Saturday, January 25, 2014

Warning; Sad Reading

Warning; Sad Reading.

A cold January day, an ordinary day, a weekday, a dark post Christmas day.  Also a day of special significance for me... A message pings in on my ‘phone.  My niece was going for “The Scan” today. Here on my screen is a picture, a tiny creature curled up, long back, knees drawn up. Here is the Baba, she says.

Something smashes into me with the force of a punch in the guts, smashes down gates and walls.  A tidal wave of emotion rises somewhere within me and threatens to swallow me up, drown me.  I am struggling, really struggling to hold back the feelings, hold back the tears.

This very day, this very day, exactly eighteen years ago, I was the one in the maternity hospital. I was the one with “The Scan” scheduled for that exact January day and time. But I wasn’t having a scan. I was being wheeled into theatre. The baby was lost. There was no reason, the consultant had said. Sometimes these things just happen. You can have other children. There’s nothing wrong, no reason why you can’t. But we didn’t. That was the end of everything.

Now, exactly eighteen years later, I am engulfed, overcome, totally swamped by feelings that seem to have come from nowhere. I struggle through the day, thanking God that I have an appointment with the counsellor in the evening and hoping she can help me through this.

I stumble in the door of her consulting room, sobs tearing themselves from inside me. It’s as if someone else is crying. There is nothing I can do to stop this. I am bent nearly double in the chair. I struggle to get the words out.  “This is raw grief” she says. “This is completely raw. You haven’t dealt with this at all”.

An hour later I leave, drive home, worried that the sobs that are still ripping themselves from my gut and the tears that won’t stop flowing will affect my driving.  I try to be extra careful and avoid the motorway, the quickest way home.

At home I sit on the sofa and do what has been suggested; I take out my notebook and pen and write to my child. Feelings pour out on to the page along with the tears.
Himself comes in. I remind him what day it is; tell him what the counsellor said. “Wallow in it or get over it” I’m told.

I close my notebook and go to bed.   I will follow the other suggestions she made; place a little memorial somewhere, or plant a tree or flower. Go to a meeting of a specific organization she recommended, a support group for those who have suffered this kind of bereavement.

Once again I open the wonderful message from my beloved niece. The therapist had asked if I would be able to love this baby as I wished.  On the tiny screen of my ‘phone I trace with my finger the outline of the long back, the tiny feet.  I already do, little one. I already do.

In the days that followed, I went alone and placed a flowering shrub on my mother’s grave. Nestled among its leaves, a tiny porcelain angel a lovely friend had given me. I lit my little candle, said what I needed to say and placed my child in the care of his grandmother.

More tears flowed when I attended a meeting of the support group, not all of them mine. Women of all ages, healing the pain hidden for years. Some men. Such kindness, such goodness.

I’ve done everything the counsellor suggested. The intensity has abated. Emotions that lay buried for eighteen years have forced their way out. The volcano has stopped erupting. I am healing.

But there is one more thing I wish to do. For the Miscarriage Support Organization. I’ve decided that this year, I will do the Womens Mini Marathon.  I will raise as much money as I can for them, in memory of my own little one and in a small way, maybe I’ll be helping other people too. And if there is anyone reading this who has ever been in the same situation, I’m thinking of you today. 


  1. Indeed a sad ending, but I hope a happy one for your niece. Good for you for the minimarathon.

  2. Thank you very much. Onwards and upwards, or sideways ! :)