Content warning: This post contains details of miscarriage some readers may find triggering.
Is this what grief feels like?
My husband and I were trying to get pregnant for a year.
I had pleaded with my GP throughout this period for a referral to an OB/GYN. Finally, she relented. I had had an incidental finding of polycystic ovaries years earlier but had not yet been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects ovulation. My periods were inconsistent and stretched far apart. Seven, eight, nine week cycles. The waiting. It nearly killed me.
I relaxed. My appointment was approaching. I doubted I was even ovulating. We had sex purely for us. For fun. I went to see my obstetrician. There was something in my uterus, maybe a cyst. Maybe something more sinister. I was sent for more detailed scans and blood tests.
That night, I received a phone call from my obstetrician. “Emma, I have great news. You are actually two weeks pregnant!” That thing in my uterus, it was a baby. Our baby.
We went along to our 10 week scan. It showed that I had experienced a missed miscarriage at seven weeks. Surgery the following day showed previously undiagnosed endometriosis and adenomyosis in conjunction with the PCOS.
My husband and I took a week off work together. We pulled a mattress into our lounge room and lay around. PJs all day, snuggling, eating, talking, being silent, watching trash TV. The stereotypical look of grief and mourning. We walked our dog. We held hands. We took time for ourselves.
We pulled ourselves back together and went back to work. It wasn’t easy. But we supported each other. We had incredible external support. We received gifts, food, thoughts, love and prayers from friends and family.
We talked about it. We shared with our wider circles. We were kind to ourselves. We slept. We exercised. We ate well. We weren’t too hard on ourselves. We allowed ourselves bad days. We treated ourselves. We did the daily grind. We did weekends away.
I sought professional help. For the miscarriage, for my questionable fertility but also for some other stressors in my life. I did my homework. I implemented my strategies.
I feel like we did grief right. If there is such a thing.
Why then, two months on, is my brain still not working? Why do I still feel withdrawn? Why does socialising exhaust me? Why am I now terrible at small talk? How can I forget how to spell? To speak? To make decisions? How do words evade me mid-sentence? Why don’t I feel anything? When will this numbness go away? When will my motivation return? When will I care again?