‘We have just had our second miscarriage within a year. I am not a mother yet’

Miscarriages cause sadness, pain and grieving. We must share our stories of this trauma

Everything you worried would happen happened, every dream you dared dream is dashed, and you are back to square one.

We have just had our second miscarriage within a year. I am not a mother yet. The doctors just say you’re unlucky and there is no reason this will happen a third time. But how can you ever expect a healthy pregnancy again. So many people tell you to relax, enjoy the pregnancy, how is this doable when you have had a 100 per cent failure rate. I would love to know how. Because all you feel is useless. The main biological function of a woman is to procreate and you have failed.

You are an empty husk.

We had two good scans on our second pregnancy. Strong heartbeat, everything looked good. At the 10-week scan, the sonographer’s face changed. I couldn’t look at the screen, her eyes told me everything. “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.’’ We had two “missed miscarriages”, there’s no bleeding over a toilet, you are carrying a dead embryo. The pregnancy symptoms have started to ebb away. Hospital appointments are booked, drugs are administered and you wait.


Trying to pull yourself together and “get back to normal” is littered with setbacks. In the hospital, when you are recovering from the removal procedure of the “products of conception”, you hear the cries of the newborn babies from down the hall. That is a kick to your empty womb.

Hunted by algorithms

Every time you go online to distract yourself, the algorithms show you maternity wear, prams and formula ads. There is no off switch for what you see so you start to hide the ads. Facebook asks why and the only relevant option to click is “irrelevant”.

This ad is now irrelevant to my life.

You go to the shops, everyone is pregnant or pushing a buggy, you watch TV and all the ads are for pampers and baby food.

Mother’s Day is as painful for the childless as Valentine’s for the unattached.

And your partner . . . Not many people consider the men. Because of the Covid crisis my partner couldn’t accompany me through my hospital procedure. Instead, he had to wait at the front door for several hours, watching pregnant women come and go and new fathers arrive with the baby carriers to collect their new arrivals. He cries silently, willing himself to be stronger for me.

Statistically, one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, although I believe this number is higher for the over 35s (the “geriatrics”). When I tell my story everybody else seems to have one. Yet we’re not talking about it openly. Because we’re not all talking about it, you conceal your grief or protect the people who don’t understand and try everything to get back to normal. Let’s change the conversation.

The road to parenthood is hard. Ovulation sticks, temperature checks, calendar apps, acupuncture. Telling your partner you’re in the window for conception puts a lot of pressure on relationships. Sex has become something so completely different when you are trying to conceive.

Then your period due date approaches, more peeing on sticks and more disappointment. And when you get the two lines you dare to feel joy for a moment. But what follows that joy is utter exhaustion and nausea. I couldn’t even find the energy to put a wash on and you’re trying to cook a nutritious dish and force spinach and broccoli down at every meal. People tell you the nausea is a good sign so you try and embrace it. You do everything you’re supposed to. But you’re ratty and unreasonable. And when you have had a loss, the anxiety lurks. I felt so guilty for not being more excited.

Maybe I knew.

Constantly scared

I was reading a book (What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty) during my pregnancy with a strong sub-theme of multiple miscarriages that I was unaware of when I bought it. There was a page in it that I felt I could have written myself: “Elizabeth said ‘all I need to do is pretend I’m not pregnant, so that if I lose it, it won’t hurt so much, but I can’t seem to do that. And then I think okay, just be hopeful, assume it will work. But then every moment I’m scared, every time I go to the bathroom I’m scared of seeing the blood. Every time I go for an ultrasound I’m scared of seeing their faces change. You’re not meant to worry because stress is bad for the baby, but how can I not worry.”

And now I sit at home, bleeding into sanitary pads and popping paracetamol for the cramps. Just like a bad period but with a side of devastation. People visit, tea is drunk, wine is opened – I mean why not, it doesn’t matter anymore. They tell you of their own stories, or someone they know who had multiple miscarriages, or a loss at six months, or failure to conceive, count yourself lucky you got pregnant in the first place. Trying to make you feel better but all you feel is “how are we all going through this torture?”

The one common theme everyone says is be kind to yourself. So I got a pedicure, drank an expensive bottle of wine, had a lie-in, ate unpasteurised cheese. All ridiculous consolation prizes.

I feel guilty for being signed off work, but I spontaneously cry in the supermarket so I’m not much good to anyone. Thankfully they are very supportive and tell me to take as much time as I need. I asked the bereavement team about counselling – she advised me to just feel the grief and go through it. Oddly pragmatic but what do I know?

One thing I do know is it’s time for a break from trying. For me, my partner and our relationship. We will try again one day, but the emotional trauma is too much to jump straight back in. I’m so tired.

The days following our loss in July, my partner and I kept seeing a little white feather. Maybe it means nothing, but we both take some comfort that a little soul is with us.

Maybe I will be a mother one day. Maybe that’s not part of my story. But it’s time to tell the stories. Share the grief, share a tear, share a glass of wine and talk about the pain that is everywhere.

Read: Joanna Donnelly: 'I had seven miscarriages . . . I was absolutely furious all the time'