Introducing guest blogger, Bridget Osho, a holistic fertility therapist and the founder of Cherie Mamma. This is her story.
Several years ago, I met my husband and got pregnant. Everything seemed ok, I tried to do the right things and the pregnancy progressed well. I didn’t know much about pregnancy then but I had heard that you needed to be careful in the first three months because during that time you faced a higher risk of pregnancy loss (I don’t remember where I read that).
Anyway, the first 3 months of my pregnancy were fairly uneventful, so you can imagine my absolute shock when early one morning about 27 weeks into my pregnancy, I woke up to a deafening silence. It took me a few seconds to understand why everything ‘felt’ quiet and it occurred to me that my son wasn’t moving like he normally did. It was very strange, we woke up together every morning and in fact he woke me up sometimes. I just ‘knew’ something was wrong and starting prodding him by tickling my stomach hoping that he’d respond like he usually did.
I rushed to the hospital already in tears and scans confirmed what I already knew – that my son was no longer alive. I was in total shock and it took me a while to actually believe he was really gone. The next 6 months or so were the most difficult period of my life. I was depressed, I avoided almost everyone. At some point, I was even too scared to go out, I am not sure why. I blamed myself, blamed my husband, blamed my family, blamed God. Apart from the deep sense of loss I felt, I also felt sorry for my son. Why did he have to suffer? He was innocent, if I had done anything wrong, why was it taken out on him? There were so many unanswered questions.
My GP referred me to a counsellor but that didn’t go well. The counsellor told me that because she didn’t bond with her children during pregnancy, she didn’t really understand why I felt so sad about losing my pregnancy. Needless to say, I never went back.
After about 6 months, the fog just lifted. I remembered picking the phone to call my mum – I hadn’t done that for months. She did call me, or my husband but I always avoided any conversation. My mum was so happy that day, I remember my sister calling me later on to say my mum was so happy, she danced around the house. I am incredibly lucky that it took me only about 6 months to come to terms with my loss, for many women it takes much longer.
I haven’t forgotten my son, I never will but I have moved on. It has really helped that I now have two beautiful kids, and it has also helped that I have been able to turn that incident into a difficult learning experience. These are the lessons that I learnt:
- I have a deep passion for everything pregnancy. Remember when I said I didn’t know much about pregnancy? I now know quite a lot! I have since qualified as a holistic fertility therapist and I am currently studying for a PhD to better understand stillbirths from the women’s point of view. I did this to help me have successful pregnancies and to help as women as I could.
- Miscarriages and stillbirths are not the fault of the woman. Most women would do everything possible to care for their babies. Following general guidelines as much as possible can help but in most cases, there is nothing a woman can do to prevent pregnancy loss.
- It is ok to ask for support and it is ok to talk about your pregnancy loss. I think it is time to end the social taboo on talking about pregnancy loss. It makes it difficult for families to move on and pregnancy loss is a fact of life. This is why I love what Rachel is doing with her blog.
- Your feelings and opinions are valid: Too often, women’s suspicions about their bodies and their pregnancies are dismissed as lacking ‘scientific’ objectivity. However, we do ‘know’ our bodies, after all we’ve had them all our lives! While we might not be trained health professionals, we are experts in our own bodies. If you suspect anything wrong with your pregnancy, insist on being taken seriously. You might be saving your baby’s life.
- Conventional medicine is not perfect. It cannot resolve every fertility problem. For many people, adopting a natural approach such as nutritional therapy, stress management techniques, the use of alternative practices etc. can help them to achieve the balance they need to conceive their babies. Sometimes we need to think outside the box and be original; gentle natural strategies have worked for many people even when fertility treatments haven’t.
That was my stillbirth experience and those are my lessons. Have you suffered a pregnancy loss or struggled with infertility? What are your own thoughts on your experience?
*A stillbirth is pregnancy loss after 6 months; a miscarriage is pregnancy loss before 6 months.
Cherie Mamma – the platform through which she teaches natural fertility strategies to women who want to become mums after unsuccessful fertility treatments. You can find out more about her and her work at www.cheriemamma.org.
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