First off, Happy New Year to everyone!!
I hope that in 2018 you are able to find comfort in the little things that matter, and find ways to deal with those that cause you pain. This is achievable, with the right support and mind-set, I am sure of it.
Christmas is, of course, a time to relax and spend time with the people you care about most. The new year is typically a time to start fresh, leave negative experiences behind and reflect on the previous year.
This year I have found it somewhat cleansing to start a new year with new ambitions and to leave negative experiences behind.
Although I must say, I have not always felt this way, as I am sure some of you can relate to!
Today I want to talk to you about something I think a lot of you might have experienced. This is something that others who haven’t dealt with pregnancy and infant loss probably haven’t experienced.
I haven’t vocalized these thoughts to those around me, but have thought much about it over the festive period. I am hoping that you guys find some solace in being able to relate to how I have been feeling.
I am sure it is pretty common practice, over Christmas meals, to cheers to ‘the people who aren’t with us anymore.’ My Grandad died on Boxing Day seven years ago now, and we miss him at every family gathering. There is a hole in our family where he used to be, and it still makes us sad that he is no longer with us, especially that he passed away at this time of year – a time he enjoyed so much!
Obviously it’s not just him, other family members who we would usually see at Christmas have passed away in recent years.
Like I say, we always cheers to these people. For me, it is always my Grandad who I miss and who I think about when we do this, almost subconsciously imagining him being with us at the table, eating and drinking and holding his ears in an attempt to hear us all better like he used to!
This year though, without even meaning to, I thought of our ‘children,’ the babies we lost before they were born.
More than that, the potential Christmases we could have had together. The love they would have received around this special time and the faces we would have delighted in as they opened their stockings on Christmas morning.
It was those special moments I thought of as we clinked glasses to ‘those who were no longer with us’ and it made my heart skip a beat.
I was happy, enjoying myself, and didn’t expect them to enter my conscious mind in such a sudden way. It knocked me slightly, with feelings of anxiousness and guilt for enjoying my day when they were never given the chance to.
As I sat around the table with those I am closest with, I wondered. ‘Is anyone else thinking of them?’
My parents, my sister, even my partner- their own father, do they feature in his thoughts around this time? We don’t talk much any more about the losses we endured. It often results in bickering over how we both dealt with things and almost a competition of who was sadder.
We don’t know how to talk about it, that’s the reality.
For most people, they weren’t anything to be mourned. They weren’t people to lose. To me they were everything, and I wish I could tell them so.
If there is anything I learned in 2017, it was that it doesn’t really matter who else thinks of the children I lost. I think of them, I loved them, and that is enough for me.
I realized that I must not let myself feel guilty for my feelings, nor should I hide them.
I now see that others don’t always understand what it is like and I can’t expect that of them. This realization has given me huge relief and helped me let go of a degree of anger towards those who just never got it.
These feelings have set me free, ready to face 2018 as a calmer, more understanding campaigner for the awareness of pregnancy and infant loss.
My name is Becca. I went though the menopause at 15 years of age. Before I even knew what menopause meant!
It was a hard time and I felt so abnormal it really impacted my teen years. Especially when I got the diagnosis of osteopenia (pre cursor to osteoporosis which I now have). It was a devastating blow and really didn’t help my confidence as a teenager, who already had anxiety when it came to my body and the way others viewed me.
Fast forward ten years, I was engaged and ready to start a family. After being on an IVF waiting list for 7 YEARS, we were finally at the top of the list and started treatment!
It was hard on our relationship and we had other pressures going on in our normal life too! But we went for it, full force and did everything we could to prepare.
After 3 cycles, one early miscarriage and one at 3 months, as well as a fail, we ran out of NHS funded cycles. The pain and toll it had on us both was too much, and quite frankly we couldn’t really afford to fund any cycles ourselves. Not that I think we would have if we could afford it, so we made the decision to draw a line under it all. IVF was over, and our new childless life began.
This was only a year ago, I am now blogging about my experiences, writing a book and raising awareness for mental health issues, pregnancy loss, childlessness and IVF.
I see myself as somewhat of a warrior. We got through it, we survived as a couple and that is something to be celebrated!
Read more from Becca on her blog: Post IVF World