Four weeks ago today I birthed my baby, who had died in my womb, in the bathroom at Seven Sisters Festival. At the time I described this as an empowering experience. I know this might have sounded a bit strange to some people. My baby had died, what could possibly be empowering about this?
Well, I was surrounded by a circle of women who gave me so much love and support, held me and held space for me. For three days I verbally processed this experience in the safest of places, sharing my story with everyone I met along the way.
My miscarriage experience has taught me a lot. It has taught me about:
- The power of women supporting women.
- The power in sharing our stories and feeling seen and heard.
- The power of being physically held through your pain.
- The power of having your grief witnessed.
- The power of being wrapped tightly by a deep level of support and love.
- The power of having time and space to process such a profound experience.
- The power of long beach walks with friends at sunset.
- The power of long beach walks alone.
- The power of having the time to journal in the sun, have long chats with friends who’ve been there and long chats with friends who haven’t, but who are able to hold space for you, not trying to fix anything, just being there to listen.
- The power of having mentors and therapists who are also there for you, who take you as you are, with no expectations of how you ‘should’ be feeling.
I have had support in every corner, everywhere I turn.
That is why my miscarriage was empowering, because it taught me all of that. That when you feel seen, heard, held, supported, and witnessed, it can give you a strength you never knew you had.
Since publicly sharing the news of my miscarriage I have received a flood of beautiful messages. Many from women sharing their own experiences of pregnancy loss. Many whom did not receive the support they needed. They have told me of the loneliness and isolation they experienced, of feeling like no-one understood what they were going through, of people making insensitive comments without realising the pain this was causing, of loss or multiple losses before they’d birthed a live child, of wondering if they would ever become a mother to a baby they would hold in their arms. They told me of deep, deep pain. These stories have been heartbreaking to listen to and I am so sorry if you have had a similar experience or experiences.
But this has not been mine. So while I’m grieving for a baby I’ll never hold in my arms, I am doing ok. I have experienced this loss in a different way and I wanted to share this experience in the hope it will help other people see how powerful having a strong support system in place can be. I also have two beautiful children and so much more to be grateful for. A lot of my experience was not something I had direct control over. I did not know I was going to be birthing this baby at a festival surrounded by like-minded women ready to hold me in their arms. When I look back it all feels like a bit of a dream. And to have gone straight from that weekend into lockdown has made it all the more surreal.
But here I am, four weeks later, feeling much stronger, physically and emotionally. I’m more passionate than ever about supporting women through whatever challenges they are facing. Whether that be through pregnancy loss, pregnancy during a pandemic, birthing in a pandemic, postpartum in a pandemic or parenting challenges.
I know many women are grieving right now. They are grieving the pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences they had hoped for and have lost. I really want to acknowledge the intensity of these feelings of grief and loss. My heart is breaking for you if these are your experiences. If you need support, a kind listening ear, someone to turn to when you just want to cry and scream about how unfair all of this is, please reach out to whoever you have in your support circle. If you need some extra support, please get in touch and I can point you in the right direction. I have a few options for one-on-one support and mentoring but I can also help you access free support if finances are tight. Support is out there. Please, please access it as it has the potential to completely change your experiences of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting. Just like it changed my experience of pregnancy loss. You deserve to be nurtured during this time, please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.