RELATED RESOURCES FOR YOU Adversity How I returned to work after losing my baby at 14 weeks

How I returned to work after losing my baby at 14 weeks

How I returned to work after losing my baby at 14 weeks

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.

Not us.

The next awful few weeks were some of the darkest I will ever remember. Here is what I learnt:

  1. Don’t ever assume it won’t happen to you.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Life will go on. It will be hard but slowly life will return and your next pregnant journey will begin.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Think about what you will say to people who ask if you are okay. Prepare your response with your partner and keep it short.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

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