Trigger warning: this post discusses baby loss.
Okay so I have a lot to say, but it’s all mixed in my head so I might get a bit lost – you’ll just have to bear with me. Over the last year, I’ve spent 9 months of it being pregnant. Last July I found out I was pregnant and was bedbound with sickness (I had the same with Peggy) for three months. It doesn’t sound like very long but to me, it was the longest three months of my life, not just because I was so constantly sick that it consumed me, but also because the aftermath of that pregnancy still clouds most of my daily thoughts. I feel, for transparency I need to share that I didn’t actually suffer from a miscarriage.
I had a termination (for medical reasons). At our 12 week scan, I saw two heads – and I immediately joked ‘there aren’t two on the screen, are there?!’ and I was met with silence. A further week of scans, tests, meetings, counselling, tears and tough discussions/decisions followed and we were told that I was carrying identical twins but they were conjoined (caused by the egg splitting too late) and there was only one heart between them. They wouldn’t survive a pregnancy as there was already too much fluid and one heart couldn’t support both for very long. If, by any chance they would reach full-term, they would both die almost immediately (and by chance, I’m talking 1 in millions).
I want to get one thing straight: I am pro-choice and believe in a woman’s right to have an abortion, whether there are medical complications or not. But I have also felt tormented by this choice, and huge guilt over the decision, the fact that we had to make any sort of decision at all. And then when people messaged me to say they had a miscarriage ‘too’, I felt huge guilt that I had, in fact, in someway, let my babies down, that I was being dishonest – it was my choice to let them go, and not keep them safe inside.
Deep down, I know it wasn’t really a choice, and it was the kindest thing to do at that time, rather than (potentially) bringing them into the world with so much suffering and no life expectancy. But the traumatic delivery that followed in hospital, where I have only just finished my complaints and discussions of negligence with the hospital, have not helped with any sort of closure. The way that I saw my babies was not anything I wish anyone to go through and the image haunts me and will do forever. I am changed, an innocence is lost, all the positive images of childbirth and pregnancy that I built up via Peggy’s delivery (a 3 hour water birth with no stitches) have been totally eclipsed and this is the memory, anxiety and fear I am left with.
Obviously, I am thrilled to be pregnant again, and my heart goes out to anyone struggling with conceiving. I am not as sick this time around and we have renovations and work to keep us preoccupied and busy. But being in lockdown, alone with my thoughts without a holiday/day trip/dinner with friends for distraction, it has been hard. Not only the anxiety that comes with every scan or appointment but the guilt of being pregnant and happy again – am I allowed?
And then there’s the added layer of being on social media. After discussing our loss on social media, I unwittingly let people know that we wanted a second child. I didn’t realise the implications of this, but I have had messages ever since Jan (before I was pregnant) asking if I’m pregnant, ‘do I spy a bump?!’ or just a random ‘congratulations’ with a woman and bump emoji. I know it’s well-meaning but every one of these hurts. When I wasn’t pregnant it hurt, when I was only 8 weeks consumed with fear and anxiety it was another thing to worry about – did everyone think I was pregnant? Is it that obvious? Do I need to be on social media more to show everyone that I’m not pregnant so the conversation stops? Am I being too obvious? Should I tone it down? Should I hide it? (What can I say, I’m an overthinker).
I was in maternity clothes at 9 weeks this time, and people left comments on my body via (public) comments on Instagram at 13 weeks, the date we lost our babies last time. And for someone who is so open and honest on social media, I found the ‘lie’ difficult. Of course I wanted to say ‘Yes! Exciting! I am having a much anticipated baby!’ but science made me hold back, it hadn’t crossed my mind that anything would be wrong last time, and I had learnt that lesson. After the 3 month scan, it seemed okay, but I know from family and friends the 5 month scan is still crucial (and both I have attended alone), so anxiety took hold for a few months more.
I wanted to go as long as I could without showing but I even received comments at trying to hide – ‘I knew it, hiding behind that cheeseplant in a picture!’ – ‘oh I saw a bump in your Olympus photo’ (sidenote: that wasn’t a pregnancy bump, just how my stomach looks). So I mentioned in my newsletter, and then in an IG caption on an interiors picture, hoping it would just eek out into common knowledge. But this, somehow, wasn’t enough – ‘why aren’t you talking about the elephant in the room?’ I got asked the other night via DM. I assume this was about pregnancy as the emojis suggested, but I had actually spoken about it, just not posted a bump photo, which is apparently what is expected of Influencers – an unspoken code of conduct. So I succumbed, and I’m not going to lie, it felt lovely to have a wave of support from so many people at once. Thank you to everyone who left messages and shared their stories of pregnancy after loss.
But once that app is closed and you’re left with yourself and a big hole in your family unit (we would’ve had three children under 2!) that no one wishes to talk about anymore – because you’re pregnant again, that’s all that matters! You got what you wanted. But that’s not all I wanted. I wanted my last two babies to survive, I wanted to hold them in the hospital. I want people to talk about those little girls. But now all anyone wants to talk about is how big my bump is, is it a boy or a girl, when am I due?
It’s as if my last pregnancy was all in my head, if I ever mention my last pregnancy, people seem confused, as if I’m talking about Peggy. Or if I bring it up, the conversation goes quiet, as if I’ve really ruined the mood. It was only 13 weeks, after all, not really even a fully grown fetus. I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me, but they’re a huge part of our life (a quarter of the last year, in fact) and I won’t deny their existence and their impact on our lives.
There’s something inside me that believes being pregnant again denies something from our other babies, which I know is silly. And a pass for others not to have an awkward discussion anymore. It’s all fine now, you can forget what happened before. Sometimes I feel as though I would prefer people to acknowledge our loss more than congratulate our pregnancy – because, trust me, I needed far more support then.
I won’t ever forget them and I will be thankful to them everyday for making me a more compassionate being. Thank you to everyone for reading this, understanding my anxiety and supporting in whichever way you can, be it simply reading this silently, a heart emoji or sharing your story. I haven’t quite been able to talk/write much about this before but being able to share my story has been helping.
Pippa Vosper writes an heartbreaking piece on her pain of a late miscarriage here.
‘The Brink of Being’ book by Julia Bueno has been something I have turned to in lonely times.
I gained a lot of support from calling ARC (supporting parents through antenatal testing and scan results), you can call or donate here.
*EDIT* Thank you all so much for your comments and messages of support. I have felt totally overwhelmed (in a good way!). Sorry I have not been able to reply to everyone individually, it has been an emotional time and I still often don’t know the right thing to say all the time. But I have read every message/email/comment/DM/text and sending love and thanking you all.
❤️ I get it. I didn’t have a miscarriage or termination but I had cancer last year. Now that I’m in remission everyone around me seems to think I’m ok. I don’t need any uplifting words anymore or generally any support now that I’m back to ‘normal’. It’s life after a life changing situation that’s hard. Or even harder. Sending you all the love Alex! Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’m sure it will help a lot of people understand.
Alexandra Stedman says
Thanks for this Lisa, this makes so much sense and I completely understand how you feel. I’ve probably been guilty of this too with friends – by nature, we often think not talking about things is the best option and isn’t until someone wishes it to be acknowledged we understand more xx
First of all, congratulations! Enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can!
I had a boy, then 2 early miscarriages, and although I have another baby now, I dont forget about them, and I dont want. I love when my eldest son says to other people “I have a brother now, but mummy once had another baby in her belly, but he went away”. I love remembering this way. He talks about them as real, as persons who went away… (Btw he is the only one in the family/friends who says something about what happened…)
About enjoying my pregnancy after 2 miscarriages, I thought: those babies I lost and this baby I have in my bump now, they want their mummy to be happy!! And to enjoy the feelings, the scans, the kicks, and to talk to other people about the pregnancy, and not to hide and hide “just in case something happens”. So I decided to enjoy. Everything went ok this last time, and now I am a happy mama of two 🙂 Best wishes for you and your family
Fenella Hodson says
You are the person today that your twins have made you. Whilst you haven’t got them physically in your family they will always be a part of it – attached by an invisible thread. This time of pregnancy for you is a time to grieve the loss and fearfully anticipate the future – and all those conflicting feelings are ok. How brave to share your story with so many – I felt privileged to have been allowed to share it with you. Look after yourself and Peggy and Chris as you nurture your littlest one.
Thank you for sharing Alex x
Hi Alex, I have never experienced baby loss but I wanted to say thank you so much for writing about this. As women we rarely speak about the experiences of the female body until they happen to us and sometimes not even then. I feel that needs to change for us all to understand the female experience more. So thank you for having the strength to write and share this experience. Best wishes for the future xxx
What a beautifully written post! I have no doubt this post will help thousands of other people going through something similar. Pregnancy anxiety can be crippling at the best of times, without everything you have been through compounding it. Whatever feelings you have, they are more than valid.
Sending a huge amount of love and thanks for your bravery in sharing this! Xxx
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story publicly. As hard as it is I think it’s such an important thing to share because it’s such a taboo subject.
In March I lost my son Milo at 19 weeks. I also decided to write about it on my blog and I found the process incredibly cathartic, almost like I needed to get it all out of me. It’s something people just don’t seem to want to talk about or bring up but the amount of women that have sent me messages is unbelievable. So many have suffered the loss of a baby at many different stages for many different reasons and I think hiding it does such a disservice to pregnant women who don’t realise how common it is. I never thought it would happen to me but it happens so often it’s scary.
I’m so happy that you are pregnant although I’m sure you are consumed with worry as I know I would be. But what I’ve learned from this is that so much is out of our control and as hard as it is we just have to accept that.
I haven’t spoken about whether we’ll try to have a baby again because I don’t want to put any pressure on us or take away from what happened.
Your girls will be apart of your forever as will the love you have for them. I wish you all the health and happiness in the world Alex.
Lots of love,
Alison Crombie says
I have followed you silently for some time but your recent post was profound and had such resonance for me that I wanted to comment. My Son and daughter in laws first baby was avoidably still born , she became pregnant almost immediately. Her pregnancy was not filled with joy as she grieved for Francesca . The effects of maternal deaths are far reaching long lasting And rarely talked about . Thank you for your personal narrative which I hope will help others.
Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry for the pressure you felt under to share your personal story. But please know how much you are helping others going through loss to feel a little less alone.
This is so beautifully expressed. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your twin girls, and that you had such a traumatic experience at the hospital. And, separately, and in no way erasing my previous sentence: congratulations on your current pregnancy – it’s wonderful news – I can’t wait to see Peggy embracing/resisting her role as the eldest! I wish you all the best. <3 xx
Thank you for writing such a raw and honest post, Alex. That just have been such a difficult decision to make and my heart goes out to you both.
I suffered a miscarriage at 10 weeks back in April. It was and is a very difficult and emotional time. Baby loss doesn’t leave you, no matter how it happens. It will stay with us forever. We won’t ever forget the lives we created and we shouldn’t feel ashamed talking about it. Sending you lots of love.
Wow – I’m sorry for your loss. I love how you’re keeping the girls’ memory alive, this was so beautifully and bravely written. Your transparency touches so many of us deeply. Thank you so sharing your family’s story.
Lou Chudley says
This is a beautiful post Alex and must have taken a lot to share something so personal with your readers.
I think that often people feel uncomfortable about talking about grief & then end up saying nothing & not giving you chance to talk it and so you feel like you can’t. But not because they don’t care but because people worry about making you upset.
It’s lovely news you are pregnant 💕
Thank you Alex, your writing about this is so personal, honest and beautiful. Social media is such a strange beast – helping us connect, but also demanding that we know everything about someone else’s life. I’m sorry that you had to live this out in public. But I’m sure this piece will help so many others going through the hardest times. Thank you so much for writing it.
Thanks for your honesty, it must have been so hard to write this. I hope you find peace about what happened to you and your family.
Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss. And congratulations. Bw Sara
I hardly ever comment on blogs but I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. It is one of the most complicated and personal times to go through and the emotions can be overwhelming. We suffered a late miscarriage of a little boy after my first son was born, it crippled me. The second miscarriage felt like a blip as people commented on with ‘oh it wasn’t meant to be’ etc, the third miscarriage with twin girls was a shock and threw me into therapy. We then had a diagnosis of infertility, followed by a rainbow baby pregnancy that was crippling with anxiety and soul healing with her arrival. The miscarriage after that I kept mostly quiet as I couldn’t actually figure out how I felt.
Any loss whether it’s a miscarriage or abortion for whatever reason leaves it’s scars and I’m sending you all the love and light for this journey x
Gry slotved says
Well written and thank you for sharing such an emotional part of your lives. I am sending you and your family lots of ❤️❤️❤️
Oh my goodness me… My heart goes out to you. I suffered a loss with our first baby when I was ”only” 7 weeks (apparently, according to some, it shouldn’t have hurt as much as it id as I was so early).
I wrote a diary just afterwards and I still can’t read it. The pain was devastating.
I now have two beautiful amazing little girls and I have forgotten the pain. I find myself remembering during fleeting moments but thankfully the pain has gone.
Your post got me. Really got me. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so happy for your news now. Thank you for sharing – it always astounds me how many people have experienced a loss like this.
Sending lots of love to you all.
Oh Alex thank you for being so open and honest and vulnerable. I am so sorry for the loss of your girls. The line about wishing people said that more than congratulating you about the new pregnancy incredible. As you say it’s also not only the loss of your girls but a loss of innocence as well as the traumatic experience which was exacerbated by events at your hospital (the antithesis of what one needs at that time). You are so brave to share that too and to complain. You raise so many important issues in this wonderful piece. The need to discuss miscarriage more, to counter the assumptions and also to change this narrative that there’s a happy ending when there’s another baby. I made a complaint to BBC when they published the really important research about a significant link between pregnancy loss and PTSD with a lead image of a woman with her newborn. Only recently did I finally receive a response which was that said they stood by their choice as half of the article was about that woman’s experience. As you say having another baby, or already having a child, doesn’t undo the pain and it certainly isn’t the happy ending for many. I appreciate that it makes these stories of loss more palatable but it also adds to further trauma. This piece is so good because it raises these things in a sensitive and honest way. It challenges the assumptions as well as raises awareness. Thank you so much.
Amanda Start says
Alex I so appreciate your honesty and I hope writing this post has gone some way to helping you through the feelings you’ve been having to manage. I am so so sorry to read of the circumstances behind your loss – I can’t begin to imagine what that must’ve been like to live through. And still now to have to deal with it as you go onward through this pregnancy. I hope that through your sharing of this post it not only helps other women who have had similar experiences but also acts as a reminder that you’re human. Just because your job means that you have a social media presence, it doesn’t mean your body, thoughts, emotions and circumstances are always up for scrutiny and public discussion. Once again, your story is another reminder that (some) people forget that there are real people behind the screen and that their assumptions about the life snippets they see are rarely correct. Sending love and support. Amanda xx
Lesley Mendes da Costa says
Oh my goodness life is hard sometimes isn’t it Alex? Your a lovely little family and I wish you all the very best for the future x
I’m so sorry for what you went through Alex. You should celebrate and remember your little girls which I’ve no doubt you will! Congratulations on this pregnancy, your family deserves all the happiness! (I can’t believe people have been trying to out you on social media, such strange behaviour!)
Aileen O'Neill says
Such a beautiful, raw, honest post. You will always counts those beautiful girls as part of your family. Peggy will always be their big sister. Those girls will never be replaced. I’m so sorry to hear of your traumatic experience in hospital. I hope you find peace with that at some stage. Sending you peace and hope.
Beautiful words, so sorry for the loss of your two babies, absolutely heartbreaking. Sending love and strength ❤️Xx and one each for you and Peggy xx
Oh Alex, I’m so sorry to read about what happened to you. Pregnancies and babies play with your emotions like nothing else and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. Sending love to you, Chris, Peggy and bump xxx
Thank you for sharing your story, the more chance parents get to talk about TFMR the better I think. We were told at our twelve week scan our second baby was too poorly, I had to beg for a scan photo, the sonographer could not understand why I would want a photo of our poorly baby. He had a huge cyctsic hygroma all around him, and an enlarged bladder and was too poorly for this world. We took the heartbreaking decision to suffer some didn’t have to. Delivering him at the hospital in a shared toilet in a bowl was (I thought) the toughest day of my life. Seeing him in the bowl, grey and baby like still haunts me to this day. We were very blessed to have an angel nurse who let us be with him for a while in a gown. I am so sorry your experience was not like this, I hope that your complaint will.make some fundamental changes for other parents.
Our next pregnancy was awful, we had been lost to follow up and never knew the reasons for our baby being so poorly. A midwife came to our house when I was 11 weeks pregnant and told us our baby had been poorly due to Edwards syndrome, and he was a boy. They booked an urgent scan for the next day and all seemed ok. The pregnancy was tough, I felt so conflicted so overwhelmed with guilt for our lost baby, so angry at people guessing the gender. People telling me that I will want a boy to compliment our first daughter. It was so far from the truth I wanted a girl. I didn’t want a boy to remind me of the son I had failed.
The delivery was tough, I was so tense worried that the sensation of her leaving me would take me back to that toilet and that grey baby. But, she arrived safe and well and pink. She was calm and serene and I cried so hard so happy and relieved. And then I was at peace a little more for our son who we had loved but not held.
We have since gone on to lose four more babies and our last loss resulted in a molar pregnancy where the cells embedded in my uterus and caused Cancer. I have just finished chemotherapy and cannot explain the utter grief that comes from loss.
The more we talk about it as a norm the more we can appreciate the tough journey we are all faced with.
The road to motherhood is so very very tough. Our bodies, eggs and all the bits in between have a huge job to do and that burden is often carried by the mother’s but also felt by the father’s.
Sending you all the strength I have to have a peaceful pregnancy and delivery. ❣️
Nicky Bender says
Oh Alex, that must have been a hard post to write, but hopefully it has helped in some way.
Wishing you & your family all the very best & sending love to you all.
Look after yourself.
I have never met you and yet ‘know’ you ever so slightly through this bizarre thing called social media. You don’t owe ‘us’ any explanations and yet I thank you for sharing your story. So different and yet so similar to my own experiences that bring back many emotions. I offer my warmest congratulations To you both on your pregnancy and my condolences on the loss of your two girls. On a lighter note you have the best taste in your home decorating/designing and Peggy makes me laugh with every photo.
So sorry for your loss, thank you for sharing about your twins. I lost a baby 25 years ago because of an ectopic pregnancy. Despite having two gorgeous girls since I still think of that first pregnancy and still mourn that child. When people like you are brave enough to share your loss it still helps as I know mourning a baby I never knew is normal. At the time many people commented about it not really being a baby which I know was an attempt at empathy but hurt!
Congratulations on your new pregnancy, such lovely news x
What a beautifully written post. I am so sorry for your loss and can’t imagine what a horrible experience it must have been for you. I feel that it is not until we start trying for children that we hear how widespread miscarriage and baby loss is. Whilst I understand that people want to focus on the positives, I think it is important that people are made aware of how much things don’t turn out the way we expect. When I was at school I don’t remember miscarriage or baby loss being touched on at all during health ed lessons – I hope this is something which is talked about now.
I also hope that your post will be a reminder to people that it really is not acceptable to make comments speculating on whether a person is pregnant or not on a public forum. You really don’t know what a person is going through and these kind of comments come across as rude and intrusive and whether someone is publicly online or not, they still deserve to have a private life and keep things to themselves.
Sending hugs. Thank you for sharing this, I am so sorry to hear what happened. xx
Emma Boonham says
Oh Alex, this is heartbreaking, to share your story must have taken such courage. I am so so sorry for the loss of your baby girls… sending you & your family much love, and, congratulations on your beautiful bump xx ❤️❤️
Dear Alex, you are a brave, beautiful & honest woman.
Heart felt tears of love & compassion.
Ron and Angela Stedman says
Our love and thoughts go out to you Alex. Hopefully sharing will help you heal.
Congratulations on your new pregnancy. Looking forward to seeing more pictures of Peggy
Thank you so much for opening up about this, it must have been really difficult and I really appreciate you opening up the conversation. I am so sorry for the loss of your girls, what a devastating decision to have to make.
I had a missed miscarriage right at the start of lockdown – I found out at our 12 week scan (that I had to attend alone) that the heartbeat had gone and the pregnancy wouldn’t progress. The pain of loss is indescribable to anybody who hasn’t been through it – I myself now realise I was guilty of not realising quite how difficult it is for both the woman and her partner. My husband likened the grief to that he felt when his dad died. That sort of grief doesn’t ever go away, you just learn to live with it, so I completely understand how devastating it must feel when people assume that now you’re pregnant again, all is ok. It’s not and it never will be, but you learn to find a new way to live alongside it.
We’re currently trying again and I’m in that horrible two week wait to see if this is the month. The anxiety I’m already feeling about any future pregnancy is overwhelming and I can imagine that doesn’t go away until the baby is safely here. So I’m sending a huge hand hold for the rest of your pregnancy and please do not feel obliged to post for your followers – you just do what is best for you and your family.
Wishing you the best of luck xxx
I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through and continue to process. I think it must have taken a lot of courage to write this, so thank you for your honesty (but please know you don’t have to share everything with the Internet – it’s completely your decision and no one is entitled to know anything about your life!). I also cannot explain how infuriated it makes me ( as someone who has never experienced this first hand) when people post comments about other people’s pregnancy and asking people if they’re having a baby etc, especially direct messaging you about it! Its one of the most personal subjects and I really wish people would consider them impact of their words rather than “having good intentions”. I’m really sorry you’ve had to go through that. I hope in the future this changes, because I feel like it affects so many people. 💙
Oh Alex, how incredibly heartbreaking and traumatic that experience sounds. And life-changing, of course, in every way. Glad that sharing the story helps a bit, and is also a way to commemorate your much-wanted twin girls. Sending you much love and all the best wishes possible. x
Darling Alex, this was so beautifully written. I am truly so sorry that you experienced this loss (and the traumatic delivery) at all, and it breaks my heart that you don’t get to hold those girls now. I promise to always remember them.
I hate that as a society there is such a taboo about discussing anything other than happy pregnancy and childbirth, or that other people feel entitled to discuss your pregnancy (whether or not you are pregnant or have chosen to discuss it yourself) when it’s such a deeply personal matter. But I hope that writing this has been therapeutic for you, and that it helps someone else who might be experiencing a similar loss to feel less alone.
That said, your announcement is just such lovely news, and I hope you are able to enjoy this exciting time.
Sending so much love,
Thank you for writing so clearly and honestly about your baby girls. Your words will be helpful to all the women following you who struggle with loss. What a tough time you and Chris have had! Well done to both of you for getting through it. And wishing you both (and Peggy of course) a joyous outcome with this pregnancy. I really admire you.
Thank you for digging so deep and being so vulnerable with us all – you don’t owe it to anyone, but please know that I, like many others reading this post, feel seen, heard and validated when I read stories like yours. The desire of family and friends (and followers, in your case) to shut down the grief and focus resolutely on the warm and fuzzy stuff does nothing to help us heal, it serves only to isolate us. I am so immensely sorry for your loss of your twin girls, I can only imagine how much you must miss them and grieve them every day. Grappling with all these painful emotions in amongst the joy of a new baby must be incredibly confusing and draining. As I enter the final few days of my second attempt at IVF, I am thinking of families like yours and mine, all over the world, trying to bring their babies home safely. Much love x
I’m sorry for your loss, Alex. You made a brave and selfless decision. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to write about your experience, but I’m so glad you did. We need to make experiences like this part of the discourse about pregnancy and loss – you are far from alone but we don’t hear many of these stories in the public realm.
Such a beautiful and touching and heartbreaking post. The ability to put those complicated feelings into words can be such a gift, because it can also bring a little bit of relief and be a part of your healing.
Pregnancy is such a delicate time – we are sharing our bodies with one or more other people, hormones raging, new weird symptoms every week. The longing and loving of this tiny human you haven’t met yet. And still, all that seems to matter is what you weigh, how your bump shows, when are you due. Not much about how this is transforming you as a person.
I am sorry you had such a traumatic loss of your baby girls. They were already your babies, no matter how little or big. I am also sorry about the anxiety of “choice”. I think hospitals are very well equipped for birth – and not at all for loss. It can be a miscarriage or a termination, it doesn’t matter, i feel like there is little done to comfort women and no much thought put into their well being, both physical and mental. Doctors are quick to dismiss how a miscarriage can impact you, no matter how it happens, specially how soon it happens.
I believe that because loss is such a taboo topic, women don’t really talk about so there’s not much advocating around the topic. People are scared to bring it up, specially to a pregnant woman, as if the mention of a previous loss can taint or spoil the current pregnancy… As if the mother herself doesn’t think about it all the time.
I am sorry you are struggling with being both happy about the new pregnancy and still mourning your loss. If there’s anything I have learned in my baby’s first year, is that motherhood makes your heart grow tenfold – and it can feel the highest of joys and the deepest sorrows all at once. I think it’s amazing you are able to talk about this and put your feelings out, for other moms who might feel exactly the same, but didn’t know the words to phrase it.
Thinking of you and your lovely family! xx
This is just so honestly and beautifully written. I had an abortion at 7 weeks after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and understand the feelings of guilt and heartbreak, as well as the fact that everyone focussed on the fact that I already had a one year old son so ‘at least you’ve got him.’ Thank you for articulating what I’ve been feeling, and I’m sure many will take comfort in your words. Wishing you well for the rest of your pregnancy xx
Ellen Switzer says
Alex your thoughts on what happened to you are so touching and vulnerable. There are real people out there who are reading this, like me, and we all appreciate the honesty. There is so much about loss in pregnancy that is hushed up. I cant even imagine what it wouldve been like to see your conjoined babies, and then have to say goodbye…. devastating. Pregnancy is not a “happy time” for a lot of people. It can be incredibly lonely and just plain hard. I am tried of the constant “joy” that surrounds the time. It makes it so your pain and trouble surrounding it aren’t valid, because, hey, you are “getting a baby” so you should be happy. Not realistic.
I cant believe some of the messages you got about your latest pregnancy, and the comments about your body. that is horrible. I would never ever ever ask someone (that I dont know) via instagram to talk about their body type and also their pregnancy. that is so cold and rude. ESPECIALLY when they know that you had a loss previously! I am sorry that you go thru that, and that some people cant get a clue. You are a real person, even if we dont know you, and we shouldn’t treat you like someone who is less real.
Anyway, I am sorry. I am so sorry for your loss.
I’m so sorry this has happened to you, thank you for sharing and being so honest. I wish you and your family all the best in the future….big hug to you all xx
I never, ever leave comments on posts. But your honest and raw account of your experience has struck such a chord with me. You’ve described my feelings so well.
In 2016, I found out at my 20 week scan that we were having a little girl – and that she had a severe heart defect that was incompatible with life. We made the agonising decision to have a termination at 22 weeks, and I’ve carried such weight with me ever since. The worst part was the fact that we had to make the decision – and whether we made the right one has haunted me. As long as she stayed in my tummy, she was safe.
I went on to have a little boy in 2017, and I’m currently 6 months pregnant with a little girl. The guilt and shame that I felt because my heart surged with happiness when I was told she was a little girl has been… tough to deal with. Everyone around me is delighted for me because they think it’s a lovely ending to a sad story. Like a void has finally been filled. But that story hasn’t ended – the little girl we lost is part of me, always.
You made the best decision that was available to you, and you did the best you could for your girls. I know from personal experience that that you may not believe it (and it’s much easier for me to say this to you than to myself), but deep down, I know it to be true.
Sending all my love.
What a beautiful, honest and brave piece Alex and such a challenging and traumatic year. Particularly trying to manage your way through it in the glare of social media.
Your girls aren’t forgotten – they remain part of your family and it’s journey.
I had a missed miscarriage (what a strange term – missed – like I dropped it in error) with my first pregnancy and so never relaxed and enjoyed either of my next 2 so I can understand some of that dread and unease as I never relaxed into it.
I wish you all the best and joy, yes joy, because you and your family deserve it. X
Hannah Argyle says
Alex I can only thank you for writing so beautifully about what can only have been the most heart breaking experience. You’re very generous and brave to tell people about what you went through. I am so so sorry for your losses. I went through one myself but nothing as difficult as yours, but I do understand a little of how anxious and guilty another pregnancy can make you feel. I wish you all the best, and all the happiness you deserve xx
It is so courageous of you to share your experience so openly and honestly. The rawness of your writing moved me to tears. I am so so sorry for the loss of your lovely girls. Hope you find some peace and lots of support from sharing this story – as others have said it will help so many people – and i’m just sorry you didn’t get the support when you needed it. I experienced a totally awful misdiagnosis just after my son was born – totally not even close to what you have experienced – but i do understand a little bit the feelings of anger and disappointment and being let down by an institution that you put your absolute trust in. Good for you for taking the hospital on. I’m generally just in awe of your bravery and caring. All the good things in life are touched with sadness a little bit, but I’ve come to believe that’s just life. Thanks for sharing your story even though you didn’t have to xx
Opening your heart to the story of your girls’ shared heart is beyond commendable for your courage. You’ve endured so very much & I hope with all my heart that you find comfort in the support of your true community.
You are a wonderful & admirable Mother of three. May the newest addition of your fourth child arrive safely to your arms.
Thinking of you, S xx
I’m sorry you’ve had to join the club that no one wants to be in. TFMR is the taboo within the taboo… we chose to end the lives of our much loved and wanted babies, so they wouldn’t suffer. It’s a heavy burden to carry.
After giving birth, I suffered a double haemorrhage and nearly died. A midwife called a crash team, who worked on me while my husband stood nearby holding our tiny baby. Utterly heartbreaking.
The path we tread is difficult. We’ve lost friends and family who simply don’t understand. The friends who’ve got it, we now hold closer.
Sending love to you all, from a fellow grieving Mum x
Thank you for sharing about your sweet baby girls and the grief you have suffered. I have suffered early pregnancy losses as well and tend to think I should qualify my grief and sadness with that fact that others have suffered more traumatically than me. The truth is, those sweet babies are yours and always will be. Whether you held them close on this earth or only in your heart. Whether you carried them for 3, 9, 13 weeks or more. Whether they were healthy or not. They are your children and always will be. I keep my babies close to my heart. No one talks about them but me, sometimes with my husband. I believe I will hold them one day. It makes my heart heal to think of them waiting for me. I was finally able to have a baby after two years of fertility treatments and IVF. He is a angel and was born a few months before Peggy. (We were also going through a bathroom/bedroom remodel at the same time as you and Chris while being pregnant and I followed along with your journey with anticipation!) I have come acknowledge, yet cannot totally accept yet, that I cannot have anymore children. It is a wonderful blessing for you to be pregnant again (congratulations!) yet, I keenly understand how the fear and anxiety can shadow the joy and excitement at times. It’s difficult to navigate our expectations with the experiences we have had. And difficult to navigate other’s well meaning intentions when they simply cannot understand your perspective and how your past pregnancy loss has changed you forever. Joy mixed with sadness. I will be following along on your journey with anticipation and I thank you for sharing your story. xo
Alex, everything you say resonates with me.
I also experienced the loss of a baby in somewhat similar circumstances, late during my pregnancy and I also experienced everything you say, the guilt, the lack of recognition for our lost baby, the numbness during the following pregnancy, the anxiety, the loss of innocence and so much more. I found people to be very hurtful, even when they were well intentioned.
It is tough, it takes many years to heal. We lost our baby 17 years ago and my heart still aches for all those mothers like you who have to endure such a thing and are forced to make such a difficult choice. Time heals though. You may even feel guilty one day when the memory of your loss does not hurt as much anymore, but it will always be part of your life, your journey and your identity.
I wish you all the best. xx
Dear Alex and Chris. And of course Peggy. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a heartbreaking decision to have to make. Even if it was the right one. I’m sorry you had such an awful hospital experience. I hope you can hold them to account and that you are able to enjoy the rest of this pregnancy. I miscarried similar time as your loss and very nearly died at home from haemorrhage. I’m 20 wks now and v nervous for my ‘big scan’ next wk. It’s been hard to enjoy this pregnancy. All the best. ❤️
Thanks for sharing Alex. Absolutely beautiful words that will resonate with so many people and help others understand a little bit of others pain. Lots of love to you and your family.
Thank you so much for sharing ♥️
What a moving piece of writing. We’re a similar age, I had my first child, a daughter, not long after you had your daughter and found your posts about early motherhood so relatable. So I actually messaged you following your newsletter announcement/non-announcement because, after your loss, it seemed like such happy news. I understand now just how bittersweet this time has been. Your private life is your private life. Thank you for sharing this, it will be a little light in the dark to people going through similar hard times. Wishing you all the very best xx
Alex. Thank you for this post. I feel so seen. And so many of the things you said have expressed exactly how I feel. Pregnancy after loss is so difficult. Incredibly isolating.
Just – thank you for talking openly about something that is still so taboo.
Wishing you, and your family, all the best.
Thank you so much for your honesty and bravery in sharing your story. All 3 of your girls and baby on the way must be so incredibly proud of their mother. You are truly helping to normalise discussion on pregnancy loss, and I can only imagine how many people this has helped feel less alone.
Thanks for sharing, it’s a beautiful confession and i want to express all my admiration for opening your heart and telling us this story and also want to wish you all the best 💖
Sophie Yershon says
An inspiring, eloquent & beautiful read. I’ve always admired your honesty & think you’re a total inspiration. I’m so sorry for your unfathomable loss, and I’m sure your girls are around you all the time and I’m certain they will always be part of the narrative with Peggy & your future healthy baby. Sending love & light darling x
There will never be enough words to provide the comfort you need but we are here for you. Thank you so much for sharing with us, it takes a lot of strength. All the very best for you, your family and your little ones x
Thank you for talking about this, and I am so sorry you went through it. I miscarried 4 babies, at various stages and in different ways, including twins, in between my son and daughter. I spent two years pregnant or miscarrying and it was harrowing. A litany of poor treatment, lack of care or dignity, hurtful comments, etc, I can’t believe how women are treated when losing their children and it seems like another horror that women silently bear, so we must talk about it if we can. Losing twins added another level of pain as people find it awkward if you take care to mention it, but I felt awful pretending one of my babies hadn’t existed. My daughter has come a long way towards healing my heart, she is such loving, fierce, beautiful child, and so much of what ground me down about babydom the first time doesn’t bother me this time. I’m just beyond grateful for her and finally holding her in my arms was pure magic. No one mentions those pregnancies in between, but I quietly carry the thought of those other with me, they were and are loved.
Oh Alex, sending so much love. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through. I’m so sorry for your loss x
Oh Alex I can’t even imagine the courage it must have taken to write this post, and the pain you have endured. Thank you so much for sharing – a member of my family recently endured two miscarriages and this has given me some insight into what she must have been through. I’m so sorry to hear of your birth trauma and the agonising decision that accompanied it, as well as the bizarre, nosy people sending you speculative comments about pregnancy – I just can’t imagine! Your two little girls will never be forgotten. Wishing you a very special rest of pregnancy with your little one. Sending love, thoughts and solidarity from one toddler mum to another xxx
❤️💔❤️ Thank you for your honesty. I can totally relate to what you’re going through.
Alex, Firstly and most importantly, this is a beautiful, authentic and brave testimony to your girls. Secondly a rare gift to women & men who have experienced such devastating & traumatic loss. I can not even begin to imagine how painful this has been for you. I had four miscarriages before I had my miracle son. I was also told that I had lost him at 8 weeks old but found out three days later that he was still alive. I have now been trying for a second for a year and a half, experienced another miscarriage and wonder where I go with this. I wish you peace and love as you go forwards. Because that’s all we ever can do is move onwards with love. You are doing an amazing job as a woman, mother and human being xxx
Charlotte Tew says
Hi Alex, I follow you on Instagram for your style and interior design tips (you are fab), and when I initially saw your post about being pregnant it made me nervous, as just under a week ago my husband and I lost our first baby at 25 weeks. We have no reason why until the post mortem in a few months, and we don’t even know the sex. I also had to be in hospital and deliver our sleeping baby, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was traumatic and I have been so nervous about going on Instagram and seeing beautiful pregnancies and having a negative reaction, even though I should be happy for people, but your post was refreshing amidst a sea of constant beauty and joy, because I have also for the first time realised that life also involves inevitably involves loss. I am hoping to be in your position in a few months and pregnant again, but like you I will never forget our first baby, as I carried he or she for 6 months. Thank you so much for your open article and post, I think it’s so important to talk about loss and the difficult decision you had to make, there’s so much about pregnancy we don’t know beforehand and can’t know, and I think the conversation needs to widened. Thank you for starting that conversation.
Beautifully eloquent words of such an important journey. Thank you for sharing it. I feel more human for reading it. 🖤
I read your post this morning and I have been thinking of it all day. Peggy, your twins and your bump have an incredibly strong mum.
There is much I want to share and say but I am struggling to find the words as eloquently as you. I hope that after experiencing your loss and trauma you will find joy. And I know you will find strength when it’s needed to get through the next months. Sending much love (which seems odd perhaps from someone you haven’t met!) ❤️
Thank you for sharing, it is so brave. Ten years ago I had a termination, this Christmas I had a miscarriage, and now I’m pregnant around 17 weeks. I’m also a midwife. People don’t often openly speak about any of this, which makes it so much harder to say how we really feel when these things happen. All of what you’re going through and how you feel is valid and right. I want to say how sorry I am about the loss of your daughters, and how truly sorry I am for your experience in the hospital. As someone who has provided care for women going through terminations and miscarriages, in a hospital that gives excellent bereavement care, I can only say I’m heartbroken for you that you had to experience further pain on top of what is the worst moment any person can go through.
Thank you for speaking about your experience. You are a wonderful mother.
Sending love and strength.
❤️❤️ I just wanted to say how brave you are to speak out and how important it is to discuss baby loss. My mother in law lost her first son full term and she has always talked of her 3 boys. As a reader, I’ll always think of your wider family. Wishing you all the best. ❤️❤️
Thank you for sharing, I’ve never experienced baby loss myself, but I have friends who have and I’ve found this really helpful in trying to understand. Thank you xxx
Alex all I can say is I’m thinking of you and sending love. That was a beautiful article and i cannot imagine how tough that time has been. It’s also a great reminder of not always trying to find the positive for people (something I definitely try to do) sometimes it’s so important to just feel your feelings and be sad/grieve. Something I’m going to be more mindful of going forward
Sending love x
Firstly congratulations. Secondly what a great post, sums up your journey perfectly. I dont think anyone ever forgets those babies, the ones we were never destined to meet. I always think about the baby i lost especially around Christmas when he/she would have been born. Remember them and cherish the ones you do have. Baby loss is not spoken about nearly enough…..many feel they cant speak about it, but talking really does help. I know when i had the discussion with the mums at mums group I was shocked to discover out of 6 of us, 4 had suffered at least one loss…. a scary statistic! Enjoy this time and again congratulations xxx
Thank you for finding the energy and strength to write this. Sending you love, peace & hope 💕💕
Sending so much love to you, Chris and Peggy. It’s so easy to say, but please don’t let others make you feel like you have to explain yourself…..but thank you for sharing. You deserve all the joy with this pregnancy, and embracing that doesn’t detract from the love you have for your girls who weren’t quite ready for this world. They will be with you always. Xxxxxx
Thank you so very much for sharing this. I can’t begin to explain how it helps hearing others stories. It may have been a termination but it is still a loss of babies .. and it’s hard, and you deserve to feel all the feels because it does suck. And that feeling of wanting to talk but knowing the room goes quiet gets me every time. I wish people would accept that it’s a hard conversation but want to ask. I wish we’d check in, I wish we didn’t have to put on a brave face, I wish we didn’t have to do it alone. I wish it didn’t make us more scared. Good luck for the pregnancy – you deserve all the happiness and those baby girls would want it for you too!
Thank you for sharing you story xxx 💕🥰 xxxx
Thank you so much for this. Grief and joy can be so hard to experience at the same time, especially when everyone around you defaults to the joy.
I lost my dad unexpectedly last year whilst my husband and I were travelling, and found out a couple of weeks later that I was pregnant. I was devastated and delighted at once. When we finally returned home from our travels (which turned into an extended stay with my mother), all of my friends wanted to talk about our good news, and no one wanted to talk about my dad. It made me so sad, and angry.
Carrying loss throughout a pregnancy can feel so lonely. Holding your dearest close is a comfort, but nothing makes it go away, and that’s ok.
Those little girls are loved forever xxx
♥️♥️♥️♥️ – for each one of your babies.
Thank you for sharing.
Pip McNee says
Oh Alex you poor things I can’t imagine what you have been through, it sounds terribly sad and emotionally difficult. I think you did what you needed to and it’s completely understandable you will have mixed feelings about that and I’m sorry the hospital let you down at such a tough time. I wish for better things to come, time will help but it will never completely leave you – it’s part of your story now. Peggy and your baby will benefit from the loving parents they have. I’m also sorry people on social media behave the way they do I always think you are so brave to share things and I’m sure if you reach just one person with this article it will have been for the good. Wishing you all the very best x
Kate Skitt says
Sending love for both past and present. All as important as each other. I have 2 children, lost the next 2 and finally have a 3rd through IVF. The lost 2 will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing Alex ❤️
Thank you for posting this, I’m sure lots of people needed to hear their story, or a similar story of loss, to know they are not alone. And you are not alone! Sending you and your family love for your very difficult time gone, and best wishes for your exciting future ❤️
Just felt compelled to say thank you for writing about this, I’m very sorry for your loss x
Teresa Palmamo says
Beautifully written piece Alex, it must have been a truly awful time for you both, you will never forget your babies, and as you say, these are life changing moments. Enjoy your new baby, I look forward to the happy news
Thank you for sharing, I’ve never experienced pregnancy or baby loss myself, but as human beings we should be more aware and mindful of it. Your story is a great help to understand what some friends have been going through.
Sending you love and peace of mind xx
Tricia M says
I just want to give you a big hug! Rest assured, and try not to feel guilty, you and Chris made the right and only choice given the outcome. Bereavement can be such a lonely place as many people are reluctant to mention your loss in fear of making you cry or not knowing what to say. It’s better to say something rather than nothing isn’t it? It was such a brave and bold move to be so open about your little babies. Also, what is very lovely is that so many people have got in touch with you here which says a lot. What we all need now is hope for the future and I wish you, Chris and Peggy exactly that. Take care. xx
PS Thank you for continuing to post on The Frugality- love it!
This post meant so much to me, as I lost two babies before having a gorgeous little girl. I felt the same way as you do – as soon as I got pregnant again very few people mentioned the losses, or downplayed how terrible those losses were. I live in Norway and unfortunately many women are met with little understanding by health workers when dealing with pregnancy loss. I hope this will change in the future, and that you get a better treatment when you’re giving birth.
I wish you all the best, and I hope that you manage to find some peace in this pregnancy. I remember all the scans being so nerve wracking – friends who haven’t experienced loss talk of how amazing the ultrasounds were, but I was just terrified each time.
Lots of love from Norway ❤️
Oh Alex. I have been through the same thing, sadly I had two tfmr and two miscarriages – I also do have two beautiful boys now. Your description is exactly how I have felt, still feel…I think about my little boy and little girl, that I couldn’t bring home and cuddle, every single day without fail. I miss them, I look at my youngest and think of the other babies, and how old they would be. I’ve done a huge amount of work to ease some guilt around this, and to try and overcome the trauma. We also had some issues with the hospital around the births of the babies. Unimaginable experience to go through. I’m so sorry and would say just try everything to keep you as calm and focused on the new babies birth as possible. I had rewind therapy to help remove the traumatic images. I might message you actually ❤️
very touching & moving post, having miscarried twins (and multiple other pregnancies) I understand some of the pain and emotions. by chance I came across littlenorfolkcottage posting on insta https://www.instagram.com/p/B4EoGwgnvMJ/ she had a similar experience; you mentioned talking to a stranger was helpful, perhaps make touch with this lady? when the time is right for you, do enquire about meeting with your hospital’s Birth Afterthoughts Midwife, this was a big step for me after counselling but certainly helped. thank you for sharing
Natalie O'neill says
Such an emotional post, I am so sorry for your sadness, it is heartbreaking. Be safe in the knowledge that your girls were much loved. Sending love to you all, you really don’t know what goes on behind closed doors ❤️
I’m firstly so sorry to read this post and yet so grateful that you have spoken so honestly about a subject that no one wishes to talk about.
I had a medical termination at 24 weeks in March (our little girls heart hadn’t developed and very little chance of survival after birth) and everything you’ve said completely resonates with me.
Thank you for being so open, wishing you and your baby a safe and joyful arrive and all the happiness for the future.
I just wanted to say I am so sorry for your loss and thank you for your honesty. I know all to well the emotions you are feeling right now. I had a difficult time conceiving and through the magic of ivf -poof was pregnant with twins. All was well until week 17. A scan showed something very wrong with one of the babies. For similar reasons to you we choose to terminate the sick baby to give the other baby a better chance of a full term pregnancy. Here in America they refer to this as “selective reduction” . As if I had a choice…. Like you I spent my pregnancy plagued by feeing happy and deeply destroyed at the same time. It was confusing and traumatic. What I can offer you is that with time it gets easier. It’s still very difficult to talk about with other people for me. But I feel less guilt. I know I did the right thing. I hope after your pregnancy ends and you meet your healthy baby you too will feel more peace. Lots of love and stay strong. Thank you again for your honesty.
Hannah Marney says
Thank you for sharing, Alex. I’m sorry for your heartache, I can’t imagine what that is like. Wishing you and your family all the very best 🖤
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this Alex, and I’m so so sorry for what you have been through. I am also so glad you are pregnant again, but totally get that you are a different person after experiencing what you have. I had an ectopic pregnancy last year at 8 weeks and while it was a forced choice to end that pregnancy (or I would’ve basically died) the whole trauma and the moment I had learnt about the fate of my baby will haunt me forever.
I am still very much on my journey to motherhood but I have accepted over time that that experience has deeply shaped who I am today and after much work with a counsellor, have recognised that I have PTSD and that the long term impact of that will stay with me, even if/when I manage to get pregnant successfully. When you say you still need to acknowledge the loss of your twins, I hear you loud and clear and feel exactly the same – nothing will take that experience away from you and it can’t just be forgotten by having another baby.
You are so great for raising this issue and the psychological effects – as someone who has suffered through loss and inability to get pregnant for 18 months this was a total breath of fresh air to read and made me feel a bit more normal for a moment 🙂
Thank you and I am wishing you all the best in your pregnancy xxx
Dear Alex, I’ve been following you on Instagram (and your blog) for quite some time now, because you’re one of the most genuine and down to earth “influencers” I know. I love how you’ve always been honest and open about everything, especially money, and that you’ve never pretended that you’re rolling in it. When I saw a picture of you pregnant recently, I thought “oh I must have missed the announcement post”, but then later I realised why and I understand that writing this article must have been hard.
I’ve always been quite confused about abortion, because deep down I am against it, but at the same time I am in favour of it in rare cases, such as rape or when you know the baby is not going to live, and so on. I do not have kids myself, but where I to be in the same situation as you, I would have terminated the pregnancy as well (although it’s easier said than done).
What I would like to say to you and your husband is that, hadn’t you lost your pregnancy last year then most probably you wouldn’t be pregnant again this year, and you wouldn’t have another bundle of joy on the way. So while the loss of two babies is unimaginable, the joy that this baby will bring is enormous. I say this in the most respectful way – just trying to find something positive out of a heartbreaking situation xxx
Thank you for talking about your loss so openly. A couple of years ago, I was in the same situation – discovered at 29 weeks my beautiful girl had a 1 in a million condition that meant she couldn’t move any of her muscles. We decided to terminate at 31 weeks as I was getting quite unwell from the pregnancy by this point too. There was no way she would have survived out of my safe home for her, but the decision still breaks my heart in two. For so long I felt I was living at the bottom of a well and would never escape the pain and sadness. I still think about her everyday. I didn’t know anyone at the time that had experienced a loss like this, I was still naive about miscarriages even. The midwives at my hospital told me they had 2 dedicated birthing suites at the hospital for mother’s giving birth to babies that had died in the womb and that they were used everyday. This just broke me. Why is there no discussion about this. I understand completely the innocence that is lost. I see pregnant mothers so cavalier about their pregnancies, and I envy them their freedom from the gripping fear of late pregnancy loss. I don’t know what else to say, good luck seems too trite. Perhaps just thank you again. Your story will help people in ways you never know xx
Hi Alex, last year I also had a termination at 13 weeks. I remember at the time looking for similar stories to mine but they are very hard to find. My daughter had chromosomal issues and at my 12 week scan the doctor said she was surprised I was even still pregnant. Now, like you, I am pregnant again.
Thank you for sharing your story, it really does help.
Jeeny w smith says
Thank you so much for sharing…
Caroline Lewis says
Thank you Alex for sharing this, it’s such a huge personal experience.
I felt when reading, it was like you were healing yourself through your words if that makes sense?
Enjoy your maternity ❤️