On Wednesday I went to the dentist. Not a momentous occasion really, but it’s something I’ve been putting off for months. You see, the last time I went to the dentist, I was 10 weeks pregnant. It was September and I wanted to have my teeth polished before the Northern Blog Awards. I was so happy. Not to be at the dentist, of course, but to tell him that I was having another baby.
I remember chatting for ages about how it had taken us 6 months to conceive, and how I was over the moon it had finally happened for us. But then I lost the baby a few weeks later, and I hadn’t felt strong enough to call up and make my next appointment for November. I hadn’t felt strong enough to explain.
It takes a lot of emotional and mental courage to say the words “I lost my baby” out loud. To admit that the baby you already loved so much, even though you never had the chance to meet them, has died.
And to be honest, the dentist isn’t the only thing I’ve put off since losing our baby. Anything that has even a vague memory related to the pregnancy has been put to one side while I deal with my grief.
The doctors appointments I need to make, for example, haven’t been booked because the last time I went to the surgery was when I started bleeding. Rushing round in the car after no one would pick up the phone on reception. The kind doctor. The frustration of being told the next scan available wasn’t for two days.
The fear. The waiting. The hope.
I can’t bear to look at the hospital car park as we go past on the train, because I am reminded of the tears spilt and phone calls made to grandparents on the way back to the car after the scans. Driving past the hospital makes me feel anxious and sick.
Even the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune caught me off guard the other day. We hadn’t watched Thomas for months (since our Lake District adventure for my birthday), but H-Bear requested it. It brought back the memory of my pregnancy nausea to the point where I thought I might be sick.
No one really tells you about the continued aftermath of miscarriage. The everyday things, that may seem small and insignificant to anyone on the outside, feel huge and emotionally torturous to you.
And again, no one tells you that it’s normal to feel like this. Months, even years, on.
That you are allowed to be sad (and honest) when someone asks you whether you’d like to have anymore children.
That you are allowed to be angry when the receptionist at the dentist asks whether you’re still exempt from paying, because she hasn’t taken the time to read the pop up on her screen correctly.
That you are allowed to scream and cry and shout when you get home from the school run, because someone else has announced they’re pregnant (even though you are completely over the moon for them) and it hurts that you’re not anymore.
That your emotional reactions to certain smells, sounds or places are completely justified.
That your feelings are valid – and that you have to feel them to get through the grief. You can take as long as you need to process, mourn and heal.
Keep feeling. Keep looking after yourself. Keep talking.