In 2019, I had a miscarriage. It was terrible.
I hadn’t wanted another baby. It took over a year with my first before I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, and I didn’t want to face feeling like that ever again. The body changes, identity shifts, exhaustion - for over 12 months I had found it hard to just enjoy being a mother, and as I was finally adjusting to bonding with my daughter, the idea of doing it all again filled me with dread.
I remember friends announcing they were expecting number two and then doing the calculations in my head, like, oh my god they’re ready for another already?
I couldn’t fathom how anyone would want more babies - what I really couldn’t imagine was how someone could have a baby and not feel as terrible and depressed as I had felt.
So when I did wake up one day feeling like I wanted another, I almost didn’t believe it. And when I did finally fall pregnant, I was elated. I’ve done it! I’d say to myself. I can be a happy mother. I can be excited about round two. And so the first trimester ticked along easily. I felt great - better than ever! - and I was excited about adding to our family. And then, just as we prepared to tell our friends the good news, it ended.
I won’t go into too much detail about the miscarriage here. Only that it happened, and it was terrible. There had been a heartbeat, and then there wasn’t.
You know that feeling, like when you’ve done something totally idiotic? When you feel like you’ve been taken for a mug? That’s how I felt. I had finally gotten excited about having another baby - only to have the rug pulled out from under my feet. I was embarrassed, shamed, upset, disappointed, sad - every possible negative emotion. I felt like there was something extra wrong with me - because not only had I not wanted more children - apparently my body couldn’t handle it either. I would say that over and over again in my head - I hadn’t wanted more, and then I did, and then even that I couldn’t handle. I just wanted to wallow in the feeling of being completely and utterly useless.
So I dreaded getting my period again.
In fact, after experiencing a life-threatening hemorrhage during that miscarriage, I didn’t think I could physically bleed any more than I had. Surely that was it for a while, I thought - ignoring my friends and doctors who told me I could start trying for a baby as soon as my period came back (or sooner! Another friend confided).
I wasn’t ready emotionally to try again. I didn’t want to experience any more bleeding than I had already - I was physically completely drained. I didn’t want any more babies. So as far as I was concerned, that was it - no more periods for me, thank you!
And then 4 weeks later, my period came back anyway - the most unremarkable, normal period you could possibly imagine. Not particularly long, or heavy, or crampy. Just a textbook period. As if nothing had ever happened.
I remember feeling enraged at my body - how could it just carry on?
Didn’t it know? I thought my mind would be more powerful than that, somehow. That somehow my grief and resolve never to have more would stop my body’s primal urge to create and procreate - that my grief alone could somehow stop nature in its tracks.
On the whole, I’d always felt overall neutral to my period. I had been on hormonal birth control for the majority of my adult life to that point, and so I didn’t really know my period at all. And now I was completely, and totally conscious of my cycle - a regular reminder that my body answers to no one but nature.
And so my post-miscarriage periods were met with a mixed emotion of dread that it was coming, and relief that it was there - that I wasn’t pregnant, and I wouldn’t have to experience the anxiety or pain of another pregnancy or loss. And for months it went on like this. The push-pull of fear and relief. And the added joke of periods that were more normal and regular than I had ever experienced.
And then the world went into lockdown, and as I breathed my relief that I wouldn’t be bringing a baby into this mess, I found myself pregnant again. And that’s a story for another day :)
Sophie, Founder of Mamamade