Telling people you’ve had a miscarriage is hard. When Leanne was asked to talk live on the BBC on behalf of Tommy’s about her miscarriage experiences, her first thought was to say no…
When I had my first miscarriage, I felt like I was the only person in the world to experience what I was going through. The emotional turmoil, the physical pain, the endless appointments, the unknown, and the fear and anxiety that came with it. We had planned to have a baby; we hadn’t planned to lose one. And that meant when it did happen, neither myself, nor my husband knew who or where to turn to. Which is crazy when you think about it, as according to the charity Tommy’s, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That means most of us will know somebody who has been, or is going through it. But because we don’t talk about it, we don’t know who those people are – and that’s when you start to feel alone.
We were both consumed by pain, grief and misery, and nothing we did stopped that feeling. I remember not being able to face anybody - not even my closest family or friends. I didn’t know how to break the news. I was more worried about how my news would make them feel, rather than how I’d feel if I didn’t tell them or talk about it. I was full of hate for those who had little ones in their arms – a feeling that I was quite shocked at, and which meant I avoided anything baby related.
I eventually told a few select people, all over text, and over the next few weeks our news was ‘secretly’ shared through our wider family and friendship circle. I knew they knew, but nobody said anything. We received a few cards, flowers and the odd text – but when it was time to see them face to face, not one single person said anything. It was like nothing had happened – for them anyway. So, when we lost our second baby, we decided not to tell anybody. We felt there really was no point.
Now, looking back, I wish I’d have said something.
I wish I’d have said that we weren’t okay.
I wish I’d have been stronger to say – we lost our baby – we’re hurting and really don’t know how to stop feeling this way.
I wish I’d have told the truth when people asked me how my holiday was when returning to work.
I wish I had the strength to say to the person who asked us when we’re having kids, that we had already had a baby – you just can’t see it.
I wish I’d have said to the medical professional who told us it was meant to be, that losing a baby is never meant to be.
I wish I’d have said to those who told us just to try again, that it wasn’t that simple.
I wish I’d have said that having another baby isn’t going to make all of this pain go away, so please don’t tell us to get over it.
However, I’ve since learnt that there’s no wrong time to talk about baby loss, and there are lots of people out there that need us to talk about it – including myself. So that’s why, nearly 6 years later, I’ve decided to talk about my miscarriages. Because, if I don’t say anything then I also won’t be helping the mum who needs to reach out to somebody, or the dad who’s grieving but feels like he can’t show it because it’s just one of those things. And it certainly wouldn’t be helping to break the stigma that surrounds baby loss.
When I was asked to talk live on the BBC on behalf of Tommy’s about my miscarriage experiences, if I’m honest, my first thought was to say no. But then I had a change of heart and decided that if I didn’t do it then I’d only be contributing to this big mist that surrounds miscarriage, so I nervously accepted. And guess what, it was the best thing I’d done for my own healing process. It not only helped to raise awareness of miscarriage care, but it helped to validate and acknowledge my own experience.
I know not everybody can, but if you’ve experienced loss and feel strong enough to talk about it – please do. Please don’t feel like your experience didn’t matter, or that it won’t help others because time has passed, because I’m pretty sure it will.
Reach out to those you feel comfortable with, talk about your babies, your experience and most importantly, don’t feel like you’re on your own.
And if you’ve never experienced baby loss or you don’t know what to say – then that’s okay too. Just by reaching out and telling somebody you’re there for them would mean the world. A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” or “I don’t know what to say”, will go a long way.
You don’t have to have the answers or first-hand experience to help – by simply acknowledging it, you will be helping to let that mum or dad know they don’t have to go through any of it alone.