There is something so exhilarating about finding out you are pregnant. Just thinking about the beautiful life growing inside you and what this new chapter will bring, can put a smile on your face like no other.
Even in the earliest stages, you naturally start thinking about potential baby names, how to announce your pregnancy or what kind of gender reveal party you’re going to have, which cute outfits you want to buy and so much more. You more or less have your whole pregnancy planned out.
No one gives much thought to miscarriage and if they do it’s because they know someone who has lost a baby and are a little more cautious in their pregnancy, but nobody ever thinks it will happen to them. I didn’t.
The sad reality is that 1 in every 4 women will experience miscarriage and in 2014, I became that 1 in 4.
I had a relatively easy pregnancy; I had mild nausea but nothing else which meant I was able to hide my pregnancy way past the 12-weeks mark. I was planning to do a huge pregnancy announcement after we returned from our little babymoon to Dubai at 20 weeks. To say I was excited was an understatement.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the planned 20-weeks pregnancy announcement. At just over 19 weeks my water broke, and I went into preterm labor. On the 9th of November 2014, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who we named Mikaeel.
This is not how I ever imagined my pregnancy would turn out but once our baby boy was buried, I had no choice but to accept it.
There is this understanding that once you have your 12-weeks scan you are considered to be in the safe zone so naturally, I felt like I no longer had to think about losing my baby. The truth is that miscarriages and stillbirths still occur in the second and third trimesters – no matter how rare you may think they are.
Experiencing something that is such a taboo in society makes healing after a baby loss so difficult. I felt isolated and alone because I didn’t get the support I needed, both mentally and physically. Years of hiding my grief and pretending to be ok led to me developing symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If I could go back to the days after I lost my baby boy, I would have forced my doctor to refer me to a grief specialist so that I could learn how to deal with my emotions rather than push them to the back of my mind. I would have spoken up about my experience of baby loss much earlier because once I began sharing my story I realized how many friends and family members have been hiding their grief after losing a baby
Here are some of the things I have incorporated into my daily life that helps me to deal with life after a miscarriage –
1. Talk to loved ones – It would be a good idea for you to let loved ones know what you need from them in terms of support but also what you are or aren’t okay doing, for example, after losing a baby you may not be up to going to baby showers or visiting newborns for a while.
2. Find a support group – One of the best things I have done this year is to join a baby loss support group. When you’ve experienced something as difficult as miscarriage or baby loss, you can feel alienated from others as they may never truly understand how you feel if they have never experienced such a traumatic loss. I genuinely feel so much lighter after each session.
3. Memorial – Something I’ve found that has helped so many, including myself, is having something physical in memory of the baby, for example, planting a special tree in the garden to water or sit by, buying a teddy bear to hold or engraving a piece of jewelry with your baby’s name.
4. Give yourself time – Remember that losing a baby can be a traumatic experience. It may take a while for you to accept what has happened and make sense of it all. Don’t rush your recovery – take your time and let yourself grieve for the baby you have lost.
5. Get help – There is no shame in asking for help. We are only human and there is only so much we can understand alone. Sometimes we need the help of professionals to helps us understand what we have been through and how we can overcome the trauma that we are left dealing with after a miscarriage.
Losing a baby is never an easy thing to talk about because it is such a sensitive topic, but the more we speak about miscarriage and the impact it has on our mental health, the more we are breaking down barriers between those that are suffering in silence and their loved ones who don’t know how to support them.
Safiyya Mansoor works as the director of Yalla Samosa She is also actively raising awareness on miscarriage and babyloss
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