4 years on and a successful pregnancy later, my little boy was 6 months old. The day before, I had found out I was pregnant and was so excited as any parent is when they find out they’re expecting again but the next day something wasn’t right, I was having severe cramping so went to my GP, she didn’t really need to say anything, her face said it all. My blood pressure was low, my heart rate was high and I could barely stand in pain “ I’m going to send you to hospital, I’ll ring for an emergency ambulance as I believe you could be having an ectopic pregnancy and if that is the case then we need to move fast” from that moment it was blurry, I remember crying to the paramedics saying I couldn’t go through this and that I was scared. The hospital moved fast and confirmed the ectopic by scan and from then I knew this would be another baby I would never get to meet.
I am in my mid-twenties with a preschool-aged child and have been married to my husband for just over a year now – so it’s time I had another baby, right? *insert eye roll here*
At our wedding people were asking if I was already pregnant again (drinking champagne from the bottle soon stopped those questions). We were asked if we were going to have a super romantic honeymoon baby. A couple of months after the wedding people were checking in and asking if I was pregnant with said honeymoon baby. A year on, people are tapping their watches, commenting on the age gap and generally getting involved in our private business.
Compare that to when my son was still very little and people were telling me that I absolutely shouldn’t have another baby. Some people even commented that THEY weren’t ready for me to have another baby (?!) but my answer has always been the same:
That is between me, my husband and my uterus.
Thankfully, the word “uterus” seems to stop most people from making further comment for some reason.
I am not going to divulge whether or not we are trying for a baby because… well… That is between me, my husband and my uterus, but here are just some of the reasons why brash comments about a couple’s reproduction can be really inappropriate:
1. This is a big one with a trigger warning for infant loss – they have already conceived but have suffered one or more miscarriages. I would encourage everyone to be as open as they feel they can be about these losses but equally, if they don’t want to talk about it then it’s not okay to force their hand or make them lie or brush it off like nothing. If someone has suffered a loss like that the last thing they want to do is smile along and say “oh no babies for us just yet”.
2. They are struggling with fertility and may well be considering other options like IVF, surrogacy or adoption. Unless this person has told you about their struggles and you are just checking in to see how things are going then this is a real stinger.
3. They don’t actually want to have (more) children. Yep – that’s right, humans can actually make the conscious decision not to reproduce and their reasons, if they choose to share them, are perfectly valid and you should respect them. From previous pregnancy/birth trauma to just not wanting to raise a family the phrase “you’ll change your mind” needs binning along with “when are you having a baby then?”
4. They already know they can’t have children for medical reasons. This can be broad, perhaps due to an injury or illness, complications with a previous child or medication that could make pregnancy risky to the mother and/or the child.
5. They’re already trying and if you just hold on a few months they will let you know when they are good and ready. They don’t want to talk to anyone about their sex life. “We’re trying for a baby” = “We’re having regular sex” and that level of sharing is just a little too much for some people.
6. They want to wait until they are in a more stable financial situation or living in a nicer area and they don’t want to talk to you about sex and money and how they don’t like the town you raised your own kids in because that is an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen.
Now, I am actually going to hold my hands up here and say I have asked people about when they’re having babies in the past, and more than once I have been shocked and saddened to hear of their losses and struggles but now the shoe is not the other foot I can only apologise and change my attitude.
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments, I’m sure there are more than six reasons not to ask a person when they are having a baby!
So this week is baby loss awareness week, and here at Mummykind we wanted to make sure we marked this week properly and respectfully. Whether lost during pregnancy, during or after birth, the loss of a baby is one of the worst things anyone can go through with the most painful feelings anyone can experience. It’s a raw, scary and heart breaking time for anyone, yet sadly it’s something that affects thousands of families here in the UK.
I thought I would write this post due to experiencing both an early miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy.When I experienced the early miscarriage I remember feeling scared, worried and broken, I was 4-5 weeks gone and had found out in the same day that I was pregnant but was losing my baby, I felt that a life was being given to me in one hand yet snatched away from me with another.
It’s no secret that I’m part of many endometriosis and PCOS support groups, and a topic that comes up frequently is baby loss and my heart goes out to every woman I see in that group struggle with baby loss. No parent should ever experience baby loss, no parent should ever have to say goodbye to their baby.
I’m never a big fan of soaps when they brush upon baby loss, however both EastEnders and Coronation Street have done heart wrenching tributes. EastEnders and Bernadette’s baby girl and then the unforgettable Coronation Street with Michelle and Steve’s stillborn – made even more moving by the fact both actors have experienced baby loss.
I urge any parent who has experienced baby loss and is feeling scared or alone to know that there are some amazing charities available; Aching Arms, Sands, Life after loss and Heart in their hand (to name a few)
A lot of parents take comfort from marking the loss, some people plant a patch of flowers in the garden, or light a candle. Whatever helps you find comfort with your loss.
Here at Mummykind we want any parent experiencing baby loss to know you’re not alone, it’s not your fault and most importantly any emotions you feel when experiencing this are completely expected, it’s understandable to feel hurt, angry, scared.
We hope you’ll join us in partaking the global wave of light on October the 15th 2017 by lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leave burning for at least an hour in memory of all the babies that have passed away. This year wave of light are also offering a digital wave of light with the hashtag #WaveOfLight – as seen on https://babyloss-awareness.org/get-involved/#wave-light