Category: Family and Friends


A friend of mine has taken a leap of faith and decided to begin a book on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Recovery and Hope. I wrote about how my experience was turned from something horrific to something positive and light filled.

When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. Sure, you know death exists, but you also know it is something that happens to other people, it is something that happens to old people, to pets, to friends of your parents. Death is not a concept that you are conscious of at seventeen. You certainly do not think that death can happen to a baby, most definitely, not yours.

I was thrust into the world of pregnancy loss at seventeen, blinking confusedly at the harshness of my new reality. The only comparison I can think of is the scene from The Wizard of Oz, where following the twister, Dorothy is dumped into a foreign land. Being a teenager not only experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, but also losing a very much loved baby at just ten weeks into my pregnancy, without a doubt, resembled the abovementioned scene.

While all of my friends were worried about if their crush would notice them, studied for exams and were learning how to drive a car, I was learning how to navigate a world that no one should ever have to.

After nine months of being in a relationship, I had a suspicion that something just wasn’t “right”. I tried to call my partner, but there was no answer. After leaving several voice messages over a number of days, I ended up being forced to send him a text message saying “I think I might be pregnant”. I didn’t end up ever getting a reply. He’d left without telling me, and moved two thousand kilometres away. No word. No warning. He just left. I didn’t hear from him again, I don’t even know if he ever got that text message. As far as I know, he had no idea he was going to be a father.

I knew I had to continue my unexpected journey towards motherhood alone. It is said that there are only two times in your life where you are truly alone- in pregnancy, and in death. This rings even more true with teenage pregnancy. It was so very lonely. I did not intend for my pregnancy to stay a secret from my loved ones around me, it just turned out that way. I knew my baby was there, the baby was my secret, ready to reveal when I felt ready.

In the lead up to confirminig my pregnancy, I was struggling to stay on top of things, mentally as well as physically. I was juggling a heavy study load, tutoring after school 2 days a week, debate team prep weekly, as well as keeping this amazing secret to myself, until I knew what to do.

I was able to tell a few friends, but essentially, I was alone in this. I continued to go through the motions, pretending that everything was normal. On the outside, it seemed there was nothing wrong. On the inside, oh on the inside. The only feeling I can strongly recall besides an overwhelming love, was guilt. It has been said that motherhood is comprised essentially of feeling guilty. I felt guilty for putting my baby through an incredible amount of stress and anxiety, guilty for wanting to pretend there was no baby, guilty for rolling my options around in my mind. Guilty for thinking that somehow, everything would be ok.I had spent almost 3 weeks thinking, dreaming, hoping, fearing, planning. I had a list of names, both for a girl and a boy, I had a way of telling my parents, I had the next 12 months planned out- postpone my studies for a year and then go to uni. People studied with babies all the time, right?

The mother-guilt I felt in the beginning of my pregnancy only increased on the day that I awoke to find myself bleeding.

In the early hours of the morning, on the 10th of August in 2006, I woke up to increasingly worse cramping, and bedding covered in blood. It was like something from a horror film, the tomato sauce thing, except it was worse than that. I was pregnant, and at the tender age of 17, I was thrust into the world and language of miscarriage and grief.

It was a different kind of pain. I think that it physically hurt more than it should have because of the silent screams, because of the muffled sobbing, because of the short, sharp breaths I was struggling to take in, as I attempted to comprehend what the blood meant.

I showered, washed the blood away, only to make more, all the while, numb.

At the time, I lived at home with my parents. My mother dropped me to school early, a lie-the first of many- that I told that day, telling her I needed to be there early for debate preparation, wishing me a good day as I got out of the car.

When I knew she couldn’t see me, I walked the short distance to the emergency department, fearing what I already knew in my heart.  I was told “Your baby died, I’m sorry. But you’re young, so it was probably for the best.”

What had I done to deserve this? What had I done wrong? Was it because I didn’t eat enough? Was it because I was too underweight from the all day “morning sickness”? Was it because I was destined to be a single, teenage mother, stuck in her home town?

I knew babies could die, but I never ever thought that mine would be one of them.

That was the beginning of my journey.

That day, was the day I lost my innocence, my naivety, my childhood.

I continued on, appearing situation normal, when on the inside, I was feeling a constant knot in my stomach, one that stopped me from eating, from functioning, almost from breathing.

It took me a month of pushing the sadness down, ignoring it, pretending it wasn’t there, to have an emotional breakdown in the classroom of one of my teachers. In the first of many conversations we had together following my loss, she revealed to me that she too had suffered her first miscarriage, just weeks before I had. I remember crying for hours at home, knowing that finally, I wasn’t alone. Someone understood. Even though some days, her advice wasn’t what I wanted to hear, just knowing that someone got it, despite the ten year age gap. Without her, I highly doubt I’d be where I am today. I named my baby after her, Lily Natalie Anne, as a tribute to the person who pulled me up, who told me it was ok to be sad, who was a source of inspiration for me.

Over the months that followed, I put my journey “out there” online. I met people, spent my days emailing back and forth to people half a world away. Two of these women have a very special place in my heart now. Without them, as with my teacher, I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for their emails arriving in the dead of night, when they were beginning their day, and I was dying  for mine to end so that I could fall into a dreamless sleep for even a few hours.

No one ever tells you about the sleep deprivation following a loss.

I found someone who, just like me, had fallen pregnant to her boyfriend in her final year of school, and had also suffered a miscarriage, losing twins in 2007. We spent months emailing each other, discovering that our lives bore a striking resemblance- we’re both at a point in our lives where we are about to get married, to settle down properly, are allowing ourselves to dream the possibility of another baby.

It was through internet friendships that I began to slowly find parents who lived in the same city as me. It was though these friendships formed that I was able to turn my miscarriage into something positive rather than something that would hold me back. It took me so very long to recover from losing Lily, that I thought I’d never be able to smile again. It was a long road, one that I do not feel like I am entirely finished on. I now am very active in our local Pregnancy and Infant Loss community, donating memory boxes and care packages to our major maternity hospital, I assist with running an online private support group on Facebook, I work with a local photographer who creates beautiful memories on the sea shore of a local beach. These simple acts of kindness and empathy bring me a sense of peace, knowing that someone who receives a package from our volunteer group at Luminous Light will not feel as alone as I did when I lost Lily.

I think that losing a pregnancy as a teenager is such a lonely experience, purely because it is not a topic that is widely acknowledged. Society in general spends so much time focusing on the “negativity” associated with teenage pregnancy and parenthood. The stereotype of the silly, giggly, teenage girl, who believes that a baby won’t impact their life is one that is over-emphasized. No one focuses on the knowledge that pregnancy happens, no matter how careful we are. People don’t like to realize that even though we are in our teenage years, that some of us will make the best of the situation, try our hardest and to give our children the best life possible. I may have been young, but the impact of my daughter’s brief life has been one that has changed me, it has aged me, it has made me a better person. I think the reason I have been able to look at my situation in a positive light is time. I didn’t get over it in a short space of time, but it did get easier. I learned who I was underneath the shadow of my loss.

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Last weekend, I attended one of those “party planning” parties- you know the ones where you’re able to shop from home, and trial their wares.

A feature of many of these types of businesses is that if bookings are made by guests, there are all sorts of sweet bonuses.

Me,being me, decided I’d have a party. The woman consulted her diary, and was adamant that I have my party on August 11.

August 10 marks 6 years to the day since I lost Lily, and had my first miscarriage.

While the last few years have been remarkably easier on me, in the lead up to, on and after her day, I cannot predcit how I will travel emotionally.

This woman could tell I was not.wanting.this.date.at. all. But given the fact it is her job to achieve sales and party bookings, she backed me into a corner for it.

I really hate pushy people. I really really do. I am also really irritated at myself for caving and not saying “That’s the day after the anniversary of my daughter’s death, fuckstick, I don’t want this date, ok!?”

Could have, should have, didn’t.

I blogged previously about something that stands to affect our lives in the very near fututre ( and No, I’m not pregnant).

DF and I both went to work yesterday after the preious night’s bombshell, unsure of what was to come.

I had a much better day, clamer classes, I got home early, DF had a better day as well.

We were able to talk about what had happened, and came to the realisation that we COULD do it, build a home and pay the mortgage, however our standard of living that we’ve grown accustomed to will be the first thing to go. I’d rather go without than give up this journey.

We decided that no matter what, as long as we have each other, we’ll make everything work.

It does mean, that until things get back to normal, and we’re in a better financial position, a baby is most definitely on hold until at least 2018. Wow. That seems forever away.

But with DF by my side, we’ll be ok.

Well, when it rains, it pours.

The last few days have gone from bad to horribly bad.

Compared to what other people in our community are going through, it seems trivial, but to me, because of someone else’s decision, this falling of the axe is HUGE to my and my DF.

It affects our future, it affects our plans for something as simple as building a home.

It pretty much affects everything.

So on top of having a rough few days emotionally, my classes were off the wall yesterday, I have ruined artwork, and then came home to potentially life altering news.

The home we have just signed to build is literally the only thing keeping me going besides teaching at this school. If that is ripped away as well, I don’t know how I’ll cope.

The one thing I promised DF last night though was that no matter what, we’re getting married on the date we set for next year. Come hell or high water.

I’ve hit a wall emotionally. It feels as though I’ve been driving along a straight road, and all of a sudden, BAM!, a wall appears and I smash my “car” into it.

Needless to say, the wreckage isn’t pretty.

I feel as though I have staggered out of an accident, blinking at my new reality. Picking up the pieces.

I posted on my F.B last night that I was pissed off abut the fact that because I am nearly 6 and 3 years post loss, that I feel forgotten, that my babies are forgotten, and the surprising waves of grief that creep up, don’t matter as much as other people’s because they’re fresh into their journey of loss, that their loss is “newer” than mine.

I feel a combination of overwhelming unfairness, as well as a huge cloud of guilt for wanting to throw myself on the floor and scream “MY BABIES COUNT TOO!”.

I don’t have other children, I don’t have a pregnancy to look forward to, I just have me. I consider myself to be a pretty resilient person, but today has just been one of those days where I feel like I am just floating. I feel forgotten.

It’s a strange mix of emotions to be working through.

Guilt

Selfishness

Sad

Longing

This too shall pass…

If we all posessed the ablilty to see into our futures, I am sure most of us would never have dreamed of a family. Most of us would have seen the heartbreak of pregnancy loss, and the impact of life after loss and walked away with our hands up.

No way, no how. No way would we put ourselves through this if we could see into the future, the damage that it causes.

But we can’t.

We go through it, pregnancy after pregnancy, attempt after attempt, failure after failure.

All in the hopes that because we CAN’T see into our futures, that there may indeed be a baby at the end of it.

One mamma has given up her quest for motherhood, and as painful as it is to have given up, she is looking at not the end of a journey, but the beginning of the rest of her life.

Another dear friend of mine (Mo) has just said goodbye to her beautiful baby boy at just shy of 24 weeks, and is in the place I call “limbo”. Waiting for the beginning of her journey.

A woman I have met through my volunteer work, following the loss of her son, as well as 3 miscarriages and the loss of her current pregnancy’c twin early on, is 38 weeks and counting. And terrified. And overjoyed. She’s about to begin a journey, and I wish her all the best for it.

If any of these women could change what they have been through just by being able to forsee the future?

I don’t think so. I think that many of them would say “no”.

To experience this loss, it takes away all of the superficial crap that we ususally negotiate our way through. I meet regularly with a girl I have only met in person a handful of times. It is never awkward. We just start chatting away.

One of my best friends is a beautiul lady who I have never met IRL. And here I am, planning a trip to see her. Not planning now, its actually happening. Tickets are paid for!

Experiencing loss cuts us to the core. It destroys us, changes us, inspires us.

For us, it is not about who has the flashest car, or the nicest house, or if you come from a different natuonality. Even, at the end of the day, it isn’t about the fact that we do or don’t have children.We are all mothers. Its the experiences that we all have in common are what bring us together.

I think if I knew the heartache that LALwould bring, I’d never have gone for it. At the same time, if I could have seen the beautiful, simple, amazing friendships that had been spun from my losses, I’d do it a million times over.

This post is for all of you- no matter where you are in your LAL journey.

 

I’m thrilled to announce that I have now planned, booked and paid for (mostly) my very first overseas holiday! I’ve never even left the country, so why not go BIG time and hit up America. I am off to visit two very special ladies.

I’ve never met either of these people in “real life”, however the sisterhood formed online is one that is stronger than any I have ever shared with any other person.

I am flying to the “States” in October, just in time for October 15th. I am playing with the idea of hosting a service with Kay (http://mommyofoctoberangels.blogspot.com), just something simple, honest and lovely. If it is just us, then how amazing will it be for us to share such a significant day with one of the few people who “get” the world of “young” loss. But if it is with a small crowd, I hope to bring a sense of peace surrounding the day. A chance for them to know they’re not alone. And their babies are remembered and loved.

More on that to come.

I am also spending 4 wonderful days with a dear friend, who lost her daughter a month after I lost Lily. We were both pregnant at the same time, believed both our babes were girls, both lost our babes to the same fate. Both of us struggled, fought with ourselves, and reched out. She was the hand who pulled me from the edge, and I was hers. Together, via email, we recovered. Slowly. I took the chance to read through our emails, a correspondence that lasted 2 years before we got busy and found each other on FB. ❤ That 2 years worth of emails made me realise that it isn’t weird to pay a lot of money to visit people I have never met. Its our experiences that have brought us together.

I get to meet these beautiful laides this year. In 8 months time. IS it October yet?

Thanks to our babies.

Remembering

Lily Natalie

“Little Speck”

James Michael

Kylie Rose

Daniel Bishop

Lilla Bjorn

Sara

Some weeks it is impossible to keep your head above water, emotionally, and this week has been one of them. One of my good friends found out her baby died at 9 weeks into her pregnancy. She’d seen the heartbeat, and was hoping that this time, this could be it…

How can the universe be so cruel?

Another friend of mine buried the ashes of her son this week as well.

It was a beautifully moving service. Perfect to honour a perfect little boy.

Again- how can the universe be so cruel to take a little boy from his mother?

I just don’t even know how to articulate what I am trying to say.

The universe sucks.

A while back, I blogged that it was “my first day of my last year of study”.

Well

Today is the last day of my first bachelor’s degree.

After today’s assessment, I am a qualified teacher.

It is the end of this journey for me. I look back over the last 5 years ( 4 of which were taken up by my studies), and cannot believe I am here. Finally. After years of struggles, tears, joy, way to much wine, long nights, early mornings, beautiful friends, I am here.

Lily gave me the push in the direction of following my dream of becoming a teacher, and Little Speck, even more so.

I had so mnay moments where I was convinced I COULD NOT GO ON, I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t good enough. I think I’ll always continue to do this, but for now, I’ll do it with a qualifiection in my hand!

I am now a teacher, ready to change the future, to change lives, even if it is only on person at a time.

I’ve always said that if I can make the difference that one of my high school teacher’s made to my life ( she was amazing when I revealed that I had suffered a miscarriage, she was my support person for a long time after that.), to just one student, if I can help them through the roughest point of their life by just listening, I will know I have done my job.

To NB- Thankyou, from the very bottom of my heart.

I am a teacher now.

I did it.

Urrrgh. I had a nast spell of 4 nights of very little sleep.

This has been followd up with almost a week of amazing, 10 hours a night sleep. And being up at a decent hour.

The only issue with amazing sleep?

The CRAZY ASS, VIVID, “Dream like I am pregnant, but not pregnant” dreams.

This morning, it was my grandmother being the head of a secret service organisation, rescuing me from Korea or something, and before that, I had a dream that my friend’s dad- who Idon’t like- came to live with us, bragging about how much he earns. Seriously! WTF!

The night before, however, I had the most disturbing, horrific dream. I have been known for, in the past, to have dreams that turn out to be an accurate predictor of future events. I choose not to “tap” into this, however people do believe that we all have an “ability” to see into the future, or to speak to the deceased…

I dreamed that a friend of mine ,who I have fallen out of contact with (currently preggo with number 4), was stabbed to death, as well as her 5 children, and thier grandmother. Left behind her partner. The whole thing stemmed from a neighborhood dispute I think.

Seriously, brain??? It was a horrible,vivid dream, one that I have not been able to get out of my head.

Who dreams like this??

Oh.

Me.

Hmmm….