On Mother’s Day, the 11th March whilst on our Honeymoon, my husband and I found out we were pregnant and we nicknamed our baby Piglet.
We were ecstatic! In the blink of any eye our lives changed and our future morphed right before us as the two of us became three. Everything from conception, to my early pregnancy symptoms and to how we found out we were pregnant helped to shape our babies story and identify.
Although we never found out for sure, James was convinced we were having a boy and I just couldn’t believe that a life was growing inside me and my dreams of becoming a Mom - a Mom to James’ baby - were coming true.
We heard his heart beat for the first time at just 6 weeks 4 days gestation. He was strong! I imagined that he would love the water and I knew he was going to be funny and kind and adventurous. Every time I saw a little boy with blonde hair and fair skin I imagined that’s exactly how our little Piglet would look, just like his dad!
I could picture everything about our beautiful baby and our life together as a new family. It wasn’t just a fantasy, it became my future.
Piglet was the baby of our dreams but our dreams were shattered when our pregnancy took a turn for the worst. For 9 days James and I walked a tight rope of despair, anguish and fear. On day 10, we learned that his beautiful and strong heart had stopped beating. On day 11, I gave birth to Piglet and on that day I lost a piece of myself forever.
Losing a baby by miscarriage is devastating, confusing and heart breaking. The days, weeks and months following my miscarriage were the hardest of my entire life. I was haunted and tormented for weeks by the physical experience of giving birth to a baby that arrived far, far too early. And then there was the judgement and fear.
I judged myself every day for feeling too much or too little, grieving too slowly or too quickly.
I lived in fear that people would try to placate my grief by suggesting that ‘at least I got pregnant’, ‘you’re still so young’ or ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’. I found myself trying to justify my grief, and to rationalise it in a way that would make sense to others.
James was amazing and together we grieved but I felt something that James couldn’t. I was bitter and angry; I felt betrayed by a body that I had put so much faith in. I had so many questions but the answers the Doctors and Midwives tried to give me never made the pain go away.
As the days passed, my desperation and sadness started to suffocate me. My grief crept upon me like a wave and sometimes it would take all my energy just to stay a float. When I wasn’t fighting to keep my head above water, I was fighting the little voice in my head that tried to tell me I could have done more to save my baby, that losing my baby was my fault.
Grief is confusing and complicated and challenging and full of sorrow and heart ache that can’t be described, only felt.
Since losing my precious Piglet, I slowly began to learn that there is no right or wrong way to mourn a loss. However, there is, in my humble and naive opinion, something especially complex about grieving a baby you had never met, and then looking to others for support when they didn’t see the same broken dream. I wanted to shout ‘I didn’t just stop being pregnant, my baby died’.
To cope with my miscarriage, I believed that the three of us (James, Piglet and I) shared a destiny and this co-destiny was to bring our next baby into the world. I couldn’t accept that Piglet just left me for no reason, there had to be a meaning. Piglets life had a purpose.
As I write this I am now 24 weeks pregnant with an amazing miracle, a gift from Piglet who I call, Little One. We found out we were having a boy and I have felt my son kick and punch and roll inside me and this beautiful rainbow baby has filled me up with so much love and gratitude.
My grief never disappeared but it softens every day. Pregnancy after loss is hard and challenging. Every twinge (or no symptom at all) sent my mind to a very dark place. My cautious optimism felt like a plague, a poison preventing me from celebrating this miracle and trusting my body. Our loss, Piglet, has been permanently woven in to the fabric of my life and family.
Babies born after loss are called rainbow babies because it is like a rainbow after a storm: something beautiful after something intensely dark and sad.
The fear and joy or carrying a rainbow baby is unpredictable, complicated and messy.
The beautiful baby growing inside me has not replaced Piglet. It did not fix me or all of a sudden make everything better. I never imagined this much love could be born from something so heart-breaking and devastating. I have found this pregnancy to be very emotionally challenging. I felt robbed of my innocence and I needed constant reassurance that my Little One as OK. Yet, at long last I have an answer to my most burning question; Piglet died so this baby could live.
I adore talking about Piglet and Little One (James calls him P2) and I feel that even though our experience is a private one, it does not need to be a secret anymore. Today, I feel comfort when people talk to me about both my babies. Sharing my story means lessening the burden of feeling like James and I will be the only ones to remember Piglet and the role he played in bringing our son into this world and making us parents.
To help process my grief, I read books and James and I attended miscarriage awareness meetings and couples therapy (I have listed some of the resources that helped us below). James and I continue to grieve together, and our comforted beyond words by the little blue earn sitting in our bedroom containing the ashes of our first born, next to the last ever scan we received.
Everyone is going to experience a miscarriage differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve your loss but never forget grief doesn’t know what you have lost, all it knows is that you have lost.
Miscarriages are not the mothers fault! There is nothing we could have done more of, less of or differently to prevent what happened. We did not fail or make a mistake and we are not less of a woman or mother because of it. I know what the medical literature says about miscarriage but my greatest source of comfort was believing that Piglet had a purpose, and a plan for his parents.
James are I are part of a club that we never wanted to belong to. Miscarriages are common but the fact that they are common doesn’t do anything to help the pain. I decided to share the story of my first pregnancy because some time ago I read a post by my friend Rachel and without knowing it, she gave me permission to feel like it was OK to believe that my world had fallen apart but that it was possible to put back together again. I hope I can help someone else in the same way Rachel helped me.
I lose my breath when I think of how much I love Little One and how his life has come to be. I truly believe that becoming parents to this miracle will be the greatest thing James and I ever do. We have been blessed twice but I know that for so many others their journey to becoming parents is riddled with a different type of heart ache.
If you have experienced multiple miscarriages, still birth, infant loss or involuntary infertility you will forever be in my thoughts and heart.
To anyone reading this who has experienced loss by miscarriage, I hope that in time your pain will soften and you will feel hope once again.
To all the babies that were lost too soon, you will always be remembered, loved and cherished.
To my beautiful precious baby Piglet, you were with me for every second of your life and for every second of mine and your Dads we will hold you in our hearts and love you forever.
Family and friends
James and I would not have got through this last 6 months if it weren’t for the love and support of so many people. I promise that talking, to the right people, really does help. Find someone who makes you feel safe in your sorrow and pain and give yourself permission to talk. There is no shame in miscarriage, only love.