Therese shares with Sands her experience of miscarriage which occurred a long time ago when there was no support available.
'It didn’t matter that I had two other precious children that I loved with all my heart; I always felt this missing link and sometimes felt so alone.'
In those early days of losing my precious third child through miscarriage, there was always a feeling of something missing at Christmas as I knew that I should have been about to give birth any day after Christmas. There was no support in those days either from family or the Church (I was a Catholic) and by the Health Professionals. No-one could understand this feeling except someone who had gone through it. I also felt very guilty as my miscarriage started the day my older child was performing in her first calisthenics concert as Red Riding Hood. My sister-in-law who had come to watch my daughter, had to take over her care and look after her while my husband rushed me to hospital – I had to have a curette after the loss of my baby and I didn’t even know what that was! I mentioned my miscarriage a short while ago to my same sister-in-law and she had no memory of the day! I thought “wow how could you not” but it just goes to show what is important to one person isn’t to another unless it has an emotional impact to that person.
It didn’t matter that I had two other precious children that I loved with all my heart; I always felt this missing link and sometimes felt so alone. If I hadn’t had my friend Robyn who had been through it (twice!), I am not sure I would have survived. My husband and I had differing ways of handling it and while I thought I understood that he was grieving too, I felt my loss was worse as I had the physical pain of the loss plus the emotional pain as well. Of course, many years later and being a professional working in the field of loss and grief, I now understand that the grief of men and women is both different and, on some levels, the same; we just handle it differently.
Much of my recovery was a feeling I just had to get on with it for the sake of my two children and the husband whom I loved, but guess didn’t understand at that point. The physical recovery took time and the emotional even longer. Grief is not something that just goes away with time as many would like to think; one just learns to deal with it.
How did I get through it one might ask? My dearest friend kept me sane and even back then I think I started to write poetry, a passion that is still with me today. It was probably not until after my next child was born that I realised that my recovery from this miscarriage had not eventuated but rather I had hidden it away. I had a physical breakdown and went into a retreat-like existence with the lovely Grey Sisters in Canterbury, where I joined a group of women who were going through rough times too. I was able to start talking about what had happened in a more forthright way.
By this time, it was the beginning of the end for my marriage, although we struggled for another 10 years plus and moved to the country. Today I may have handled things better as there is more support but one can never say how you could handle something until it actually happens to you. There were other grief situations we were both going through at the time and I feel in hindsight that this added to our burden and we had also lost the art of communication as my husband began to absent himself more and more.
These days I know a lot more about the association of stress to loss. I have even run courses on this subject, so I am aware of my triggers and can manage it better; however, Christmas still brings up a few tears for this loss and others that have occurred since. One does get through it but at the time one can’t see the wood for the trees.
Some words of advice: Don’t isolate yourself as I did. Ask for that all important support from anyone and keep asking until you get it. There is so much support out there and I truly wish that an organisation like SANDS was around when I was going through my loss of my baby.
If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637
Therese has worked in the field of counselling and community development for over 20 years. She has worked predominantly in the health and welfare field. She has worked in the primary school sector counselling children through a range of loss and grief and traumatic experiences.
Therese has also delivered a number of conference papers on the theme of children’s loss and grief and articles on stress management too. She also worked as a Sessional teacher in the TAFE system and the Private Sector in the Community Services area, including Mental Health Welfare for over 20 years. She is also an experienced Supervisor.
Therese has as a small business conducting Reiki, Inner Child Therapy, Meditation and similar therapies. She is also works as a Group Facilitator and teaches stress management and relaxation techniques within the local community as well as running workshops in the areas of trauma and loss and grief and related areas.
Therese is a published poet and has three children and four delightful grandsons. She enjoys nothing more than a good cup of coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bubbly. She is passionate about climate change and the environment, wanting a clean world for her grandchildren to grow up in and one where any type of violence is not tolerated.