Courage, Faith and Patience – A journey of pregnancy and loss
By Susan Stark
Pregnancy is a privileged journey. It is an experience that can take us to a deep place within – a place of ultimate creation and being. It is a sacred place and a sacred journey -a place of deep learning and a place of challenge. Sometimes the challenge is not gentle and causes immense pain and distress. It can push us to places we wonder if we really want to go. The mystery and magic of pregnancy can not be underestimated.
Steve and I were elated at the news that we were pregnant. Being impatient to confirm my inner sense, we confirmed our pregnancy very early. We had prepared for many months before conception and were thrilled at the prospect of a new baby.
At ten weeks pregnant blood ran freely from my body. It flowed and it stopped. It spotted and flowed again. Panic and peace set in at the same time. I faced a myriad of emotion from fear to anger and frustration. At one level I felt a deep peace. I felt my baby was safe and I trusted the forces of nature. I trusted my body and my baby and with deep respect accepted the mystery of birth. I put aside my need for perfection and control and allowed the magic to unfold. I embraced comfort from knowing that I had ventured to a place where there was no promises, no guarantees. And this was ok.
On another level I raged. I struggled with the challenge of letting go. I wanted answers. I felt angry. This wasn’t fair – not fair at all. I struggled with needing to know what was happening. Should I have an ultrasound? Then I will know. But confronted with the fact that answers do not always lie in medical technology I settled to allow nature to take its course.
It made me go deeper, a challenge I know spiritually I asked for. Without struggle we can not expect to find deeper understanding. It allowed me to let go of control and accept the wonder of pregnancy. It allowed me to cry for myself and release sadness. It gave me the space to connect strongly with my unborn baby and spend time in that beautiful peaceful place with him. I love that space and wanted to stay there always. It is peaceful. It is safe away from the advice, the investigation. It is sacred and divine – a place of rest.
After seven days of bleeding I decided it was time to seek medical support. The agony of inconsistent bleeding, raising my hopes only to feel let down again was too much to bear. I was watching my family’s suffering. Harry needed his mama present and attentive and I was growing increasingly anxious. I knew the news wouldn’t be good but I still held on to a glimmer of hope. How could I just let this precious life slip through my fingers? I had to hold on. All the while the bleeding stopped. No pain, no signs of loosing this baby soon. It was beginning to feel torturous.
My family were relieved that we were seeking medical advice however I felt in absolute turmoil. The scan confirmed our deepest fears. The baby was gone – probably in the very early stages shortly after the journey to my womb. There in front of my eyes on the screen was an empty sack. In some ways it was a relief to finally have an answer and to not have to face a tiny baby without a beating heart. As the days rolled on however, I began to feel cheated, like a fraud. I had attached to a being that the doctors said never existed. Had I felt things that really never happened?
A curette was recommended. I was referred to another doctor. He was insensitive. This was all in a days work for him, just routine and nothing to waste time or useless emotion over. I had to make a decision. Given a brief run down on the risks of waiting it out or having the procedure I had to decide. Physically I may not have needed a curette, but emotionally I felt I had no choice. I couldn’t put my family through any more, nor did I think I could take it. Some women miscarry over a number of days; this had been a week and still little bleeding. I felt I would probably take another two weeks to birth what was left of my precious child. This was too much for all of us to bear. So I opted for the operation.
I was petrified. I had never had an anesthetic before let alone go into theatre. After all this was not an ingrown toe nail. The last of my baby was to be removed from my body forever. After this, there would be no more. It would become real. In the world of science things like miscarriage seem to be seen as an inconvenient mess that needs to be quickly and quietly cleaned up so women can just get on with their lives. Sure it is sad but the sooner we get it over with the sooner we can go on and try again.
The type of miscarriage I had further compounds such insensitivity. There was never a baby, just a pregnancy they say. Like a phantom in the night – silent, never real. They don’t understand the spiritual connection I had with my little one. I talked with him constantly; he knew how loved and wanted he was. This was real. This did happen and I don’t want to just move on! I wanted to scream so loud. But I felt no one was listening. I felt so angry and cheated. I have no baby to hold. I have no public permission to grieve. I have silence.
Awaking on the first day after the operation, I felt in turmoil. Had I made the right decision? What now? There were phone calls to make and people to tell. The phone rang with people sending their condolences. Advice ran hot and fueled my indecisiveness. Had I sold out and given in? What would people think – that I was weak and couldn’t stay true to my conviction? My family and friends gave me their understanding and reassurance.
In the midst of my tears and turmoil I found peace in the decision I had made to scan my baby and have a curette. I felt that I had taken this journey as far as I felt I could go. I showed compassion for my son and the suffering of my family and knew when enough was enough. I had the courage to journey and the courage to stop. And it is courage to stop. I felt I had to let go of my ideals and accept what was. There are some things that can not change no matter what we believe. I did the right thing for myself and my family.
The roller coaster ride continues. I feel every emotion from sadness to anger and at times wonder how I will ever be able to face another pregnancy. I feel lucky to have the love from those around me and so cheated at the same time. I want to scream so loudly and then hide away under the blankets so the world can’t find me. I am tired and drained but thankful.
A month has passed since writing this account of my journey. In that time I have reflected and nurtured myself as my family and I slowly heal. It has been a powerful time of learning in which I have gained new understanding of life and its purpose. Spiritually, I feel very blessed. I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to delve deeper and learn. This is a personal journey, hand tailored just for me. I know many others who have shared with me, their precious path. Our suffering in life does have a purpose. I wish you courage, faith and patience in exploring yours.
I dedicate this article to a precious child that taught me so much in such a short time.
The agony is so great….
And yet I will stand it.
Had I not loved so very much
I would not hurt so much.
But goodness knows I would not
Want to diminish that precious love
By one fraction of an ounce.
I will hurt.
And I will be grateful to the hurt
For it bears witness to
The depth of our meanings,
And for that I will be