised that a) she was racist, and b) she thought that over-cooked, salty, flaccid hospital food was somehow superior to any other sort of food). I now have a renewed appreciation of the free health system (with the exceptions of the food and that nurse), though I wish I didn’t.
Grief is a really overwhelming process. To add to the mess, my body continues to behave in random, unpredictable, and frustrating ways. Quite a bit of my confidence, along with my innocence, has been slain. I wrote about it, numerous times, and each time I decided against posting what I wrote. But I’m posting today because eventually horrible stuff needs to be talked about, and because I’m trying to focus on recovery.
These are the things I have found that have helped, in no particular order:
- Talking. It doesn’t really feel like it helps sometimes, but I’m fairly certain it does. Sometimes I feel a bit ‘pay attention to me and my horrible experience’ when I'm talking about it. I have talked about my experience with friends who have also experienced miscarriages - with some friends in more detail than with others - and it has been helpful. I realise that every miscarriage is a really different (though often devastating) experience. Talking to friends and family who haven’t experienced miscarriages has also been helpful; after all, I appreciate any form of support I can get, no matter how much someone might not be able to comprehend what I’ve been through.
- Crying. It’s so dehydrating and not a great evening-wind-down strategy, but I always feel just a little bit better for crying. It is a release, if nothing else.
- School. School has been great, because teenagers (and teachers) are rather self-absorbed, and so I’ve had a daily opportunity to not think about what happened to me, to us, and just focus on the teaching and learning of young people. My students were pretty alarmed at the fact that I disappeared for over a week, with no explanation (my two favourite questions were: “Was it an STD, Miss?”, and, “Was it mental?”), but they were very happy to have me back which made it so much easier to be there. I love my job; it gives me purpose when nothing else seems to.
- Facials. These are definitely the most enjoyable thing that's helped. I initially booked my first facial because my skin was so incredibly terrible; I had massive under-the skin-pimples as a result of my body’s hormones being all over the place. The facial was amazing. Not only was it incredibly relaxing - my scalp, face and shoulders were continually cleansed and massaged - but my skin looked so smooth and shiny and clean afterwards. Then some lovely friends gave me a voucher for a facial. I’m hooked.
- Support of a loving partner.
- Exercise. I’d like to say that it’s been super helpful (and it has, in theory) - the problem has been that my miscarriage coincided with the onset of winter, which, as usual, has resulted in many rainy days, colds, and an inability to warm up without injuring myself. Continued exercise is one of my long-term plans though, and I am looking forward to the end of winter when I can really get stuck into my swimming, walking and weight-lifting. It’s good to know my legs, arms and core can increase in strength when it seems like my body is working against me.
So there we have it; the last 3 months of my life briefly summarised in approximately 900 words. I guess you might ask why I bothered posting this. My answer is, I want to move on and write posts for my blog without feeling like I’ve avoided something fundamentally life-changing. I also don’t want to remain silent on what seems to be a fairly common occurrence (although, NB - it’s not actually a reassuring thing to hear that miscarriages are “common”. Neither is “at least you can conceive”….maybe I should write a ‘what not to say to people who've had miscarriages’ page. Oh wait - it’s been done already).I guess I just want people to know how I’ve been feeling, and why. Finally, I hate not talking about stuff. And anyway, it’s my blog, and I’ll cry if I want to.