The Not so Happy Side of Pregnancy
This year I joined a club. A club no one wants to be a part of, and yet it has a hefty membership. In fact, 1 in 4 women join this club. A terrifying, and yet somewhat comforting fact, knowing you're not alone.
This month is particularly hard for a lot of women. It's a reminder of deep seeded pain that I know we feel every day. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day a day aimed at raising awareness of the prevalence of pregnancy loss and infant death. Every year, around 110,000 Australians have a miscarriage. 2,200 more endure the pain of stillbirth, 600 lose their baby in the first 28 days after birth and many more face the grief of termination for medical reasons. October is a time for Australia to break the silence and acknowledge the heartbreak happening too often right now
In our business we get to celebrate a lot of miracles. Our customers are reaching out at the end of their pregnancy, or a few months into their new role as a parent and we are always so happy to hear from them that bub has arrived earth-side and ready for our packs. But, often behind every congratulations is heart-ache. On the surface we celebrate the impending growing family, and their beautiful growing bellies. But often we give little thought to the difficult journey travelled, or possibly the difficult journey ahead.
I always thought pregnancy, babies and families were so natural. Something that would just happen when the timing was right. How wrong I was. We've been through a lot on the journey to create our family, and travelling the road less travelled again as we try and expand our family.
My little family started back in 2016, when we first started assisted fertility. We tried a number of less invasive procedures until we decided to take the IVF route. IVF or In-Vitro Fertilisation, is where the egg is fertilised with sperm "in vitro" (performed in a culture dish). The process involves extensive monitoring of a person’s (my) cycle, and then at the perfect time, the ovum is removed from the ovaries (retrieval) (and yes, as sore as it sounds) and then transferred back in once fertilised. Its a beautiful process to watch (see above). But also resource, emotionally and physically draining. We were lucky, our little boy was our first fresh transfer back in 2018. But it wasn't so straight forward. We had a tough pregnancy, lots of haemorrhaging, ER visits, bedrest, and then a 6-week early arrival. And yet, I know we are the lucky ones. (Bub is now 2.5years old, and full of cheek and mischief).
So flash forward to 2020, and we decide we are ready to take the plunge again. We have four frozen embryos still, so we figure why not. Surely one of them will stick? In fact we even speak about what we will do with the remaining in the freezer (who incidentally cost me a monthly fee to keep on ice). 10 months on, 3 fails, and one miscarriage, and we are out of luck. The hurt, jealousy and grief are like nothing we've ever felt. The pain hangs around like a dark cloud, conjured up whilst listenting to a sad song, a triggering movie, or a pregnant friend.
We grieved, we mourned and we picked ourselves up. I write this today after undergoing another collection and transfer and sitting here with all my hope and prayers that our little Bean is doing what he/she is meant to do.
But, its not the road less travelled is it?
With such huge numbers of women who struggle to get or stay pregnant, what i've learnt on my journey is that I'm certainly not alone. In fact, every family is going through their own challenge, especially as we try and create our own miracles. Its a miracle that the sperm meets the egg at the opportune time, that the embryo grows, embeds and continues to develop. And then theres the whole miracle of birth. Women are incredible, powerful, warriors.
So, whilst Cloth Tots is always excited to celebrate with our new parents, and support them on their cloth journey, we're also here for the tough times, the dark times, the lonely times. And behind every congratulations, pregnancy announcement, or gorgeous growing belly is heart ache, terror, apprehension and a little bit of miracle.
In honour of our friends and families, this Friday 15 October please join us to light a candle at 7pm to join the wave of light for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Take a photo and upload to social media with #pail and #standingsilent
Love to you all. xx
If you are struggling please reach out to a professional to help. There are a number of resources, including a 24/7 helpline available at SANDS: miscarriage, stillborn and newborn death support.