This Baby Loss Awareness Week comes at a particularly poignant time for me as it marks 10 years since my own ectopic pregnancy. So I thought now was a good time to write about how my feelings have changed over the decade.
In the immediate aftermath of my diagnosis and double surgeries, I was all consumed with a wide range of emotions ranging from grief and anger to jealousy and guilt. There were times where I couldn’t see a way out of feeling like that, and while time never takes away those feelings in their entirety, I have learnt to see past them and find a way to move forwards.
Many people assume that as soon as you’re pregnant again, that’s it, you’re miraculously healed and the trauma just disappears! And whilst having my two beautiful children has filled that gaping hole in my heart, I felt robbed of that pregnancy excitement. Instead of feeling elated at seeing those two lines again, I felt intense anxiety and fear. I couldn’t cope with going through that trauma of an ectopic pregnancy again. Even after we were reassured that each pregnancy was in the right place, I just couldn’t shake that feeling of something going wrong again. The innocence of pregnancy excitement had been stolen.
But we got there! I had two perfect children in my arms. And while this helped the grief to soften and the trauma to fade, I think there’ll always be a little piece missing. The “what ifs” have never entirely gone, and I suspect they never will. However, I think it’s that that keeps me going for every other woman/family out there who goes through any form of pregnancy loss and especially ectopic pregnancy. It took me seven years to pluck up the courage to openly discuss my loss, but since then so many others have opened up to me. People who had been suffering in silence, feeling like we’re not supposed to grieve early pregnancy losses. And then there were the people who had no idea what an ectopic pregnancy even was, let alone that women still die from them in this country.
My work with The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust in recent years has gone a long way in helping me find the positives from one of the darkest times in my life. Being part of a team that not only strives to provide essential emotional support to people when it is most needed, but knowing that they do all they can to increase awareness of ectopic pregnancies and to strive for early diagnoses for better outcomes and to save lives is extremely empowering.
It may well be a decade on, but my ectopic pregnancy will always be a part of me…only now I can allow it to be a force for good.