It's not going to be a light blog people. Apologies. I also must stress that I have FULL permission to write this by my wife as this subject is obviously very personal to her too and not just me. I'm writing this because my wife and I have recently had this awful experience.
I've written before about how pregnancy brought the feeling of detachment for me. After all, I'm not the one growing a new life within me. It's an unavoidable fact for men that a physical connection to an unborn child is next to impossible barring a photo and a kick from a bump now and again. This feeling of detachment has recently been very keenly felt.
Let me start by saying that we have miscarried before. Between our first child, Martha and our second child, Ben. Let me also say that both miscarriages happened within the first trimester. They were both discovered at around the 12 week scan mark but the babies had died at different times. The first at around 9 weeks and this second one at 5 weeks. Now as this is a very emotive subject, I need to add here that for my wife and I, we count these experiences as a loss of a child. A loss far easier to take than a loss of a child that has been born BUT a loss nonetheless. If upon reading this blog you are up in arms about how we need to get over ourselves as our babies weren't even really alive, I understand your stance but please respect ours.
I don't want to discuss the details of finding out, or the ordeal that my wife had to go through miscarrying on both occasions. There is a need to say that ALL staff that we have been seen by have been simply amazing. We are lucky to have NHS. Had we been in the USA for example, a miscarriage can cost up to $9,000 if you're not insured and $1,200 if you are. What I do want to share with you is how all of this has made me feel and what I've had to do in order to cope with the fact that I'm not going to have a new child.
The overwhelming feeling I've had throughout all of this has been one of dismay. Upon hearing the news that our baby had died, I sank. "Not again" are the words my wife kept repeating. I immediately thought it was all my fault. For a baby to fail at the stage it was at, a chromosomal abnormality must have occurred. Who's more likely to have provided that chromosomal abnormality? Me of course. It's one of a handful of times that I've been livid that I'm Aspergers. I managed to convince myself that had I not been, everything would have been fine and the little baby would be 12 weeks and counting.
After confronting all the irrationality that comes with a loss and moving forward a little, the more prevalent feeling now is hollowness. I feel empty as a result of this. The plans we had made for our family to expand have now been dashed. But I've not lost anything. Nothing has happened to me at all. I've not been pregnant. I've not got the horrible task of undergoing a miscarriage ahead of me. I'm not really equipped to deal with these heightened experiences of loss in the first place but I still feel them. I'm angry and scared and really disappointed. I also feel silly and absolutely fine.
I'm angry that we have to feel this again. It was a dreadful experience the first time and it is a dreadful experience the second time. It doesn't get any easier. The only part that has gotten harder is keeping it together for the children. They weren't aware that their mum was pregnant thankfully. Small mercies. I'm scared because I regularly feel like I can't help my wife in her hour of need. Over the past week, I've watched my wife suffer horribly. A sufferance I've not been able to control or really aid. It's an emotional experience for us both but I have no hormones coursing through me and I'm not still having to stay strong, knowing that I'm still carrying the baby. I'm disappointed because I had so many plans that won't happen now. I feel so silly because this is a problem over 25% of women will experience through no fault of anybody's and I'm absolutely fine because NOTHING has happened to me.
The part I'm most grateful for in all of this has been my wife. Somehow, through all of this, she has let me grieve too. We have been united in our grief. Sure, I've taken the lead in dealing with the children, I've had the house to keep an eye on and work to prep for, but it's through our support for each other that we've gotten through this. We've been sad together and positive together. We are lucky in that we still have two beautiful children. Many are not as lucky as we are in that. That statistic of how many miscarriages happen in the first trimester is cold comfort, but comfort nevertheless. Most importantly for me though has been the frank discussion my wife and I had over fault. This isn't anyone's fault. Or rather, it is as much my wife to blame as it is me. This situation requires no blame. It requires togetherness.
When all is said and done however, I struggle to get past this.
Something that was going to happen is not happening anymore. It's a lot deeper than that though. A life that was intended for the world is no longer going to have that life. It was small and utterly dependant on us but it was a life. And at this moment I can't help but feel that I let it down. I hope not.