Awaiting the Rainbow (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month)

by - October 15, 2018

I always wanted to have children - ever since I can remember actually. I worked around children my whole life from baby-sitting and au-pairing to teaching surfing, yoga and English to children. So for me, children were not really a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of ‘when’. 

Without trying or planning on having a baby, in early August I started experiencing terrible nausea and strong carbohydrates obsession. I would eat more bread in the space of a week than I had eaten my whole life! Summers being extremely busy for me, I lost the track of time and realized that I was, in fact, two weeks behind. I rush to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test that I really didn't need, I just knew. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing those two pretty looking lines, confirming my pregnancy. I was amazed at how quickly my focus moved from my busy schedule to this little something growing inside me. In that instant, I was ready to become a mother with no worries, no doubts, and no questions asked.

And so the preparation began. I work as a surf teacher and yoga instructor and after a discussion with my midwife, I continued surfing as well as teaching it but slowed down due to the annoying nausea. I also became more aware of what was happening around me in the surf. In my yoga practice, I skipped inversions, deep twists, and deep backbends, replacing those with more relaxing yoga styles such as Yin or Hatha. I made sure that surfing and yoga were safe for my baby and me, and that I was clear on what to avoid to stay safe. 

Needless to say, I was enjoying my pregnancy. I bought some pregnancy related books, searched the internet, downloaded cool apps, even bought a maternity dress I saw on sale. My partner and I started to consider and plan our future a little differently, now with the baby on its way. I refused a new job I got offered, as I knew I won’t be able to commit to the whole calendar year they were requesting. We were both beyond excited for my first - 10 week scan coming up soon, hoping to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the very first time.

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photo by Jorge Rastrojo
You hear about it, you know it can happen, you are petrified of it, yet you would never think that it could happen to you. A miscarriage is the loss of a baby, of all hopes and dreams and of the very firsts. It is a long journey of grieving, acceptance, forgiveness, and anxiety. It is thousands of questions without answers, it is a time of confusion and concerns rising up every single minute of the day. October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and the 15th of October is known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day when it is important to remember and honor our lost angels. 

The first three days of September of 2017 were mostly a blur. Three days of hell - in an out of a hospital, followed by what seemed to be my life and my dreams being crushed to dust. I went through a so-called ‘missed miscarriage’, it happens when the baby stops growing but the woman’s body does not realize this and keeps on producing pregnancy hormones. My little angel had to stop growing around the 8th week of my pregnancy but my miscarriage occurred around the 10th week.

To this day I clearly recall the moment when I found out the heartbreaking news. The moment I fell apart, unable to hold myself together. Once I returned back home from the hospital feeling lost and empty, I was unable to find comfort in yoga as I was completely disconnected from my body and mind on the deepest level. I could feel the most important relationship - a relationship with myself, fade away faster and faster every day. I blamed and began to resent my body for being broken, for making me feel embarrassed about my inability to grow a baby inside me, for being unable to become a mother, and for putting my partner and my family through a loss of something so precious. I felt like my body failed me after I've done everything I humanly could to take the best care of it. I could not understand why my body would not 'work' the way it is intended to –  the way that other women seemed to do so effortlessly. 

I needed to go surfing, I missed that freeing feeling that the ocean can provide, the feelings of aliveness. The problem was that in my state of health, I wasn’t allowed in the water. So instead of turning to the ocean I turned to my family and traveled to Slovakia. Collecting hugs, love, and support, resourcing and going back to my roots. It truly was the best decision I could have made given my situation. Being with my family helped me significantly in my healing process.

After three weeks of quality family time, I returned back to work, teaching yoga and English. It took me that long to feel ready to be a teacher as I was doubting my abilities to be able to lead and inspire. Nonetheless, just as I help my students with their postures, and building their connection between their bodies, the self, and the mind, they have also helped me significantly on this journey, which I will be forever grateful for. 

pregnancy loss, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, rainbow baby, miscarriage, pregnancy, loss, healing, mindfulness, wave, ocean

Almost exactly a year from my loss, and this is the most openly I have ever spoked about it to anyone. I'd like to share with you what I learned in the process and hope you can find this helpful and comforting when going through such an experience.


Take Your Time
No words could ever describe the pain a woman suffers after a pregnancy loss at any stage. It still hurts, it hurts every single day - some days more, other days less, but the pain will always be there. A pain that will never go away, but a pain that a woman can eventually learn to live with. Following a loss, take some time off work and away from social interactions (if you can). This experience might make you feel isolated and alone at first anyway, and that is ok. Allow it! Once you feel ready, start with your partner, making sure you are both healing together. From there, try to get yourself out more and little more every day. Meet your closest friends and if you want to talk about it, do so. If you are not ready, let your friends talk about themselves. If you keep struggling, reach out for help. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, but instead be proud of for acknowledging that you need some guidance to overcome the loss. Remember we all experience a loss of this kind differently.

Allow Yourself to Heal
What I found to be an important part of my healing was to allow the body, my broken soul and the mind to heal in any way that felt comfortable at the time. The first few days may feel very overwhelming as there are all kinds of emotions flowing in and out all at once. It is important to acknowledge these and put them in the right order. The strongest emotions that arise first, tend to be anger, hatred, pain and the feelings of being completely powerless. Let those appear, see how they make you feel, grieve and cry all you need, break a glass or throw a plate against a wall if you have to. Let those initial feelings boil up to the surface, and slowly try to release them. Feelings of pity, sadness, and blame might follow, eventually leading up to acceptance. Accepting what happened, and that sadly it did happen to you this time, is crucial. Don't hold on to the pain for too long, accept and release, so that eventually you can learn to forgive and to love the self again.  

Speak Out!
It helps! I did not want this experience to become a taboo or something forbidden to be talked about. It took three long exhausting months out of my life (for some women it may be shorter or even longer period of time), three months that I should not be allowed or not supposed to mention? No! It is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of my life (forever) and I feel it is important we share our experiences. Speak out! It is then, we realize just how many of us had suffered through such a loss.


When I discovered just how many women out there had suffered or are suffering through such an experience, I was rather shocked how little of this topic is spoken about. On one side we are told that miscarriage is very common, normal or even natural, but it is also perceived as a sensitive/ personal topic which remains in the dark. It is indeed an extremely sensitive topic to talk about and it requires a great deal of strength too. I took me a very long time to accept this experience and to be able to talk about it - firstly out loud and secondly without tears running down my cheeks. 

It Is Not Your Fault! 
Miscarriage most commonly happens due to chromosomal abnormalities but that is not always the case. It can also happen due to hormonal imbalances, overactive or under-active thyroid, blood clotting or an MTHFR gene mutation blocking the body's absorption of folic acid and other nutrients. All these are extremely easy to diagnose and even easier to treat in order to prevent further miscarriages. Can you imagine how many miscarriages could have been prevented if proper tests were done in the first place? 

What’s more, I almost feel like I should be ashamed of what happened to me - yes it happened to me. I refuse to say that I had a miscarriage. I did not choose to miscarry, I was a victim of a miscarriage. However, what brings my blood to boil even more is the fact that following one miscarriage, no tests are provided to find out what could be the cause. Whether that is through social insurances (in most countries) or by certain private insurances as well. Only after a woman suffers three or more miscarriages she is eligible for testing (three or more?!). With nowadays improvements and discoveries in pharmaceuticals, it is truly unbelievable and inhuman to let a woman suffer to this extent, before trying to find the cause. One miscarriage is traumatic enough and it may take months, in some cases years for a woman to heal, depending on how advanced in her pregnancy the loss occurred. THIS is exactly why we need to talk about miscarriage more openly and share our experiences with our friends and family. 

You Are Not Alone
Don't expect your partner to grieve the same way as you do. Men don't understand what you are going through no matter how hard they try. They don't understand your hormonal changes (which are still present up to 6 weeks after your miscarriage), how your body changes in preparation for the baby as well as your perspective. Thankfully the internet is full of forums for pregnancy loss groups. Sharing my loss helped me break out of the shell and I received tons of supportive and comforting comments. It is crucial to remember that we are not alone and in no possible way we are to blame ourselves for the loss. It was NOT your fault! 

Are your loved ones telling you that everything happens for a reason? Know that they mean well and acknowledge their efforts, but they are wrong - some things just happen. So instead of hating your body, learn to begin to love and appreciate it for understanding and knowing what to do. As I mentioned earlier, your baby might have been lacking important nutrients or not developing properly. As painful as it may be, accept that something had probably gone wrong with your baby's development, appreciate that your body recognized this and did the best it could for you both to avoid further suffering along the way. 

Forgive But Don't Forget 
I found it impossible to forget, I tried and failed all over again and again. So instead of trying to forget, I began to honor and remember my lost baby. I framed my first ever positive pregnancy test along with some other reminders I saved from my short pregnancy, I lit a candle and cried, I kept a written diary of my feelings when I felt lost and lonely the most, I was given a beautiful angel wing neckless that I have been wearing ever since. These are a lot more than just painful reminders, they somehow make the situation real and therefore easier to accept. In order to heal we first need to accept and forgive, but not necessarily forget.

There is Always Hope
Most women continue to conceive and carry their babies to a full term after a miscarriage. If you lost your little angel now, you sure will be blessed with your rainbow baby soon. So for now, allow yourself to feel angry, frustrated, sad, hurt, powerless and helpless, and know that it is OK to feel that way. Take time to heal, it is impossible to 'move on' or 'get over it' as some people like to say unless you healed your broken soul.  
For starters try to find just one little thing that can remind you what being alive and content feels like. Take it one step of a journey at the time until you are ready to feel human again. Throughout the beginning of this difficult and challenging journey, focus on accepting that your baby was simply ‘too beautiful for earth’...

__________________________
I would LOVE to here from you...
Have you experienced such a loss?
I'd be happy to listen and hear your story,
and to help to restore your inner glow again, 
leave me a comment or contact me privately

love Vero


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1 comments

  1. i want to tell all the women in the world with no child that there is hope for you all, because i was also a barren woman, i had no child for the past 8 years and i contacted my doctor and he told me that there is no way on earth that i can ever getting pregnant, because of my previouse abortion i did for my ex husband, so i was confused and my husband was tired and told me that we should adopt a child, so i was so sad in such a way that i had to talk to a friend about adopting a child my friend told me to forget about adopting a child, with this she then introduced me to a spiritual leader whom i contacted and i explained everything to her and immediately she told me not to worry that all my problems will be solved, so i believed and did as she asked me, including applying her fertility medicine. After two week i went to the hospital for a total test and i found out that i was pregnant and today am now a mother, so if you are barren or childless kindly contact her on nativeiyabasira@yahoo.com and +441133201124

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