As I was told in hospital you may not make it, I had only you to clutch onto

To some you were only ever a collection of “abnormal chromosomes”, but to me, you were my baby.

You had a father and a brother, and I was your mother. I am your mother.

The instant I saw the second pink line crawl up the white plastic window of the pregnancy test, my heart surged, then swelled to fit a space especially for you.

I may never meet you, hold you or learn who you are, but you are loved.Credit:iStock

I pictured your entire life. I felt your pillowy rose cheeks gently indent as I stroked your face. I dreamt up your room, and I saw you in it giggling as I brushed your hair. You had a future. You were my future, full of hope and possibility.

As I lay at night clutching my belly, with you hidden snug inside, and my other arm wrapped around your big brother, I imagined how I would look back and treasure this moment when you were both much older, no doubt getting up to mischief, and I’d remember how lucky I was to hold you safe and close.

You brought us so much joy in your few short months. Long weeks stuck inside during an unrelenting pandemic became bearable with you around. All our plans revolved around you.

Until I felt your life slowly extinguish from within me.

Like many of the about 110,000 Australians who will lose their own angel baby this year, I had only you to clutch onto in the hospital when I was told matter-of-factly you may not make it.

The phone I held poised to record the scan for your father, waiting anxiously at home due to lockdown restrictions, was instead used to call him: “please come quick.”

I always thought it happened fast. A heavy bleed and it’s over. I lost you over one long torturous week. Fear and confusion made way for hope that was replaced with resignation, over and over and over again.

Like Tori Amos, I was convinced I could hold back a glacier.

I admitted you were gone when the waves of excruciation began. It felt like birth but it was death. It looked like murder. I howled.

People tell me that it’s common, it wasn’t meant to be and that I can try for another. I try to be rational, too. I have hoped this would make it easier and some days it does.

But my heart, left with a hole the shape of you, doesn’t comprehend the term “unviable fetus”.

My love didn’t disappear with you into another dimension. It’s still here, earth-side, yearning to be requited. Gnawing and clawing inside me. Searching and searching.

I haven’t been able to shake the feeling of being utterly alone. And then I realised, I feel alone because I no longer have you with me.

Miscarriage is spoken in whispers, often tinged with shame, compounding the loneliness. It’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Friday, which aims to end the silence and give gravitas to the grief.

I am learning that denying mine won’t make it go away. That well-meaning platitudes may be true in a world that seeks an answer to everything, but they don’t explain the visceral feeling of loss.

So, instead, I honour that place in my heart carved especially for you. I cherish and nurture it. I may never meet you, hold you or learn who you are, but you are loved, my darling, and always will be.

Support is available from Red Nose on 1300 308 307.

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