I do love a plan. “Structure” really could be my middle name. I love systems, routines, institutions (that would be the 14 years spent singing in cathedral choirs in my youth). So when 2015 turned into a year of one mahoussive curveball after another, that was more than just a little bit rubbish. (“Mahoussive” isn’t actually a word, obviously, but I really think it should be. It’s so much more onomatopoeic than “massive.”)
2015 was a textbook case of “What happened to the f****** plan?” Of several unexpected twists (most of them pretty stressful), the big ‘event’ was that I had a miscarriage in September, which I write about here. It was my fourth loss – emotionally heartbreaking and physically traumatic in equal measure. It challenged all my expectations of how things are supposed to turn out according to “the plan”: mortgage, wedding, baby 1, promotion X, baby 2, promotion Y etc etc. So when 2015 threw the plan out of the water on multiple fronts, that surfaced lots of tough (pretty personal) questions about motherhood, work, identity, family, wellbeing – basically some of the big stuff of life.
Cue many musings and chats with myself as I gradually re-oriented myself to all that 2015 threw at me. Gradually, I started to feel stronger and enriched for having gone through pretty difficult times. And I realised that I wanted to write some of my musings down, and perhaps even to publish them on t’interweb.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an intensely private person. In deciding to write publicly, on a blog, I’m baring more of myself – and my soul – than I ever thought I would. But for some reason it felt right to get some of what’s inside my head out of my head by writing, and to share it. I’m choosing not to analyse why I’ve decided to do this now; my instinct tells me it’s a good thing to do for myself, and if I’ve learned anything over the last year, it’s to trust my instinct.
So what’s my aim for the blog? It’s to help myself continue to heal and make sense of my experiences and, just maybe, to connect with others who’ve had similar (or indeed different) life curveballs and found effective ways of adapting and becoming stronger as a result. I know that’s a simple, humble objective – especially to this structure-loving, “one-must-be-clear-about-objectives-and-desired-outcomes” social policy wonk, but I’m going to allow myself the simplicity of my objective just this once.
Whilst the blog has been prompted by my experiences of recurrent miscarriage, it won’t be about miscarriage (though I’ve already allowed myself one post and there will probably be more in future). There are three reasons for this:
- Many other bloggers have already written about miscarriage, and much more eloquently than I could ever hope to. I would like to link to other blogs about miscarriage, with permission, of course. (Two posts from other blogs which I’ve found especially powerful in making sense of my own experiences are this one about planning limbo following miscarriage, and this one about miscarriage from a man’s perspective – it highlights very movingly how miscarriage is about families, not just the woman going through the physical and emotional ordeal.) Linking to other blogs about experiences of miscarriage brings me to my second reason….
- Miscarriage really needs to be talked about more. The isolation that comes with pregnancy loss, and the incomprehensible stigma attached to it, are two of the things that are most difficult about it. Connecting with others who have experienced recurrent miscarriage, and thereby feeling empowered to talk more openly, has been an unexpected and hugely positive consequence of what I’ve been through. So I’d like to use this blog to link to other blogs and to highlight various initiatives aimed at understanding miscarriage, including the work of several excellent charities.
- There’s other (equally important) stuff I want to talk about! Some light-hearted topics, and some more serious. Many aspects of life – family, work, friendships, wellbeing, for example – can be significantly affected when something like a miscarriage (or four) happens. Lots of these topics interest me and I want to write about them.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to get in touch: lkosullivan at googlemail dot comFollow @o_lkosullivan
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