This is my personal story. I am one of the thousands of mothers who has lost a baby in the first trimester. Actually, mine was at 14 weeks, but the number of weeks is insignificant. The grief and pain is still the same.
My husband and I met later in life and were engaged after a year, then married the year after. Three days before our wedding, I found out I was pregnant. Actually, it was my last day of work before the wedding and I remember freaking out because my team threw me a farewell brunch and all I could see and smell was cheese. I didn’t know if I was meant to eat soft cheese. Everything was new to me and it had happened so quickly that I wasn’t prepared.
Our wedding photos show us touching my belly with our faces lit up. We were beside ourselves and so excited. The honeymoon followed, then the countdown to the 12-week mark. At work, I’d seen countless women celebrate the joyous 12-week scan with an announcement to the team. I couldn’t wait for it to be my turn. Again, I was naïve and never ever thought something would take away that big moment.
As a Virgo, I’m very organised and like to have everything in place. The day before my 12-week scan, I booked a team meeting for a few hours after my scan. I couldn’t wait to break the news. I had it all planned.
The thing is, on the day of the scan, I didn’t go back to work.
I still can’t bear to share the details, but we had an horrific experience and were told that our baby would not likely survive the next few weeks. I was in shock. I didn’t understand how this could happen as everyone I knew always had such life-affirming scans and came back into the office smiling from ear to ear.
The next awful few weeks were some of the darkest I will ever remember. Here is what I learnt:
- Don’t ever assume it won’t happen to you.
- You need to share your news with close friends, as early as you can. If something does happen, you’ll need them there for support. I needed my friends more than ever before.
- Your team will understand and will be there for you. I used one of my direct reports to let the team know what had happened. What followed was an incredible amount of love and support that I will never forget.
- Life will go on. It will be hard but slowly life will return and your next pregnant journey will begin.
- Speak to a counsellor. There were times when I would get angry at my family and tell them, “I am fine.” But I wasn’t. I ended up seeing a counsellor and it saved me.
- Take time off from work. Your manager will understand—speak to them about what leave you can access. Don’t rush the return and when you do, ease yourself back.
- Think about what you will say to people who ask if you are okay. Prepare your response with your partner and keep it short.
- It takes months to recover. Your body was pregnant and is filled with hormones. Your boobs were bigger and everything has moved. It takes a while to return to normal so be kind to yourself.
- Don’t forget your partner is grieving too. Sometimes I was the one always crying, but it didn’t mean my husband wasn’t hurting too.
- Find something else to focus on. For us, it was a decision to buy a new house and move. It was a great distraction and allowed my husband and I to spend our time dreaming and thinking about a new future.
Losing a baby is more common than many people think, with up to one in four Australian pregnancies ending in miscarriage. If you are suffering pain from a similar experience or need support, then we suggest talking with a counsellor or health professional.
Written by Jodi Geddes, Co-founder of Circle In