Someone said to me today: I didn’t realise how all encompassing this has been for you. I didn’t realise how much you were hurting and holding back until I’ve seen you now.
Because now there’s a baby. There’s a baby with a heartbeat and there’s been a fetal pole and not just a yolk sac and there’s been no fruitless waiting and seeing and just all the good news.
But have I been holding back?
I don’t know about that. There’s palatable relief for sure. I’m still not out the woods but it’s going so much better. I am planning. I’m in maternity jeans already.
I don’t think I was living half a life.
This year has not been easy, course it’s not. I’ve had two miscarriages and been in A&e twice for different injuries. But I cracked on. Kept buggering on. That’s been my mantra. Head down, elbows out.
I think really that the cruellest thing about the miscarriages is that you are expected to be fine about it. You’re either in pieces or you’re not and if you’re not then you’re coping. Well, I wasn’t coping. I’m just a really good actress. I’m excellent at pushing what I really feel down into a place where even I can’t access it and saying “it’s fine” and making everyone beans on toast.
At listening and nodding and saying the right thing. And people say “you’re strong”. And I say: I’m not. Because I’m not. I’m a person going through what people go through and I’m not strong because I’m not really saying what I need or doing what I should. That would be strong.
The thing with the loss is that it’s just that; it’s a loss. It’s a real thing that you’ve lost. And it’s a real thing all wrapped up in love and hope. I mean, I’ve said this before. This isn’t new. But what I am saying is that you need time to get over that loss. To acknowledge it almost. Not just physically but emotionally. And I am not great at that. I’m good at buggering on.
But listen, no one needs another martyr.
So this time, so far, it’s worked. I worked. And I told friends early and then family – way I figure it friends are invested in you, they care about you in the pregnancy. Family are invested in the little bean you’re growing and trust me, because I’ve done it, explaining that there is no more bean to people hoping for grandchildren or cousins is horrible.
And some of them said “how will you tell so and so? How will you let people know this time?”
Because back before the losses we did have a plan. We had a t shirt for Nives to wear and she put it on at Christmas and everyone gasped and was happy and I felt amazing and loved.
But that isn’t our journey anymore. This pregnancy comes after heartbreak and tough decisions and sitting in rooms with poor lighting with boxes of tissues in the corner. It comes with three scans before eight weeks, with pictures of Nives under my pillow as I’m wheeled into surgery, with the wonderful NHS holding my hand all the way like the trusted friend it is.
It comes after sitting and looking, again, at the leaflets on the wall offering advice. It comes after seven times of turning left out the lift on floor 11 and not going straight ahead. After tears at other bumps. Anger, sobs. Self preservation. Self preservation above all else.
It seems churlish, I know. If I seem ungrateful or moany, I’m not. Trust me I’m not. I’m marvellously happy. But I can’t pretend we’ve not had this journey. I can’t start releasing coloured balloons out of packages and snapping tiny pairs of shoes with a whimsical caption and not nod towards everything we’ve – I’ve – been through to get here. That’s not who I am. Not now.
This baby will be loved, so fiercely loved. As loved as Nives and as celebrated as her. And in July when I hold that baby in my arms I will never want to let go. And I’ll cry, of course I’ll cry. I’ll cry with the relief of knowing that this time I won’t have to say goodbye too soon and I’ll cry, again, for the babies I didn’t get a chance to hold in my arms.