Last winter, I was a broken woman. Recurrent miscarriage had devastated my husband and I, but HuffPost UK offered me a platform, a lifeline, to share my pain and hopefully help other women going through the same thing feel a little less alone.
Recently I have been reflecting a lot on that miscarriage feature. One year on, my family and I are in a very different place.
This time last year, if you had asked when my husband and I were planning to try for another child, I would most likely have felt the world shrink around me and offered a very quiet and introverted response of uncertainty, fighting back tears. My husband’s response would not have been much different.
Ask us now, two years on from our last miscarriage, and we would confidently explain our perfect daughter keeps us on our toes more than enough and we couldn’t be happier as our unit of three.
A part of me will always feel an immense amount of guilt, sorrow, confusion and a combination of anger and devastation when I think about the children I will not get to comfort, that my husband will never embrace in the type of hug only he can give. I think about the siblings our daughter will not get to play with.
“Now is not the time to dwell on those feelings. Now is the time to appreciate what we have.”
But now is not the time to dwell on those feelings. Now is the time to appreciate what we have. We are extremely lucky and blessed to have our daughter, after all, and enjoy life rather than living in a world of what could have been.
Recently, we had a candid talk about having more children. When he told me he did not want to try again, a part of me felt crushed. How could we close that chapter of our lives and leave behind the children I will always feel I failed? How do we move on from always having the longing for what could have been hanging over us? I wasn’t quite ready to let go.
Over the following weeks I thought about his answer a lot. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him. The less we thought about trying again, the more the lingering tension between us disappeared. We were getting on better than ever, laughing together in a way I hadn’t noticed we no longer had been. As I watched our daughter play and interact with others, I noticed how confident she had become and how much she was laughing again too. The more I felt better and distanced myself from the past, the more I felt her relax.
During the dark times that followed my miscarriages, I was emotionally battered. I became distant from everything and everyone around me, became disengaged with my day-to-day life. The bond I had cemented with my daughter felt as though it was becoming strained, and that feeling was worse than anything else.
Once we decided to not go down the pregnancy road again, I felt the haze lift almost immediately, as though I finally had my life back. I had been putting so much pressure on myself to make sure I was mentally and physically prepared to try again as soon as we felt ready, everything I did, said, ate, drank all came back to making sure I would be okay if I got pregnant again – which, as you can imagine, did little for my already frazzled mental health.
But now, I feel I have so much more energy and focus for everything in my life and can allow myself to be the best parent I can be to our daughter. We can give her, and each other, everything we all deserve, and more.
“The children we lost will always be a big part of our family... But no matter how much I wish it wasn’t true, I cannot do anything to bring them into this world.”
When we tell people we are content with our one perfect child, some have said it’s unfair for us to let her grow up an only child. Personally, I take quite a lot of umbrage to this viewpoint. Who’s to say because she is an only child she will be lonely? She will have friends and family who love her dearly; she already has friends and cousins with mutual adoration ever present.
Whenever someone outside of our close family and friends asks us when will we try again, or how we can possibly feel it is right to have just one child, we will always remain confident with our decision to continue as a happy, strong family of three. And wonder, too, how on earth it is anyone else’s business.
Accompanying this new zest for life and the haze that has disappeared, is the guilt I feel for the children we lost. Am I letting them down again by allowing us to move on? What sort of mother, or person, does it make me? How can it be fair that I get to move on when they never can?
Like I said, I am learning to not be so hard on myself, but these things take time. Baby steps, if you will.
The children we lost will always be a big part of our family and in my heart I know had they been born, they would have been so loved. But no matter how much I wish it wasn’t true, I cannot do anything to bring them into this world and the best thing for us as a family now, is to close that chapter of our lives, always cherishing the memory and hopes we had for our angel babies, while looking forward to what, I hope, will be a bright future for us all.
There is a light at the end of the emotional, chaotic tunnel of miscarriage. I feel stronger than ever in so many different ways and I know now, the love I feel for all my children will always be with me.
Not even miscarriage can take that away from me.
Rebecca Weller is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @RebeccaWeller13
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