My name is Natasha. I had my 1st miscarriage in 2014. My husband and I were approaching our 1st wedding anniversary when we found out we were pregnant with twins. We were ecstatic, not even the reality of it being a high risk pregnant could get to us. A few weeks later at our ultrasound to determine the sex of our babies, there was no heartbeat. Our babies had died weeks before and I didn’t know it. I had a missed miscarriage. The next few days were a blur of medical procedures and pain – physical pain that paled in comparison to the emotional pain I was experiencing. Our babies had died and I didn’t even know it. What kind of mother doesn’t know her babies died?
I went into this alternate space where time stood still. I mean everyone else moved on but for me days were counted as days since my miscarriage. Two weeks since my miscarriage, one month since I lost them, zero days since I have forgiven myself. It felt as if my life before that moment existed yes but only through a veil, not quite accessible.
After 2 months we became pregnant again and I tried to stay positive and to forgive myself. It was a whirlwind of emotions but I was sure it would all work sadly this pregnancy was even shorter than the first and I lost this baby before we had our 1st doctor visit. This time around, I was not spared the dramatic blood loss and pain that alerts you to the end of the pregnancy.
For 3 months I walked around feeling less than human. I was sad, and disappointed. I felt stripped of whatever quality made me a woman. My own mother had given birth to 8 children without a single loss so obviously there was something wrong with me. Not trusting my body’s abilities, I began to distrust my abilities in other areas like my job or my post graduate studies. If I couldn’t even do this, why did I think I could do anything else? I was not sure about anything anymore.
I spent those months quite selfishly – feeling sorry for myself and vowing to never get pregnant again. I would never put myself or my husband through another loss. I blamed myself for not being in perfect health – because at that time I thought miscarriage only happened to women who were not perfectly healthy, making it all our fault. In my head the dialogue changed from OUR pregnancies to MY miscarriages and I could feel myself shrinking away even from my husband convinced that no-one else would ever understand how I felt.
So it was quite a shock when I discovered I was pregnant again. And yes, that’s 3 pregnancies in 6 months. For the majority of this pregnancy I laid in bed praying and fighting with my fears. I didn’t take any pictures, I didn’t work and I didn’t enjoy it.
When my daughter was born, it was like I was seeing in color for the first time in over a year. Everything was brand new and I began to see everything as she was seeing it – bright and shiny. She was love and laughter and we were completely grateful for her. Our new life was a whirlwind of learning and teaching and making sure she had every single thing she needed. We were exhausted and invigorated all at once. So when we learnt that I was pregnant with my son, we jumped right back in. Another round of bed rest and battling fears of miscarriage and praying that God would save our baby.
But this time, I found things to be grateful for everyday. I was grateful that I was able to conceive each time without painful or expensive medical intervention that we could not afford and that my daughter would have a sibling to play with and that we had an amazing doctor who was taking such great care of us and that my son was so active in my belly that I never had to worry about whether he was okay in there. I even took a few more pictures this time around.
These days, we are parents to 2 healthy and active preschoolers and our lives are crazy in other ways now. I still have days when I think about the 3 children that I lost because to me, they were not just fetuses but children that I loved dearly who never made it into my arms. But even on those days, I find reasons to smile. I think about how perfect those babies were and how they never would hide my shoes or throw tantrums or get into my make-up kit and use up all my expensive lipstick. And then I think about how much my love for my unborn children helped me to love the ones I did have.
Still these were a lot of emotions to carry around and I had approached my experience as a loss mama pretty selfishly in the past. So I have been trying to look outwardly more. There are so many people who have had similar experiences and we are all at different points in our journey. Maybe by reaching out and talking about my experiences, by sharing all the things I have done really, really badly I can help someone else feel less alone. Because that’s exactly what miscarriage and loss makes you feel. Empty and alone. And one of the greatest blessings I have received from sharing my story, is that I have met so many other women who are sharing their story. Women whose strength and resilience and capacity to love amazes me daily. And so that is my ultimate goal to say to a loss mama that you are not alone in this fight and if you need to we can talk about it.
I would love to think that being a loss mama turned rainbow mama makes me the perfect mother but no. I am not perfect at all, I make mistakes and I do feel overwhelmed at times but each time I pick myself up and keep going. Because in my house we have seen life end, and we are committed to living and loving each other as best as we could for as long as we possibly can. And in doing so we honor our children whose lives and legacies live on in our hearts.
Natasha Carlow is an Itinerant Counsellor who resides in Trinidad and Tobago with her husband and two rainbow babies. She is the author of Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies. You can read more at her blog or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.