Losing A Baby You Didn’t Try For 12 Comments


This blog post was originally posted over on Huffington Post.

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People are always sceptical when you tell them that your pregnancy was unplanned. They say “But contraception is so readily available! But surely you know what happens if you have unprotected sex?!”.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter in September 2013, it was certainly unexpected, and we definitely hadn’t planned for it. We’d never for a moment thought I might get pregnant. So whenever people expressed doubt about unplanned pregnancies, I’d insist that people can have momentary lapses of common sense.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realised that our momentary lapse of common sense perhaps wasn’t as momentary as we’d thought. Neither of us had wanted me to get pregnant at that time – halfway through university was, without a doubt, the stupidest time to throw a baby into the mix – but neither of us had been strict on contraception for the previous six months, and it had nothing to do with common sense.

The summer of 2013 wasn’t the first time I’d been pregnant. Six months earlier, when I returned to university after my first Christmas break, I was in the very early stages of what would have been a very unwelcome pregnancy. Almost as soon as I realised, before I’d even had a chance to tell my partner Daf, I started bleeding. It was like a period on steroids; I didn’t go to class for almost a week. The pain was horrendous and the bleeding even more so.

I think I already knew what was happening, but a quick look at the NHS website gave me the proper name for it. A chemical pregnancy. Had I not realised I was pregnant, I might have written it off as a particularly heavy period. Instead, it was a very early miscarriage – and I was dealing with it alone, in my bedroom in halls. I called Daf and told him, wishing we were dealing with this together, and told myself it’d be over in a few days.

Physically, I was right. Emotionally, the effects lasted much longer.

If you lose a baby that you’ve planned and wanted and tried for, it must be unimaginably heart-breaking. People grieve for the baby they lost; for what could have been; for the pregnancy they wanted for so long.

When you lose a baby that you didn’t really want to have, you’d think it’s easier – that there’s at least some feeling of relief. For me, it was so confusing. If I hadn’t lost the pregnancy, there’s no guarantee I would’ve gone through with it anyway. At such a difficult time, right in the middle of the university term, there’s every chance we would have chosen an abortion. And still, after the bleeding had finished and the pains were gone, we were left with emptiness and grief.

 

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The guilt was relentless. I was a first-year student; I’d been drinking without realising that I was pregnant. Not just the occasional glass of wine; proper nights out. I convinced myself that I was the reason for losing the pregnancy. The pain and the grief was the punishment I deserved for hurting what would have become our baby.

I didn’t feel able to tell anyone. To this day, very few people know. I was scared of what they’d say – I couldn’t stand to hear platitudes like “Well, at least you weren’t trying”, or “You weren’t ready for a baby anyway”. If people don’t know the right thing to say when someone loses a longed-for baby, they’re even more clueless when it comes to an unplanned pregnancy. It’s not their fault – it’s a difficult situation for all involved – but it makes people frightened to talk about it.

The grief and the pain brought Daf and I closer, but it made us reckless. At first, I think I was looking to replace the pregnancy I lost. Some sort of atonement for the dreadful thing I thought I’d done. When nothing happened after months, I convinced myself that I couldn’t get pregnant anymore. That was part of my punishment too.

And then September 2013 brought along a little blue cross on a pregnancy test.

I’ve never seen my daughter as a replacement for the pregnancy we lost, but as time has gone by, I’ve realised that I didn’t cause the miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies mostly happen because of chromosomal abnormalities; something no-one can help.

It’s never been more important to speak out about our experiences of miscarriages and chemical pregnancies, to reassure people that they are not alone – and to help people know what to say if someone tells them about their pregnancy loss.

Planned and wanted or not, if someone confides in me about the loss of a pregnancy, I’ll say to them what I wish someone had said to me.

“I’m so sorry. Would you like to talk about it? I’m always here for you”.


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12 thoughts on “Losing A Baby You Didn’t Try For

  • Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight I had one the month before I conceived my daughter; I told myself it was a heavy, late period but having had friends go through the same it makes me realise what it was. I am glad I didn’t know – I can’t imagine the pain and particularly in your case the internal conflict.

    You have your happy ending in your daughter, hopefully that is a rainbow through the clouds, but don’t ever feel like you should stop talking about it. #KCACOLS

  • tinmccarthy

    I lost my first pregnancy and it was truly devastating. I was so young and naive- assuming that two lines on a stick would surely lead to a baby. It did not and really the only way I recovered was to get pregnant with my daughter. I have had four babies and was wary with every single one of them.

    #KCACOLS

  • diaryofuem

    As a fellow mother to a very unexpected baby – I feel like I can relate. Once I knew I was pregnant I was so confused, but at the same time I was terrified of losing it. To actually lose the pregnancy, I’m not sure how I would have coped to be honest. Well done for talking about it, nobody ever really talks about unplanned pregnancies, which makes it even harder to understand your feelings.
    #KCACOLS

  • The Mum Reviews

    This is a very brave post. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us. To be honest, I had never thought about this issue, but I’m glad I came across it so I can be sensitive and respond appropriately if it happens to a friend, and less alone if it ever happens to me. #kcacols

  • fatherof5blog

    I might be wrong, but I feel like most of the time people give those stupid remarks so that they don’t have to listen to another person’s sad story.
    If they took some time and opened an ear people wouldn’t feel so alone
    #KCACOLS

  • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

    Thank you for sharing this I’m sure it will be a great comfort for others in the same position to hear. I had an unplanned pregnancy that sadly ended in miscarriage and I felt like such a fraud for feeling so sad. It took me a long time and a lot of heart ache not to blame myself. The first thing I knew about being pregnant was when I miscarried and I felt so wretched. If only I had known, maybe I would have done things differently, maybe I wouldn’t have lost the baby etc. It was such an incredibly hard time. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this too x

  • themotherhub.ie

    I was going to say sometimes people say insensitive things because they just dont know what to say. but your response at the end is just perfect. Thats what everyone should say and im going to say it too from now on x #kcacols

  • winnettes

    I’m sorry you experienced this. I think it very important people raise awareness about this not only to help those going through it find the correct help and support but to also help their friends and family be able to provide them with a safe and comfortable support network. I think sometimes people are so afraid of saying the wrong thing they shy away from helping and talking about it. You have every right to mourn a baby planned or not.
    #KCACOLS

  • Kerry

    It’s sadly so common, and your right people don’t know how to deal with it. My first pregnancy was unexpected and not planned, and I started to bleed heavily within days of finding out. I remember the emotional turmoil I was in, fortunately it all worked out in the end for me and I carried to term, but I know others aren’t so lucky. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you can come back again Sunday after next x