Satyam bravely shares her experience of miscarriage.
Satyam Veronica Chalmers
It was a regular Tuesday afternoon. I was relaxed and easily getting through my work. I had even decided to put into the calendar the remaining weeks of my pregnancy, deciding that this child was definitely going to make it to full term. Then I discovered some spotting and suddenly everything changed.
We went straight to the hospital and they ushered us in quickly. As I sat in the emergency ward, watching people being rushed past in various states of pain, I could feel some panic setting in, so I closed my eyes to go within. I sat there for a while blocking out everything on the outside, the noise of the machines, loud voices, groaning and someone throwing up. As I went inwards, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. I had expected to feel fear, anxiety, panic – as I knew it was likely I was about to miscarry, however all that I felt was peace and this voice/feeling inside saying, ‘all is well’. I opened my eyes and said to my partner with conviction ‘all is well no matter what happens now’.
Looking back now, I actually knew my baby had passed. I had this feeling a few days before and the very blatant thought ‘my baby’s dead’. It was like I knew she had already left my body. However, I could still feel her energy around, supporting me to go through the process of miscarriage.
We had to wait for a couple of hours while the doctors ran the tests and then we had the ultrasound. My body was going into shock when I was having the ultrasound and although I knew deep down what the technician was going to say, there was a part of me that was scared to hear it. Nothing really prepares you for an ultrasound, where the technician tells you there is no heartbeat and that the baby looks like it has only developed to six weeks, when at the time I was meant to be 10 weeks. The technician also didn’t know what to say and awkwardly left us to have ‘a moment to ourselves’. I could feel all the emotions starting to well up in me at this point and I just wanted to get out of the hospital, so I could grieve in the safety of my home. The next hour was excruciating while we waited for the doctor to confirm what we already knew.
On finally arriving home I let myself go into the pain completely. I cried on and off for the whole night, while my partner Atol held me through it. The next day I cried as people sent well wishes and support. I grieved for the loss of the child that had been in my womb, for the life we had been planning with this little being and also for all those around us that had been excited and enriched by what this baby could bring to their lives.
Mostly I just cried without much concept of what I was grieving for. I sense that I was also grieving past losses, including the death of my father and other deaths both big and small in my life. I felt shame that I hadn’t been able to hold this baby in my womb, which of course I knew was unfounded, however I let myself feel it. I felt powerless, hopeless, and that there would never be any joy again in my life. I felt absolutely lost to know how to get through this grief and one day feel happy again. The amazing thing is I knew to let myself feel all these emotions without holding it back. I didn’t make any of the feelings wrong or try to rationalize them and instead just let myself feel it all.
By feeling everything within a day, it had all passed through and I was left with was a deep sense of peace that I have rarely felt at such a deep level in my life. It was like I had cleared out everything emotionally and what was beneath all of this was the peace that I had managed to tap into when I was waiting in the hospital. This also wasn’t a temporary peace; this was the essence of my being, my true nature that I recognized. This gift surprised me as I had thought that I would still be grieving for weeks about this loss and still thought there might be more to come.
As I completed the emotional release, the physical release started with intense contractions a few minutes apart. These went on for 24 hours and varied in intensity from the feeling of period pain to doubling over in absolute excruciating pain. My doctor hadn’t mentioned contractions to me so it was a surprise to feel the intensity of these painful contractions. I also didn’t know how to deal with them and at first just lay on the bed curling up in a ball trying to bare my way through the pain. I soon discovered, by listening to my body, that this was hindering rather than helping my body go through this process. Slowly I came to realize that with each contraction I needed to walk around the room and squat down to release whatever needed to be released from my uterus.
At times it got very painful, however I never lost my connection to the sense of peace within, and after I released everything from my body I could feel the connection more strongly. This sense of quiet and peace was thick within me and in the air around me. This experience of peace had been something I had been consciously asking for months to experience. I had known it was there, however had been having trouble with connecting to it for months. For months everything seemed to annoy me. The ruckus from the crows opposite our new home, the heat in the new city we had moved to, the smallness of the place we lived in etc. All these things suddenly ceased to matter when I connected to this sense of peace.
Over the next few days I felt this peace strongly. Rather than being in grief and depression, I was the happiest I had been in a long time. I felt rejuvenated and energized and ready to get on with living each moment of each day. I felt blessed to be alive and in awe of this amazing body and what it had been able to do.
I did stop and think what’s wrong with me, I should be in mourning, but I wasn’t. I thought maybe I’m in denial, yet I know fully well what denial looks like for me. Denial for me is sleeping more than I need to, becoming disconnected and withdrawn from the world, pretending to hold it together and getting on with things in a very serious and suppressed way. Denial for me isn’t happiness and I truly felt alive and wanting to connect with everyone. I would walk down the street smiling at others and talking to strangers. It was very magical time.
There were moments when I did feel sadness, like when I saw a mother with her baby or a girlfriend tells me she is pregnant or I see a picture of a friend’s baby, however I allowed myself in these moment to fully feel the pain or whatever feeling was arising, instead of ignoring it or turning away from it. I would stop for moment, close my eyes to really experience whatever feeling was arising, and then within a minute or two, the pain/fear/sadness/anger dissipated and all I was left with was a sense of deep love and peace again.
We actually told quite a few people when I found out I was pregnant at five weeks. We didn’t really hold back. At first when I found out that I was miscarrying I regretted this and wished we hadn’t told anyone. However, I realize now that this was perfect, as I realized I wanted to talk about this experience and share with others. I have also encouraged others to speak to me about it rather than not saying anything. I know many people won’t say anything about the miscarriage (it’s like it never happened) because they want to respect my privacy, however I really appreciated it when others would say something, so I could share with them.
My hope for any woman that goes through miscarriage is that she trusts herself enough to feel all the spaces that come up and then trust her body to guide her through the process. This also means trying to go through the process of miscarriage naturally rather than having it removed by a medical procedure. I also understand at times this is necessary and respect any women’s choice to take this route.
I hope that other women can realize the gift in miscarriage, rather than looking at it as something that needs to be gotten through, suppressed and handled. This is not the time to suppress what is happening for you and instead feel all the spaces fully. Use the opportunity to grieve everything. This will also mean that if you do have a child in the future they won’t be carrying the burden of your loss for the child that previously miscarried.
Also, be aware if you do feel depressed after a miscarriage then you are likely suppressing everything that you need to feel in order to feel well again. Get some support from a counselor or therapist to open up these spaces and feel them, so you can then start to move on and live life fully again.
Satyam was also recently interviewed on video by Stephanie Gill. See video here.
Satyam is passionate about supporting women to develop a greater sense of wellbeing in their everyday lives. She has been coaching, mentoring, and counselling individuals for the past 12 years, as well as focusing intensively on her own wellbeing by exploring mindfulness techniques, inquiry work, therapeutic groups, and applying extensive research on all aspects of wellbeing to her own life. This has enabled her to clearly facilitate others in their process towards greater levels of emotional, spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing. Satyam can be contacted at: www.authenticwellbeing.com.au