The Dad Diary
Last week was Baby Loss Awareness Week and October is Pregnancy, Infant and Child Loss Awareness Month.
It’s often a very hidden and personal trauma which mothers and couples keep close to themselves, but its impact it felt far wider than many people might realise.
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it’s not a stretch to say that most families have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by it. One in 160 pregnancies end in a still birth.
We experienced a miscarriage earlier this year, and it was only after we told people close to us that we realised how many more people had been on a similar journey.
It was almost like joining a secret society that no one wants to be a member of, but everyone involved is so helpful and able to to support your through your own journey.
There are people we knew who had miscarriages who never really talked to us about it before we had our own experience, but who have talked very openly to us since.
This underlines how the experience of miscarriage is something that ‘if you know, you know’, and if you don’t, well it is very hard to describe. It is a road you have to experience to comprehend.
Because conversations between people who have experienced miscarriages or still births and those who have not are often restrictive, it means awareness around these events is not always as strong as it could be.
Like I say, we only discovered the extend of it in our own circles after our own experience.
There’s no getting away from it – it is a tough journey.
Aisling was in the early stages of pregnancy when she had a miscarriage last March, and before we even talk of the mental challenge, the physical toll of it was far more considerable than I imagined.
We consider ourselves very lucky to have three happy, healthy kids. We know there are lots of people who have endured several miscarriages and some who have not been fortunate enough to be blessed with any surviving children.
There are couples we know who have had a miscarriage on their first pregnancy and are travelling an uncertain road with future pregnancies. We are lucky to be around the regular standard – one in four. Others are not so fortunate.
We also know that having four kids under six – the baby would have been due next month – would have been chaotic! It is full-on enough right now with three.
But the grief is there for a little creation of ours who never got to see the light of day and will never get to met their lovely brothers and sister. It is tough.
Myself and Aisling both know how fortunate we are ourselves. Both our mothers had miscarriages before us, and as the youngest in each of our homes, we might not have arrived in other circumstances.
It makes you grateful for what you have and aware of the very fickle nature of life. We are all lucky to be here.
In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.