I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would go and see a counsellor. After our fifth loss, we had to deal with not only another miscarriage, but also the reality that this might never work – that we might never have our own baby. Obviously this is bloody difficult to deal with, and I found myself not only hurt and sad that we lost another baby, but also very angry at the world for the unfairness of it all. I made the decision that I didn’t want to become angry and bitter at the world, because apart from the baby situation we have a really lovely life, so I wanted to be able to see the good stuff again and I thought that seeing a counsellor would help me to make sense of my feelings and move forward in a positive way.
I made an appointment to see a local counsellor and saw her for the first time last week. She’s a very warm, friendly lady from New Zealand and she has a lovely manner. She asked me why I was seeing her, and I told her our journey and that I wanted to feel positive again after all of this, and she was genuinely shocked at how much has happened to us – not just that we’ve had 5 miscarriages, but that my mother in law died so suddenly, that I was made redundant, that we moved to a new area – so much has happened in the three years since we’ve been married, it’s just been one big roller coaster of massive, crappy events. I was a bit taken aback by this for some reason – I obviously knew everything that had happened to us, but saying it out loud to a stranger it was clear that it really has been a bloody tough few years.
As we were speaking, I was my usual composed, matter-of-fact self, but I could feel that there were tears just behind my eyes, ready to go. I didn’t try and hold them back, but they just didn’t feel ready to go for some reason. It was only the first session, so it was more about me explaining everything, then I agreed to see her for a minimum of four sessions, as she says that this is a good amount of time to make some progress.
I saw her again yesterday and she asked me how I was feeling. I made the comment that I could feel that there were tears just behind my eyes again, but that they weren’t ready to come yet. She’d made the comment at some time before that I was quite detached from everything that had happened – that this was my coping mechanism and my way of carrying on. She didn’t say that this was right or wrong, just that it was what I needed to do to cope with everything.
She then said that she’d put together a little exercise for me and showed me a family tree that she’d pulled together from what i’d told her about mine and my husband’s family. Obviously in real life this had our names on, but I’ve replaced these with random ones for now – with my husband as Jack and me as Jill. She talked through it with me and made sure that she had all of the names correct, number of brothers and sisters etc, and that was all fine. This is roughly what it looked like…..
After i’d looked at it for a minute, she moved her hand, and I realised that she’d been covering up something at the bottom of the chart. This is what I saw…
Oh. My. Word.
I saw those five little lines and absolutely broke down. It doesn’t have as much impact reading it on here, but seeing our names and our five little babies that could’ve been just absolutely shattered me. It just made it so real, seeing them there as part of our family. Our children that could have been, but didn’t make it. I had real feelings of loss, of sadness and of guilt – that I hadn’t been able to hold on to our babies and that now they were gone.
Once i’d composed myself a bit, the counsellor said that she’d done that to make me realise that they were real, they were babies, they were lives, even though they didn’t make it. She understood how i’d detached myself from them – talking about them as miscarriages, medical procedures, bumps in the road – but that in order to heal, I needed to acknowledge that they were real children – our children – and that they mattered. I’m quite a visual person, so seeing them right there, in black and white, as part of our family, was unbelievably powerful.
We talked some more after this and I really felt better afterwards. Just by having this realisation, shedding some tears and talking it through it somehow really made me feel better. This is the great thing about counselling – just by saying something out loud and realising it, you feel strangely better. Nothing changes, your situation is still the same, but you just feel differently once you’ve acknowledged it. It’s incredible.
I’m seeing the counsellor again in a couple of weeks, as she is away on holiday for the next fortnight, and I’m really looking forward to what else we might discuss. It’s quite a challenging and emotional process, but its really opening my eyes to new feelings and thoughts. I know that ultimately it won’t do much in terms of my fertility, but anything that helps my mind and soul to cope and heal is a good thing in my book!
We’re off on holiday on Sunday – wahooooo!! We’re at a wedding on Saturday first, so it will be a lovely weekend of catching up with friends and then off to enjoy the sunshine! I’m starting my hydroxychloroquine the day we get back – fingers crossed it goes well and no side effects! But until then – pass me the proseccooooooooo!!!!