After miscarrying at 15 weeks, Emma-Kate didn’t think her loss was something she was ‘supposed’ to talk about.
When she first found out, she was in shock. “I started howling. Like an injured wolf. I couldn’t explain the hurt of seeing my little one lifeless.” But after the initial news was broken, she felt like it was something she was meant to now let go. She was meant to simply ‘cope’.
“It felt like being stripped of a school badge”
Simple questions became tricky: “What do I do with all the photos of all the landmarks, do they get put in a box like an awkward memory?” “Am I allowed to have his scans or is it now creepy?”
Despite having already found out the sex, decided on a name, passed the tests, chosen her baby’s godparents, turned down work opportunities, moved to a new house with more space – her baby was taken from her, along with the sense she was ‘actually’ a mother.
She explained the feeling by saying: “It felt to me, like being stripped of a school badge and forced out of a group you so desperately wanted to be in.”
Her relationship suffered
Both her and her partner needed to grieve in different ways, and it was a long time after ‘that’ day that she finally read a pamphlet explaining these different forms of grief were normal.
She told Kidspot, “Women deal with (miscarriage) by wanting to talk about what they can’t accept, often driven by hormones and the huge physical shift that the body goes through … Men cope with it by not wanting to ever talk about it again.”
That was certainly her experience. She and her partner eventually separated. “It was all too much to work through and the relationship sadly fell apart.”
She soon realised some important truths
It wasn’t until she started looking for guidance, talking to other mothers, and connecting with people online that she realised an important truth about miscarriages – and an important thing about motherhood: Once you fall pregnant, nobody can take that baby away from you. Not even death.
“I came upon post after post from thousands of women, all in many stages of loss writing across forums and articles, and I realised how ridiculous it is I would actually judge myself for wanting to honour the child I was carrying.”
She realised, “The fact I carried a child is more than some could ever hope for. And I want to honour that. Instead of staying silent I would rather celebrate the significant opportunity (I had).”
“Today was my due date …”
On the day she was meant to write a post announcing the birth of her son Stirling, Emma-Kate instead took to Facebook to write about her miscarriage.
What she has to say is a pivotal point in her personal journey. Her grief has (slowly) subsided, and she’s learnt a number of important lessons:
A ‘forever and always’ mother
For Emma-Kate, she may never measure her motherhood in weeks and months. Instead she likes to say “I am Forever and Always weeks – in memory of the greatest lessons I have ever been given. My unborn children.”
While it took a lot for her to share her experience of miscarriage and motherhood, her ‘misplaced memories’ and her heartache, she’s found a safe space through speaking out. There are so many people dealing with this sort of loss and, for her, the positive response and kind words she’s received has been “mind blowing”.
“This isn’t about my loss, it’s about all of us. Being allowed to see how amazing we are and how much more respect we deserve to be given to the journey of motherhood, at any stage.”
Emma-Kate wanted Stirling. He was her baby. He always will be. Same goes for all other parents who have lost a little one.