This is another one not to read if you're a family member or a professional contact who's clicked through from twitter expecting content about accounting. It's here because I've been all over the internet in recent weeks looking for company on this, and I think those of us in a position to write about it should do. Bits of it have been coming into my head for a few days, but I've not edited it, instead giving in to the urge just to get it down, and out there. Perhaps more thoughtful posts will follow, or perhaps I'll get something up soon about the Booker shortlist so this isn't lingering on the front page being miserable.
A little while ago I found out I was pregnant.
A couple of weeks ago the pregnancy ended, I miscarried, I lost the baby. That's a range of ways of putting it, with a variety of baggage attached.
1 in 4 is the statistic you see quoted, but we've all read it, and we all know it doesn't mean us. I reasoned it away because "loads" of those are pregnancies that are never even detected, just few-days-late periods. And the others, well, they're for others.
Then suddenly it was for me. I'll be talking about me in this, not us, because it's my story, and I'm telling it how I want to. I don't think it would be my place to attribute words or thoughts to H, so I won't.
Mainly at the moment, still, it is a bigness. It's something in the corner of your eye, you can only observe it sideways, but it glowers and menaces. Most of the days, most of the time, I'm pottering along, working, doing toddler-things, keeping stuff going, but occasionally, maybe a couple of times a day, it's just walloping me from nowhere.
I was going to be a mother again. Now I'm not.
I was going to spare Isaac from being an only child. Now I'm not.
I was a healthy, fertile woman doing what women are built to do. Now I'm not.
I was going to have a wonderful birth, even better than last time. Now I'm not.
I was going to be able to use all the lessons I'd learned first time round. Now I'm not.
I was going to be a matriarch, presiding over a chaotic but love-filled household. Now I'm not.
I'm not packed full of glorious life and promise. I'm a flawed vessel, I didn't look after the goods I was entrusted with, my body failed me, I failed my baby.
My baby, that's key, the fact I was only 7 weeks along is irrelevant. I don't care about where it was on the embryo-foetus-baby scale, the whole future and all my hope was packed in there and came out over the course of one painful, sad weekend. This was supposed to be my baby. He or she would have been nearly 3 years after Isaac, a completion to our family, a fruition. For the three and a bit weeks that I was pregnant, I kept having these moments of melancholy about not yet being pregnant, not having the family the shape I wanted, then realising oh yes! I am pregnant! I no longer have to be sad!
And now, once more, I'm not pregnant, and I'm struggling to see colours in the world. I just can't imagine recreating that kind of optimism. My boy is so precious and dear, and I am holding on to him particularly tightly, but I'm miserable about the idea of his growing up alone, and miserable that it will be my fault: a mother is meant to make a family, a whole family, not one attempt and then a flunk.
This was meant to be an elegant, well-crafted and moving piece, and it turns out I can't write that yet: perhaps I'm not yet ready yet, and perhaps I won't be. It just turns out there isn't elegant melancholy to be had here, there's jarring pain and grief.
Perhaps I'll search-engine optimise by including some of my own recent popular phrases:
"miscarriage emotional wreck"
"miscarriage maternal age"
"miscarriage likelihood of recurrence"
"miscarriage overwhelming sadness"
"miscarriage can't concentrate"
"miscarriage feel desperately alone"
"miscarriage coping with toddler"
"miscarriage dental work"
and no, none of them gave me a neat, parcelled, thing to pin it on.
I know people move on, go on to have children after miscarriage. I know this intellectually. But, what if I don't, and anyway, I wanted this one. This was my baby. I was already spinning dreams for it. This is probably the biggest thing for me, and the reason I think these ugly clumsy kind of posts need to be out there on the internet for sobbing midnight googlers to find: until it happens to you, you don't get this. You don't actually know it's the loss of a baby. It's happening all over the place, and no one speaks about it until someone else mentions it - I've hardly told anyone, and yet of those I have, have heard several "when I had my miscarriage" stories. They hurt to hear, but they're also such a comfort.
I suppose as time passes I will find it easier to say "when I had my miscarriage", and I want to, because since I'm part of this lousy team, at least I want my badge.