Breaking through the clutter by Kerri Louise It’s been a busy month (other than getting hitched!), after 11 weeks of being pregnant we were told we’d had a missed-miscarriage. The same day I was booked in for a ‘sweep out’ op and my life turned upside down. We are a long way from home, (Brits living in Sydney), and holy cow was I unprepared for this new phase of life. Just before my operation performed by the incredible Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, the nurse held my hand. She told me she was so sorry for my loss. She said it wasn’t my fault. She told me 25% of women in Australia experience a miscarriage for their first pregnancy. I wept for them all. Keeping it quiet In those first 12 weeks, women go through so much emotional, physical and relationship change. We become 50% of our normal efficient and healthy selves. We hide our sudden peculiarities and slowly the days pass by as we hope everything's ok. For some people this must make complete sense, however as a ‘heart on her sleeve’ kind of girl, I found keeping it quiet impossible. Friends had been wondering why we hadn’t been at our usual watering holes, why I’d strangely given away my Prodigy tickets (RIP), and why I didn’t fancy lunch. While those people I had told (family, a few colleagues and friends), had been sturdy fence posts holding us up as we clambered through this strange time. After our loss, we told most of our friends anyway. They plastered us in love, kindness and hugs: “we are so glad you told us” they chimed. Perhaps we should have told them earlier. Life’s weird coincidences It’s now three weeks since that earth shattering no heartbeat moment. I walked out of that scan completely knocked off my feet, but after some deep inhales/exhales and slowly walking my way home, I started to feel different. I got home and my body said “hey girl, so this is happening, we are going to let go now, you are going to start bleeding, your bloating bump that wasn’t really a bump is now going to dissolve, and why don’t you pop out and make all this a bit better with a soy flat white?” From there I had the op, and then like out of a movie, we fast forward to no more pregnancy and my husband is wearily driving me home. I’m grateful it’s grey and raining outside, and tears are silently rolling down my cheeks. We both feel exhausted and empty. I was extremely lucky to have a surprise visit from my sister and brother-in-law on the day of my operation. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES. It was magic medicine on our road to recovery. I’m so grateful when life throws you a weird coincidence. The onward journey I’m surprised and confused by my rational processing of grief, and my body’s ability to heal. After my sister left we were back to reality and waves of sadness hit us. I tried to tip all of my grief out onto the kitchen table, organise the mental clutter, and address one thing at a time. I’m still (mostly) gracefully letting my emotion release, whether it be by crying onto my yoga matt at the end of class, shedding tears listening to my favourite playlist, or wetting my husbands shoulder at the drop of a hat. He seems to tear up too. We are both so grateful for everything we have, but recognise and appreciate the sadness of what we have lost. Bumps on the road My two best friends were both pregnant during my 11 weeks. One has since borne a beautiful baby boy, the other is thankfully on a positive journey and will always be four weeks ahead of where I once was. This is tough. But I will always be grateful that we have shared so closely in each others pregnancies and that has bought us closer together than ever. Even if now I have to take a step back to breathe. For so many of us who go through a miscarriage, this is one of the hardest things to handle. Pregnant ladies seem to suddenly be everywhere you turn. But we know better than anyone, that their journey may not have been easy. From here my journey continues too, as does yours and so many others. Let’s remember we are not alone and it’s okay to feel sad. Try giving your clutter a good shake out on the kitchen table, appreciate the contents but tidy it away. You’ll find more space to breathe.