GUEST BLOG BY HELEN
I always hoped I’d be robust enough to tell my story. I kept a diary of events since our conception journey began back in 2012 and even started a book, but until I heard about this organisation, I hadn’t quite found an outlet that seemed appropriate or felt right. Thank you so much Chloe Westmore for introducing me to Cradle.
So here goes…
I’m the luckiest mummy to the most beautiful 19 month old baby boy, but not a day goes by when I still don’t feel the weight of our difficult journey to parenthood or pray for our angels and the ones that could have been.
It took us 7 years, 5 rounds of IVF, 4 miscarriages, 2 D&C’s, 2 failed surrogacy attempts, a cervical stitch and even 2 years being approved as adopters (but that’s another story… And a rather special one!) before our beautiful rainbow baby miracle arrived.
There were times when I thought I would just be completely consumed by grief. But even in our darkest hour we never gave up. I sometimes look back in utter awe of our strength and determination to keep going!
I’m not saying that every miscarriage got easier… It didn’t!
Anyone who has suffered recurrent losses knows that. And actually each subsequent pregnancy became all the more terrifying (especially the one that resulted in our boy!). But we found strength in looking forward. In hope. We wore our grief like armour in the end. I still do to a certain degree. Every loss, every failed cycle added another sheet of steel!
Struggling to get pregnant and then dealing with the inability to stay pregnant was at times too hard to bear. Our quest to become parents was more than a need…it became a physical ache. Talking helped.
Although we didn’t really know who to talk to apart from each other. Not even our closest friends and family really knew the depth of our heartache. We didn’t want to provoke difficult questions we weren’t ready to answer nor did we want to make people feel uncomfortable. And so we got good at hiding it. We swallowed our grief, smiled for the crowds, put on a performance if you like and consoled each other in private.
How I wish Cradle had been around back then! I suppose there is no right or wrong way to handle your grief. That felt right for us at the time, but looking back I wish I’d been brave enough to speak out. It’s only now, 7 years after my first and most difficult miscarriage that I hear about so many others who’ve gone through the same and unfortunately much, much worse.
In just the last few years it seems like the taboo surrounding pregnancy loss is lifting.
People are talking more openly and recognising the trauma of it, particularly in the work place, at whatever point in pregnancy it happens. As you say…’EVERY PREGNANCY MATTERS!’
I’ve left many a scan and EPAU in tears, bleeding, vulnerable and feeling so helpless and alone. Looking back, I’m still astounded at the coldness of some of the remarks made by some qualified staff. “What would you like to do with the remains?”, “At least you found out now!”, “Well, hopefully this will give you closure?!”. SO baffling!
But what is so very wonderful is that this amazing platform is not only providing such comfort, but also providing a voice for us all. That it is growing in strength and numbers to address the emotional impact of pregnancy loss. To educate, lift the taboo and empathise better!
This charitable organisation is incredible. Offering this sort of comfort to parents on their worst day. A hand in the darkness to let you know that someone else ‘gets it!’ This means so much. Honestly and truly.
Pregnancy loss is so complex and everyone’s story is different.
Everyone’s grief is different. It’s not just medical. It’s personal, invasive, trauma, bereavement, heartbreak, mental health, shock, shame, fear and physical pain all wrapped up into one.
Thank you to all involved with this wonderful organisation from the bottom of my heart.
All my love and light to those still fighting, grieving their angels and all IVF warriors!
I really want my story to be one of hope and to offer some light amidst the darkness. Especially to those still waiting for their rainbow.
Helen French Hall
‘Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway’ – Earl Nightingale