Having a miscarriage was one of the most isolating experiences of my life
I remember flying home from Cape Town to Australia on New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2011. I was feeling unwell. My body, mind and emotions were a mess. I remember knowing something was wrong but not understanding what. That moment in Dubai when I was spotting. I knew I was having a miscarriage and losing the baby and I still had another 14-hour flight to go to get to Australia and another hour flight to get home to Hobart. I felt sick from the core as there was nothing I could do to save this life inside me. There was nobody I could tell or who would understand. I felt life inside me leaving me slowly but surely and I was lost in the translation of it all.
Shock took over
I arrived home on the 1 January 2012 and went straight to the hospital waiting for 6 hours to have someone attend to me, only to confirm there was no heartbeat. Shock took over. It was now the reality that death was a part of my body. The darkness and confusion took over… I don’t remember anymore after this until I got home after scheduling dilation and curettage (D&C).
Caged inside darkness
When I got home, I felt lost and in utter despair. My mum talked like it was a normal part of my life. My dad wouldn’t talk to me because he didn’t understand it and did not like emotions. For the next week, I stayed locked in my bedroom. I hardly ventured out. I felt caged in darkness inside and so I caged myself outside too.
My mum didn’t understand, my partner just said it was meant to be. He was still in South Africa and it felt like he didn’t realise a life was lost, at least to me it was. His life went on and my life stopped. I felt overwhelmed with all I had to deal with alone. I didn’t understand how it could be so devastating and life-changing for one (me) but not for anyone else.
I didn’t understand why it had happened
Did I do something wrong? I didn’t understand why everyone just treated it like normal. I didn’t understand anything anymore.
After the D&C the doctor told me I would never have children that I had irregular ovaries that could not carry properly. I just sat there shocked and said nothing. It was all too sterile, matter of fact and uncompassionate.
They told me after the D&C the bleeding would stop in a few weeks and my body and life would return to normal.
Normal, what was that?
I couldn’t relate to it. My bleeding took over 12 weeks to stop and I never returned to normal. I changed forever.
For the first few weeks, I just watched the world slowly fade in colour from once bright colours, then to pastels and finally, the world turned grey, black and white.
I felt like I had lost myself, I felt like I was alone and I felt like I was lost in a turmoil of emotions that seem to have no end. I could no longer feel life anymore. My senses were gone. I lost my taste, the enjoyment of sitting in the warmth of the sun, I lost my ability to hear music or even feel someone’s love…. I was numb.
I just went through the motions
There was no connection to life like before. Afterwards, I struggled with my own isolation. It’s cold, harsh and it can mess with you. It’s hard to explain that to anyone who’s not experienced it or anyone who hasn’t experienced it to understand it. I felt very alone and ashamed for many years.
After this moment, I realised how much of our healing doesn’t come from books or knowledge and that nobody is here to save us. No matter how many people love us or how much knowledge we have, until we are able to accept what happens in our life we cannot utilise anything to rebuild and regain life.
Letting go and forgiving
I say rebuild and regain life because the life before will never be the life after. But you must rebuild from what you have the shattered life and regain life from all that is around you by reconnecting to what is here and now. I learnt that letting go and forgiving did not mean to disregard or gloss over painful or traumatic experiences but to instead recall them with acceptance and place them into a storyline of personal evolution.
When I fell pregnant again it was a shock because I was told I could never have children. My body’s desire however for a child since losing my child was the only thing I could think of. Sex was no longer pleasure alone, it was a means to create a miracle that I could never have after losing a child and before falling pregnant again.
Until the birth of my now 6.5 year old daughter I was constantly scared that something would happen, that this baby was in trouble. It’s so intense, making these little people, it is such a ride that will test your mind, body and soul and change your life forever.
Now New Year’s Day and Eve never have the same feel they once had. Now it is also a remembrance of my miracle who went back to being a star in the sky.
Rhyanna Watson is the author of Brave, Beautiful and Baring it All, which discusses the brutal truth of motherhood – from having a miscarriage and postnatal depression to the pressures of Instagram to be the perfect mum. Brave, Beautiful and Baring it All is available on 14th January 2020.