I haven’t spoken about miscarriage, infertility or the loss of a baby much before but thought I'd write a few words to bring awareness to the subject.
When we think of pregnancy the first thought that comes to the minds of most is pregnancy when it goes to plan. We think of growing babies, little bumps, scans, preparing a nursery and sharing the exciting news with family and friends. Sometimes we might think of morning sickness, tiredness and heart burn but in most situations, it's still a thought that results in parents holding a wee baby in their arms.
For lots of us though pregnancy does not have those same images. For some of us pregnancy may make us think of loss, grief, unwanted periods, injections, scans, procedures, loss or guilt just to name a few. For some it may be a forever wished for event that seems so unavailable or out of reach. I've had a few early miscarriages that certainly gave me some understanding but more importantly I have walked beside some very good friends and family as they have ridden the roller-coaster of IVF, miscarriage, infant loss, infertility, grief, hope, injections, specialist and more.
What I've learnt along the way is that human beings are amazingly strong and resilient. I've seen some people close to me reach the lowest of lows and rise above it to give it their all in another round of IVF just as dedicated and passionate as they were the first-time round. I've seen mothers analyse and question every ounce of their body, their hormones, their reproductive organs, their minds, their diets, their lifestyle and more. I've listened to them plan their holidays or significant events around when they may potentially be miscarrying because it's happened so many times before. I've watched the financial strain it's taken on them, travel, specialist, private consultations, medications, procedures, supplements, counsellors etc. etc. I've watched them cry, I've hugged them tight, I've given verbal encouragement and support and most importantly I've hopped and wished and prayed that each of these women would one day hold a baby in their arms.
Although each fertility journey is different and very rarely the same as someone else they all have some similarities. They all involve someone who wants to be a parent, someone who has love to give, someone who's making a sacrifice, someone who's grieving and someone who needs support from those who love them. There is always an ounce of uncertainty, there is always fear, there is always determination, there is always hope and there is always a wish for a successful pregnancy.
So many of us find it hard to talk to someone about the loss of a pregnancy, loss of a baby or the difficulties they may be having to conceive. it's never an easy subject to bring up and often it's a topic we actively avoid. I don't think we do this because we don't care at all I think we do it as it's hard to know what to say. For many all they need is someone to listen, someone to acknowledge what they are going through or have been through and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. One friend of mine is so scared her son, who was born sleeping, is going to be forgotten. She talks about him all the time, he is her son and he is a huge part of her life and her family. His birthdays are celebrated, his name is spoken and he's always in the forefront of her mind. The loss of him has shaped who she is and what she does, he gives her strength and motivation. For anyone who's been on this road what has happened behind them will have an impact on and shape who they become going forward.
A baby that is born after the loss of another is called a 'rainbow baby' - something beautiful after a storm.
To see a mother or father holding their rainbow baby is something that words cannot describe. It's a moment that's been dreamt of for so long, wished for, hoped for and prayed for. A rainbow baby can heal a lot of hurt for a family but it will never replace or erase the ones that have been before.
I've been fortunate enough to see a few rainbow babies enter the lives of some amazingly strong, resilient, determined and loving families. I've seen the love they bring with them and the joy they give their parents and those around them. I can only hope and pray that anyone wishing for their rainbow gets to experience this moment.
By writing this I wanted to bring awareness to the struggles some parents face to become parents. I wanted to acknowledge the babies that have been lost and the pregnancies that never came. I also wanted to perhaps give you the confidence to walk beside someone or simply just acknowledge what they are going through or at the very least just listen. I wanted to remove the taboo around the subject as these journeys and those pregnancies and babies are significant and they deserve to be known. I wanted my friend to know her son will never be forgotten. I wanted to also celebrate all the families who are now living life over the rainbow, and give hope to those still wishing for theirs.
Take Care & Best Wishes