We Are All Mothers
“I did however go though a lot of depression after having a miscarriage right before my sons 1st birthday, I didn’t think life was fair taking something so precious away from me.” - Christine W.
Christine and I have known each other since we were four years old. We were neighbours growing up, and childhood best friends. You pretty much couldn’t find one of us without the other. In highschool we drifted apart, and then her family moved to another city, but since having our children we have totally rekindled the friendship, and I am forever grateful for that.
Christine has such a good heart, and the most contagious laugh. Her smile is always so big, and she is one of those people who you know you can ALWAYS count on. Our first children are a few months apart, and Christine and I were pregnant again at the same time, unfortunately Christine and her family experienced a devastating loss through miscarriage. Her husband and her then conceived again and welcomed their rainbow baby into this world a few months ago.
What I really want to focus on this We Are All Mothers story, is the heartache, loneliness, anger, fear, sadness, depression, anxiety, and confusion that mothers can experience when they lose a baby. You’ll hear Christine share what her experience was like below, and please, be mindful and respectful when you read through her words. This moment does not define her; however, it had a huge impact on her and that baby will forever hold a space in her heart.
Below, are some of what Christine has shared about her mothering journey so far. These are her words, her experiences, her stories. Be mindful, be respectful, and open your heart and your mind to what she shares.
My first pregnancy birth experience was an emergency c section at 35 weeks, I ended up going in to labour with my son while he was still breached, it took a whole 15 minutes of us being at the hospital before we were in the operating room!
I had huge amount of anxiety durning my pregnancy with my son, I was very open with my husband, family & friends about everything, my husband was my best support system, he was able to clam me down and get me breathing and back on a healthy calm level, so I didn’t stress out the baby.
My anxiety came with complications durning my pregnancy. Having been told my son stopped growing at 22 weeks and being told if there was no changes by 26 weeks we’d have to deliver. To being told that my blood is mixing with my sons (my blood being O negative means I can only be given O negative unfortunately this mean any other blood giving to me my body attacks) which could cause problems with us being able to conceive again and if we conceive again in could end in a miscarriage, my body would attack anything trying to make a home in there.
Breastfeeding: I was very much against doing it until the day I had my son in my arms. I decided to give it ago & fell in love with the bond. But unfortunately we had some nurses that didn’t exactly know much knowledge about breastfeeding and told me to stop for 2 weeks because of bleeding around the nipples, they told me it wouldn’t affect my milk supply, me being a new time mom listened to them and stoped for those 2 weeks, which made my milk stop coming in. So my year plan of breastfeeding got cut short. I was only able to breastfeed for 3 months
Body Image: The first 4 months I could honestly care less what I thought or what other thought, I had a baby this is the body of a beautiful mom I thought to myself. I also had some complications healing from my c section (due to me not listening to my doctor and tried to get up and clean so my husband could come home & relax & bond with his son *bad idea lady’s listen to your doctors* )
When i started getting annoyed with my body it was 4 months PP, I started going to the gym for an hour every night but felt like I wasn’t losing any weight, I felt like I was looking worse then actually getting better. It probably took me a year to finally feel good about my body image again! I got to bellow my goal weight by December 2017 only to become pregnant again with baby #2 in January 2018
Depression, Anxiety and Loss: I was lucky enough to not have any struggles with depression or anxiety after having my son. I’m not sure if it’s because I had such a great support system at home with me. I still feel very blessed that I didn’t go through depression after having my son. I did however go though a lot of depression after having a miscarriage right before my sons 1st birthday, I didn’t think life was fair taking something so precious away from me. there was a lot of fights between my husband & I, he didn’t understand why it was harder on me then it was on him. I honestly feel if I didn’t have my little boy with my everyday giving me snuggles and making me smile & laugh, I don’t know if I would of made it though it.
Relationships: My husband and I were lucky enough to not struggle with our son with the lack of sleep & crazy emotions I’m sure we both were having, after having a our son it brought us closer together.
But after having a miscarriage we struggled a lot, we couldn’t understand each other’s feeling at the time. My husband couldn’t understand why I “couldn’t just get over it” & I couldn’t under stand why it was so easy for him to forget about it. I was super depressed with everything, I was mad at life for taking something so amazing and precious away from me, & I was mad that I felt like I was the only one suffering after the loss. I think we both felt like our relationship was on the line, but after us finally having to sit down and work it out we both understood each other feeling better & understood what kind of support we needed from one another.
Adjusting to Motherhood: I found that I adjusted to motherhood so nicely, I feel like this is what I’m on the earth for. Being a mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Learning new experiences and teaching a little boy to become a amazing little man is everything I’ve ever needed. Even though life likes to through me curve balls & sometimes I need a wine break I still think this is what I was made for this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m so great full that motherhood come so easily for me.
As a society, we don’t do anyone any favours by avoiding discussing infant loss. While yes, it can be a topic of much discomfort for some, and it can be a massive trigger of trauma for other, being able to speak openly about the turmoil of emotions that families experience allows us to learn how to better support families as they experience their loss and work through their grief. It allows us to hold space, listen, and honour those families and babies. It allows parents to know they aren’t alone. It enables us to let ourselves feel, grieve and journey through the loss in whatever way it may be. It creates a healthy grieving experience for families because they can have a safe space to grieve in. Yes, infant loss, miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, etc is not a happy topic. We are a society who fears and avoids talking about these experiences as if there is a taboo around them.
What I want mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc to know is that you aren’t alone. There doesn’t have to be a taboo. You lost a child, and how incredibly devastating that must be. It affects every aspect of your life, and can have lasting impacts on future pregnancies, children, experiences, emotions, mental health, etc. Please, don’t go through that alone. Find someone you trust, confide in them, talk to your doctor, counsellor, or just someone who can understand even just a small idea of what you are going through.
Christine, thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave, you are so loved, you are so incredibly worthy. You have a beautiful loving heart, and are an incredible mother. You are honourable and you are someone for all of us to look up to. Being able to share your story and talk about your loss brings light, awareness and helps to destigmatize the taboo around miscarriage and infant loss. Continue sharing your story, continue being brave, and always know that your are loved.
Below is a bit of information from a Global News article that involves statistics from the SOGC about miscarriage.
According to a study out of Imperial College London last month. It found four in 10 women reported PTSD symptoms three months after a pregnancy loss. Those women reported “regularly re-experiencing the feelings associated with the pregnancy loss, and suffering intrusive or unwanted thoughts about their miscarriage.
Some women also reported having nightmares or flashbacks, while others avoided anything that may remind them of their loss, or friends and family who are pregnant.
Nearly a third admitted their miscarriage had impacted their work life.
How common is a miscarriage?
Dr. Jon Barrett estimates he sees one miscarriage patient a week at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.
While there isn’t much Canadian data on miscarriages, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) estimates 15 to 20 per cent of pregnancies end in one.
Barrett and many others put the number even higher.
“One in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage,” Coomarasamy said. “That really means everyone will know of someone who’s had a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage. It’s that common.”
Sourced from Global News, 2016.
I have linked below a few resources for women/families experiencing miscarriage and infant loss. Please reach out. Don’t be afraid to share your story, and don’t be afraid to grieve. Find a space that you feel safe to share your experiences and surround yourselves with those who love you. You are not alone. You are loved.