Dealing with the other “M” word: Miscarriage

Indeed, this is the first time we’ve revealed to anyone other than our parents what happened that fateful day

I’ll never forget the moment I got the call.

There I was, sitting in the rain with the old man, watching a rare Fremantle Dockers win at Subiaco Oval when the phone beeped. It was my newlywed wife on the text, she’d been trying to call me, and I’d missed the calls amongst the flurry of cheering from the crowd.

“I need you to come home as soon as you can.”

I knew that didn’t mean good news and obviously, I dropped everything to get home as fast as I could.

By the time I got home, some twenty-five minutes later, her Mum and Dad greeted me at the door. The looks on their faces is all I needed to know that something was wrong.

 My wife, 8 weeks pregnant with our first child, had suffered a miscarriage.

It was all a bit of a blur from then. I rushed her to the nearest emergency hospital but clearly, we both knew there wasn’t much that could be done.

We spent an hour waiting to be seen by a doctor, who confirmed what we instinctively already knew. We’d lost the baby.

Another three or so hours later and there we were, back at home and sitting in a haze of numbness.

I remember that my wife cried a lot that night, just processing what had happened. Selfishly, this helped me mask the confusion I was feeling. I focused on being her “rock” (usually it’s the other way around), whilst trying to work out how I was feeling.

I wasn’t distraught. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t bitter.

backup

If anything, my overriding emotion was guilt.

I felt guilty for missing her initial calls.

I felt guilty that I wasn’t there for her when it happened.

I felt guilty that there wasn’t anything I could have done to stop it from happening.

I felt guilty that I was responsible for her being in that position in the first place.

Looking back, I know that it wasn’t my “fault” that it happened. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but those feelings of guilt are no doubt borne from the situation as it panned out and my natural instinct to look after and care for my partner.

I remember that over the next few days, my wife and I just talked about what had happened and how we can move on from it. It felt like the right thing to do.

We took solace in the thought that, for whatever reason, this was the body’s natural way of rejecting something that wasn’t meant to be. That sounds simplistic and arguably a bit naive, but I remember that helping our mindset to, as they say, get back on the horse and try again.

Now, in our case, that setback didn’t stop us from reaching our goal of becoming parents. Our next three pregnancies all led to bouncing bundles of joy, and our family was complete.

Sadly though, for every story like ours, there are a seemingly equal number of couples who go through the sad experience of miscarriage over and over again.

My heart breaks for these people. Getting pregnant with someone you love with all your heart is one of life’s true joys.

Maybe that’s why it hurts so much when it goes wrong? The sense of loss you feel for something created with so much love, in particular if you’ve shared your good news with people close to you.

I remember that part of our coping mechanism was talking to a select few people. In our case, we turned to our parents for support and kept it at that. No one else needed to know because we had enough support to pick ourselves up.

Indeed, this is the first time we’ve revealed to anyone other than our parents what happened that fateful day.

These days, there are a multitude of online resources and support lines you can contact, you just have to Google “dealing with miscarriage” to see what’s available. Like a lot of stuff in life, just talking about how you’re feeling, and coping can help on the path to moving on from the event.

Like I said, it worked out for me and my wife. We have three beautiful kids, aged 12, 10 and 8. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

But for those of you who have gone through, or continue to go through the pain of miscarriage, know that you’re not alone, and know that there are people there to help you through the pain.

After all, it’s generally such a joyous occasion when you find out you’re pregnant. It makes complete sense for the tangible feeling of loss when that joy is suddenly taken away.

Of course, everyone deals with grief differently.

I feel like it’s important to acknowledge how traumatic an incident like a miscarriage is and, in a way, take time with your partner to go through that grieving process in the hope of moving on.

Once you take the time to process what’s happened, you can take stock, pick up the pieces and like I said before, “get back on the horse”. Well, that’s the plan in any case.