Growing up I had always been career focused. I was never sure if I wanted children, and would occasionally question if I would ever be fit enough to be a mother. I knew that I had it in me, however, growing up in a dysfunctional home always made me question those maternal instincts. I never had anybody to show me what it meant to be a mother, and the closest person to a mother to me, well she struggled to raise me herself. I knew deep down inside if I searched hard enough I would eventually want kids, but the thought of being a mother was not something I was inherently interested in. I always told myself when the time comes, and I am married, as well as financially stable, then, my husband and I will discuss the possibilities of expanding our family. So what does one do, on a late September afternoon, when a trip to the toilet turns out to be a bloody mess?
Stuck at Euston station crying your eyes out because your period was not supposed to come for another two weeks. Yet, here you are stuck in the toilets at a train station crying on the phone to a friend, who is trying to understand the pain you are experiencing because this pain is unlike any period pain you have ever experienced.
The pain of losing a child is a pain I never thought I would ever have to experience. The pain of losing a child you did not even know you had is worse. I didn’t know for sure I wanted children until I had lost one. It took a long time to accept what had happened to me, and I’m not quite sure I fully have. The pain I suffer every time I think about that evening is unimaginable.
Finding out I had miscarried took me into this deep dark hole that I’m still trying to climb out of to this day. I was severely depressed and suicidal, and no matter how hard I tried to talk about it with my friends, I still felt alone. Nobody quite understood what I was experiencing. I felt hopeless, worthless even. How could I, so young and youthful not even carry a healthy child? What is wrong with my womb I kept thinking? I questioned my worth as a woman. I questioned if I would ever be able to have kids in the future. Would I have to experience this pain over and over again until I was finally successful to conceive? I blamed myself for not knowing I was even pregnant in the first place. I mean I couldn’t have known, I was on birth control, yet I continued to blame myself because as far as I was concerned, it was my fault. I would blame myself for not knowing, because had I known, I could have done something differently, and my baby would have had a chance at life.
My friends, knowing how career focused I am kept telling me how lucky I was to have dodged that bullet, yet if I could have my baby back, I would swap it all to be given the chance to be a mother. I fell in love with a perfect stranger; a part of me that was taken too soon. It has been hard explaining that I lost a piece of me when I miscarried. There is this hole in my heart that I’m not sure will ever truly heal. For the last 9 months, I have walked around empty, unable to grieve because I‘m still not sure how to. In the beginning, I doused myself in alcohol to mask the pain because I was too ashamed to talk about it. For such a long time, I felt like a failure. I felt empty, and I sometimes I still do.
I am in a much better place now. The pain is still there, but I’ve been working on my recovery. I’ve been working on shaping my identity as a woman, questioning all that was taught to me about motherhood. Through that very short period of pregnancy I have learnt that once you have carried a baby you are also a mother. I don’t care what stage of the foetus science defines motherhood, I feel like a mother, and felt like a mother the moment I realised that I had been pregnant. Given the opportunity to carry my baby, I know I would have been a great mother, because the love I have for my unborn child is a love like no other.
Written by Diamond Kelekelo