12 weeks on

Today marks 12.5 weeks since I found out about my missed miscarriage and 12 weeks since the physical miscarriage happened. In these 12 weeks, I have learnt more about myself than I ever wanted to know and I have become more dependent on people than I have ever been before. There have been good days and there have been bad days. Typically the good outnumber the bad but the last week or two has been particularly difficult and the balance has been off.

I wanted to write this for anyone who is struggling with a miscarriage, whether it is them or a friend/family member who has experienced it. The most important piece of information I have received is this:

You are allowed to grief. You have experienced a loss in the family. If it was someone people in the family knew about, you’d be allowed to grief: this is no different.

Those words were spoken to me by my counsellor. I have avoided going to counselling for many years but, with this, I reached the stage where I couldn’t avoid it any more. My counsellor has made me feel more validated than any other person who has tried to help me, my husband included. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful support network but, even with that network, I feel like I am failing sometimes by having such a strong reaction to the miscarriage. It is important to remember that feeling is not failing. When I’ve had moments where I am really struggling, I have told certain people whom I really trust and I get responses back like:

Well don’t be too hard on yourself. Your head’s doing whatever it needs to do.

Upon telling a friend that I am going to counselling, she said that she thought I was amazing to be tackling it full force and how much she admired me for it. It has given me that strength to keep pushing through on the bad days. I’ve learnt that there is no shame in needing to remove myself from situations that are just too much for me, even if someone else could cope. We each recover differently and that is the key thought for recovering from a miscarriage. Different people feel differently. I seem to be struggling more than other people I know who have had miscarriages but that is OK. 12 weeks on I have learnt that lesson – I hope anyone else reading this can learn it sooner.

Thank you for listening.

P.S. After 64 poems published consecutively, there may be a little break as the writing is dependent on my mood. That being said, I wrote 5 in one day the other week so maybe they will pick up again.

Mental Health: Personal Awareness

I need help.

I can say that now.

I am well on the way to getting help – I have acknowledged that I am not well.

Like many people, I grew up with a stigma about mental health. I was always told that grit and determination will get you there but that isn’t always the case. I wouldn’t describe myself as having had a tough childhood but there was a lot of pressure on me and I often didn’t let myself come to terms with things that I should have come to terms with. When there was turmoil, I became the pillar caught in the middle, trying not to let everything crumble. Now, I’ve finally cracked.

I had thought of self harm often as a child/young adult but I thought that if I did anything, I would seem weak and people would notice. The other day, I self harmed for the first time. I didn’t want to do it and I kept trying not to but the aggravation within my skin was so intense that I couldn’t not do it. I didn’t penetrate the skin because, thankfully, the knife was pretty blunt, but that doesn’t detract from what I did. It helped relieve me, whilst at the same time showing me how truly fragile my mental state was right now. As I described to a friend, my miscarriage seems to have triggered my historic issues and won’t let me cover them up anymore. As scary as it is to accept, I can now admit that I have a problem and, just as I would if I was physically hurt, I need to do all that I can to take care of myself.

I have shared all my poetry with the hope that it will start to reduce some of the stigma around miscarriage. I have written this as I want to do my part to reduce the stigma around mental health. You will see from some of my future poems that there is a darkness that has stemmed from my mental health rather than the miscarriage – please do not be afraid to acknowledge if some of it resonates with you. Please do not think that you are weak if you need to seek help to stop yourself doing something harmful. You are the strong one for wanting to help yourself and, in turn, the people around you. My husband is worried about me but some of that worry has been relieved by me saying that I have opened up to select people and that I now have counselling arranged. When I feel unworthy of help, I think of him and how I want to be healthy for the both of us. His patience, love, and devotion deserve it.

Where to call for help in the UK