by Goitsemang Toni Mogopodi
Time stands still for a millisecond, I hear the nurse’s voices in the background and as I am wheeled to the theatre, I try to push back the stinging tears from my eyes. They say some experiences you go through can either make or break you, I chose the latter. My doctor was right, it was not my first miscarriage but my third and before surgery, my world was falling apart. When I came out of surgery, I decided to laugh everything off and act like nothing was wrong as I could see how everyone around me was so awkward and out of words. What I detested the most was the pity in people’s eyes, “shame, it’s sad it had to happen to her AGAIN” or ”its a pity this is happening but at least she has a few more years to keep trying”.
The days following my surgery, I wanted to forget, I wanted to be someone else (at least pretend to be someone else). I pushed the pain away and tried to immerse myself in anything that would make me forget. I refused to go to counselling and believed I can do this myself; it is just a matter of will. Everything was fine, or so I thought until I noticed that whenever I was alone, I’d break out into that ugly cry and sob my heart out, I would wake up depressed and sleep depressed. This continued for some time up until I realised I was not happy and I was tired of always crying. I reached out to a therapist and that has done me a world of good! Opening up to a stranger was uncomfortable at first, but I have learnt to just trust the process.
There is a stigma towards women who had miscarriage(s), suddenly people were avoiding me like I had leprosy. Apparently, women who have experienced miscarriage (s) have bad energy due to the death of a child, so you need to be cleansed, which explained why people avoided me. Then there are people who will keep asking “when are you having children? You are not getting younger” or “Hai, can’t you fall pregnant? Do you need help? I know a good sangoma who can assist you”.
These intrusive questions and more, are insensitive as you do not know what a person is going through and comments like these can break a person. I have since learnt that opening up and talking about your experience helps, offloading all these emotions and feelings eases the pain. I know at first you don’t want to talk to anyone about it out of fear or judgment, but the more you open up, the easier it gets. There is no right or wrong way of dealing with the loss of a child, but having a strong support system aids a lot.
At this moment I am dealing with all the emotions that came with the pregnancies and the loss, I make a conscious effort to enjoy life and to be present each and every day. Being grateful for everything on a daily basis has also brought me light and joy. I have since ceased from pressuring myself to fall pregnant and have a baby to leaving everything into fate-what is meant to be will be.
To everyone going through this difficult time or anyone that has gone through this, remain strong and know that you are not the only one going through this and that there is love and light at the end of the tunnel.