Miscarriage – A Personal Perspective.
I sat this morning in a dentists waiting room, ignoring the leaflets on dental erosion and bad breath and, instead, opted to gaze at the screen in the corner on which Justin Beiber passionately perspired and gyrated to his popular latin beat ‘Despacito’.
Now, I’m not a Beiber fan, but some songs just have the ability to take you back to a time and a place in an instant. As my body was sat in a duffle coat in a dated dentist waiting room on a cold December morning, my heart and mind whisked themselves off to a hot summer evening, the Dominican Republic, dancing joyfully with my husband on our honeymoon...
... I am abruptly interrupted...
‘Sorry, Mrs Olayinka, your exemption certificate... the computer keeps asking me when you had your baby?’
Catapulted back to the now, her query hit me with a deep discomfort which rose from my chest and left me without breath...
‘It was a miscarriage....’ I half whispered,
‘Oh.. oh, I’m so sorry’, she shuffled some papers in front of her and I hoped that she wasn’t feeling too much cringing devastation at having asked the question so publicly.
I hadn’t meant to say it out loud...
I inwardly scolded myself for not being more discreet, but this uncomfortable truth had just fallen out of my mouth in public, and everyone else shrank a little into their seats and further into their smart phones and lifestyle magazines.
Justin was no longer gyrating on the screen in the corner and, even if he still had been, my thoughts had already disappeared to a new place now.
New thoughts I hadn’t really thought before... how old would my baby be now? In what ways would our lives be changed? I imagined a boy, for a split second I think I might have even smelt his sweet milky smell and felt his warmth as I nursed.
All these imaginings. One split second.
Now, I am fortunate. I am surrounded by professionals who work in the same field as me. The support I received at the time from other therapists and being unwaveringly propped up by my amazing friends (you all know who you are) got me through. My tribe helped me to heal, to feel whole again and to move myself forward into a place of acceptance and peace.
I was fortunate to have this support - many women don’t.
A miscarriage can be over quickly.
I’ll rephrase that...
The physical aspect of a miscarriage can be over quickly. And even during this intense period of loss, grief or whatever the woman is feeling, many people don’t know how to be or what to say.
There’s often an awkwardness involved...
...and the person she would often turn to to talk things through, her partner, well, they are grieving too. It can feel like a big empty space. An awkward silence It can be an isolating, empty and grief stricken place to be. I survived that place, yet here I am a year later, sat in a dentist waiting room and imagining a 3 month old baby boy who is not in my arms.
When I returned to the waiting room after seeing the dentist with the new news that I needed root canal in one of my back teeth, I’d forgotten about the whole incident. The receptionist hadn’t though...
‘I’m really sorry about earlier’ she said
‘It’s okay... I’m okay with it now’ I replied.
And I am.
What had surprised me though, was that it had taken ME by surprise. I had healed, I had grown and I had moved on into a place of peace and acceptance. But what I hadn’t done was to forget.
Another being had inhabited my body, my heart, my soul and my dreams for a very short amount of time. It was real, it was special and it was a part of our journey. I hadn’t forgotten – and that’s okay with me.