When I was 19 years old, during my first year at university I fell pregnant with my then boyfriend. It was a total shock to me (despite the fact that I'd taken obvious risks) but even so, I knew from the moment I found out that I wanted to keep the baby.
Most of my friends were very supportive, but at such a young age I was understandably pretty terrified to tell my parents. As I headed home for the summer break, 3 months pregnant and ready to find the time to break the news - the worst happened: I started bleeding. Fast forward a few trips to the A&E and I found myself at the Early Pregnancy Unit where I was told that I had lost my baby a few weeks before. My world literally fell apart.
I did what many people in my position would have done for the first few months, and drowned in my own grief. I spent the entire summer sat in my bedroom and lost a significant amount of weight. Starting my second year at university so soon after was a mistake, I felt lost and consequently failed the year through lack of being able to keep up with the work, or in fact being motivated to do any at all. I didn't seek help, I didn't speak to anyone, I just sort of muddled along in my own way - hoping to find some peace. I did eventually, I can't really pinpoint when it happened, but after a while the sadness started to lift and I was able to slowly move on from what had happened.
Thankfully nowadays, miscarriage and baby loss are fairly well covered topics on blogs. Yet, I feel that situations akin to my own (young, unplanned pregnancy and not in a stable relationship) are considerably less so. I'm not writing this post for sympathy, as nearly nine years on I've come to terms with my loss and am on the most part, able to speak about it openly. The months after my miscarriage were a blur of sadness for me. I felt very alone, and I truly struggled. The internet just wasn't as evolved as it is today, blogs were nothing like they are and there really wasn't anywhere for me to turn to online for help that as a young girl I could relate to. There are so many other people out there who have been through something similar, or sadly may go through it - writing about my own experience and more importantly that I overcame it, can perhaps make somebody else out there feel less alone in a time of great sadness.
I think once you've had a miscarriage, no matter what age, no matter whether your pregnancy was planned - it can you hit you hard. It's very common to feel as though you did something wrong, that your body wasn't fit for purpose, and most of all it's incredibly common to be filled with anxiety that this may happen to you again in the future. Whilst I don't have any specific pointers on how I dealt with the loss at the time, I've been able to reflect over the years and have come up with a few things I would tell someone in my position.
The hard truth is that in most cases, nothing you could have done would have prevented this. So many women, myself included, feel unimaginable guilt that this outcome was their fault. The first thing to do for yourself, is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for ever thinking it was your fault.
Everything Happens For A Reason
When I first heard these words, I wanted to bash my ahead against the wall, but as it happens they hold real truth. Once I'd started to see through my sadness, I saw my miscarriage as an eye-opener. It gave me a chance to start over and protect myself, to re-evaluate whether it really had been the right time. Whilst I will always wish this hadn't of happened, it didn't ruin my life. I was able to learn about myself and see my plans through, albeit through tough and vulnerable times.
Find Your Own Way
Everybody feels and deals with loss differently, so do whatever works for you. Whether that's speaking to someone professionally, writing your thoughts in a journal or having some sort of memorial to say goodbye, there really is no right or wrong answer. I had a Lily tattooed on my back - the greek symbol of motherhood, but also the name I would have chosen had it been a girl. For me, choosing a name meant that I solidified that I had suffered a real loss, not just the loss of what should have been.
I don't know if this post will ever help anyone - perhaps it'll just be therapy for me. But if a young girl like me nine years ago stumbles upon it and it offers her a glimmer of comfort or helps even a little, then that's good enough for me.