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LAUREN: MY JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

TRIGGER WARNING - Please be aware that the following essay details Lauren's experience of miscarriage and pregnancy. This is not intended to detail the right or wrong way to cope. Lauren is simply sharing her experience to generate conversations and normalise the experience.



15th of March, my birthday, I found out I was pregnant. Pregnant for the second time. Pregnant for the first time intentionally.


In 2014 at 19 years old I came up against what was at the time a major dilemma. Unintentional pregnancy. It wasn’t my age that was the concern and yes, before you think it, I should have been more careful. And yes, I’d be lying if I said I took my contraceptive pill religiously.


But there it was, a big fat positive pregnancy test, I was in my second year of university, studying to be a nurse and in a new-ish relationship. There’s no way I’d make a good mum, I thought.

I’d always been pro life until I was forced to make the decision myself, terminate my pregnancy and continue with achieving my career goals or bring a child into this world when I wasn’t ready and couldn’t provide the best life for he or she.

I had an abortion. You’ll understand why this is relevant later on…


On the 15th of March, my birthday, I found out I was pregnant. Pregnant for the second time. Pregnant for the first time intentionally.“2-3 weeks” the pregnancy test said. Wow. 2-3 weeks! I was in awe of the miracle inside of me. I was overwhelmingly happy, we both were. I’m going to be a mum. Me. A mum.

But people don’t talk about it do they, they don’t speak it, about how common it is. That it might happen to me, to you.

It did happen, I knew something was wrong when I didn’t feel “that” pregnant.

I fabricated and exaggerated my symptoms to defend my mind to give me peace and hope, but I knew deep down.

I started bleeding at work. Panic flooded my body, i was 10 weeks pregnant, why am I bleeding?

I remember frantically researching stories with positive ending on the internet, googling pictures of people having bled, what it looked like and comparing it to my own, but only if the story had a positive ending.

I remember repetitively going to the toilet and checking my knickers, praying I’d just accidentally cut myself and it wasn’t what I thought it was.

I remember trying to calm myself down, laying on the floor of my bosses office, hyperventilating, distracting myself listening to “calm” stories, surrounded by the knowledge that I might be having a miscarriage. I rang the midwife who gave me false hope, I’ve got no pain I remember saying, the bleeding isn’t heavy… the fact that I had no pain was my only consolation.

I had no pain.

No pain.

Until the next day.


I remember attending A&E that evening, i couldn’t speak to the receptionist, i begged them to do something for me, give me an injection. Stop the bleeding. Save my unborn child.

The bleeding didn’t stop.

The following day I went to the early pregnancy unit, i arrived on my own. Due to covid restrictions my partner couldn’t come in, so he waited in the car.

I remember sitting in the waiting room in agony, which is where I began actively miscarrying - cramping and bleeding heavily. But I clung onto hope, thinking “well they haven’t scanned me yet - it could be fine”.

But it wasn’t fine.

Why I persisted and allowed myself the pain of being scanned and seeing an empty screen, I’ll never know.


This is where I started to blame myself.

Is it because I’m overweight?

Is it because I drank alcohol?

The most hurtful thought that plagued me, was “is it because I had an abortion?”

I felt like I deserved this infliction of pain for what I had done. Karma.

The anxiety about ever being able to carry children, ever being able to give my partner a child, miscarrying again, became all consuming.

From this point I threw myself into researching how to get pregnant and not have a miscarriage. I blamed myself.


Actually, 1 in 5 pregnancies end in loss. People can suffer reoccurring loss and go on to have a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy loss is common, we just don’t get taught this.

Pregnancy loss is common, people just don’t talk about it.

Pregnancy loss is common and it’s not your fault.


Before falling pregnant I remember agonising over my ovulation date, logging every symptom, every month, praying that Mother Nature wouldn’t arrive and crush my dreams of being a mother.

It did, over and over and over again, every time my period came, I cried.


My obsession with conceiving put a strain on my relationship and although I told everyone I wasn’t really “trying” i knew deep down that I was more than trying, i was obsessing.

I contemplated what was wrong with me while doing bicycle legs with my feet against the wall or laying for 20 minutes with my bum in the air because of something I read on mumsnet the night before…


Each month i was confronted by a negative pregnancy test, I mourned what never was.

Is it because I’m over weight?

Is it because I had an abortion?

What’s wrong with me?


They say when you stop trying, it happens and although I never really stopped trying due to the imprinted version of my menstrual cycle in my brain being ever present… on the 10th of September 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, I found out I was pregnant, for the third time.


One abortion, one miscarriage and now pregnant, again.


I took the test one morning before work, all the YouTube videos say you’ll know when you’re pregnant, i watched countless videos and logged every detail, down to each droplet of sweat my body produced.

That morning I knew, the test came back positive and I ran downstairs to my partner and I cried.

I didn’t cry with happiness like they say you do, I cried with fear and helplessness, what happens now?


At 5 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding.

The excitement drained from my body and panic became my norm, obsessively checking my underwear for any hint of blood. If I didn’t find blood in my underwear, I’d take it one step further.

I contacted the early pregnancy assessment unit, I’d read that they don’t do anything unless you’ve had at least 3 miscarriages, so in my desperate state, I lied.

In my desperate state I fabricated the loss of another child and I justified it through my sense of helplessness.


They invited me in, believing I may be miscarrying again, i laid on the bed trembling while a man inserted a transvaginal camera inside.

I remember clearly what he said next “You’ll have to wait, you’re too early on to tell”.

Two weeks i waited.

And for two weeks I bled.

For two weeks I told myself I was no longer pregnant.

For two weeks I didn’t allow myself to hope, I allowed myself only despair, because if they told me I was having another miscarriage, well it wouldn’t be news to me, because I’ve already convinced myself that it’s happening. A Defense mechanism.

Is it because I’m overweight?

Is it because I had an abortion?

What’s wrong with me?


Two weeks later I was back on that same bed, with that same man. Filled with anxiety and apprehension, am I pregnant still?


Yes, yes you are.


I wish at that point I felt immediate relief, but I didn’t.

Instead of persecuting myself with thoughts of… what’s wrong with me, i changed to, am I even capable of growing this child?


The sequence of irrational things I did throughout my pregnancy, based on my previous loss / anxiety about bleeding during the first weeks was endless but, in hindsight, I had to find a way to function with my anxiety about losing another baby.


I booked a private scan, 2 weeks after being in the early pregnancy unit, 9 weeks pregnant - everything was fine but I still wasn’t convinced.

I booked another scan at 11 weeks, the woman looked at me like I was crazy having been there only two weeks prior. I babbled my way through some made up excuse about the hospital not booking my first scan until 14 weeks and me being desperate to tell my family - I know she saw right through me.

And I didn’t want to tell a soul, not when I’d convinced myself I was incapable of growing this child anyway…


I logged every symptom, googled what other peoples symptoms were like and anguished when mine didn’t match there’s, as if every pregnancy is the same, as if every female body works in the same way.

When my uterus grew to the point I could feel the top of it, I remember obsessively checking it was still there as if it might disappear, I’d check 4-5 times a day.

Sometimes when I was at work, I’d go into the bathroom, lay on the floor and feel for my baby - it was there every time, but my anxiety told me otherwise.


When I started to feel my baby move, I developed some peace of mind. For a time being, but then I transferred my anxiety about bleeding to an obsession with babies movement, persistently tracking it, counting the kicks.

I remember being told that my baby should move the same amount, at the same time, each day and if they didn’t, my mind went into overdrive. Irrational worst case scenario thoughts which tormented my mind until I felt the next flutter.

You’d think that the bigger I got and the stronger the movements felt, I’d feel more reassured, but it’s weird how our brains can work.


I once stood on a nail in the garden and that was it. My brain told me I’d killed my baby, i frantically googled the likelihood that my unborn child would survive this rare disease I’d transferred through the placenta - the outlook wasn’t promising. Any symptom I gained would send me into turmoil and it didn’t stop there…


32 weeks pregnant, I’m satisfied that my baby is ok, I’m doing this, really doing this, I’m growing a child.


But what if it’s stillborn?

What are the stillborn statistics?

I know someone this happened to, I’m next aren’t I?

I read multiple papers on the ins and outs, preparing myself for what I believed was the inevitable end of my pregnancy.


It wasn’t.


In the end I gave birth to a healthy 10lb 4oz baby boy, a straight forward, no complications birth. Although my experience in the hospital / post birth experience tarnished the first few days of my boys life. I did it, I grew and birthed a child.

Time to transfer my anxieties into motherhood.


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3 Comments


mh-j99
mh-j99
Jan 12, 2022

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reactions to Lauren’s experience. Its an incredibly powerful piece

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hayley.knickenberg
Jan 10, 2022

Such an honest essay and very brave to put pen to paper. I’m sure many women have been through similar situations and feel those emotions x

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sascha28
Jan 10, 2022

This is so powerful! Thankyou for sharing xx

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