Living through a miscarriage
I remember the cheap aluminium blinds. They were three quarters shut; the movement through the slats from the busy street below ebbing and flowing as the traffic lights changed. I watched the lights dance on the roof, unable to feel anything before I was ushered into a small room in the hospital.
In there, I heard the worst four words of my life: “It’s not good news.” I’d had a miscarriage. Knowing that I was now part of a 25 per cent statistic made me feel like a failure. I was the person people would refer to when saying, “I know someone who’s had a miscarriage.”
The pain of miscarriage is a strange one. For me, it was like missing something or someone who was never there. It was like mourning an idea or a dream; longing for the potential of something yet never being able to have it.
As someone who has suffered anxiety since I can remember, I can tell you unequivocally that having my worst fears realised meant, strangely, that there was nothing more for me to worry about. When I was told I had had a miscarriage, I became anxiety-free for the first time in my life. Sure, there was a deep sadness and unexpected shame, but I didn’t feel a shred of anxiety. In that quiet, dark place, I felt truly present.
Anxiety is extremely exhausting; the shock of loss was the cold splash of water I needed to wake up.
Anxiety is extremely exhausting; the shock of loss was the cold splash of water I needed to wake up. Although oscillating grief continued, I felt more peace and tranquillity than I had ever felt in my life.
When I was finally able to leave the hospital, I felt better than I had in weeks. Suddenly, I was noticing sights, smells and sounds I had never noticed before. My mind was no longer double- or triple-analysing everything — I was, finally, living in the present moment.
Learning to be present
In the weeks following my miscarriage and with a new diagnosis of a partial molar pregnancy, I was thrust even harder into the present moment; I had to be monitored monthly to make sure new growth didn’t turn into cancer.
I was in limbo and unable to move forward with my life. I had to learn to sit patiently in this new space. I began practising yoga at a studio near my house. The studio offered a women-only space and I felt cocooned and safe, silently flowing with other women as we all dealt with the chaos and crazy perfection of our own lives. I began to practise up to five times a week. Being able to spend time with my body during the trauma and loving and caring for myself was invaluable. The shame and embarrassment that I had felt subsided and was replaced with a profound sense of respect for a body that takes care of me every single day.
Along with my regular yoga practice, I began exploring Buddhism. Buddhism talks about hopelessness as being a really freeing experience, and that is exactly how I felt after the miscarriage. I didn’t care about anything; there was no future in my mind and certainly no dreams.
Throughout my experience, however, I discovered another side to loss — a side that stopped me in my tracks and made me really notice the world around me.
Suffering a pregnancy loss is the worst experience I have ever been through. Previously, when I had thought about loss, I had only imagined the grief, tears and heartbreak. Throughout my experience, however, I discovered another side to loss — a side that stopped me in my tracks and made me really notice the world around me. It wasn’t happiness or joy, but there was peace, a sense of calm and a reminder that I can only ever live in the present moment.
Three years have passed since my miscarriage and now I spend my days with my nearly two-year-old daughter, Aurora. It feels like the timing of Aurora’s entrance into the world was perfect and the huge transformation I underwent during and after my miscarriage was paramount to my journey as a parent.
Now, when life gets busy and my anxiety rears its head, I have a place to turn, techniques to practise and a quiet confidence that I can get through anything.
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