How Pregnancy Loss helped me Find my Life's Purpose

How Pregnancy Loss helped me Find my Life's Purpose

Author : Michelle Williams

Today I want to talk about something, which I haven't disclosed publicly before. But, I do so now, in the hope that it will offer some comfort, hope and inspirtion to any woman experiencing something similar.  

Let's talk about Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss...

I want to talk about  miscarriage and pregnancy loss and the lifelong impact that this has on women's lives.

Sadly, miscarriage and pregnancy loss, is something that I have experienced twice in my life.  Although this happened for me, over twenty years ago and I went on to have two healthy baby boys, the sense of loss and sadness remains.  As do the memories of pain and anguish.

Back when I suffered my own losses, miscarriage, wasn’t something that was generally spoken about. There wasn't much support out there and you were expected to 'sweep it under the carpet' and move on with your life. 

I’m so grateful, for the many women that suffer miscarriage and pregnancy loss every day, that things have changed somewhat since then; there is now so much more awareness and support than there was back then.

But, I hope that by sharing my story, I will be able to provide some comfort and support to any woman, suffering a similar experience.

My First Pregnancy...

My first heart-breaking experience of pregnancy loss occurred during my first pregnancy. I had fallen pregnant almost immediately, after my husband and I had decided to try for a baby. Naturally, we were both elated, when the pregnancy test confirmed that I was pregnant.

When I look back, I was a little naïve.  I had not known anyone in my circle of family or friends who had suffered a miscarriage, or worse, the tragedy of giving birth to a stillborn child. So, I spent the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in an innocent little bubble, of eager anticipation and excitement. Constantly imagining what our beautiful baby would look like and who they would grow up to become.

I spent the majority of my first 12 weeks of pregnancy, suffering awful morning sickness.  Even though I had not told anyone at work that I was pregnant, my boss immediately knew. She later told me, that she had guessed, because I looked "green."

I confess, that the relentless feeling of nausea and vomiting prevented me from fully enjoying the experience of being pregnant. Although, despite the sickness, I was thrilled and excited to be pregnant and expecting our first child.

Like any first time, expectant mum, I immersed myself in books and articles that would inform and educate me, as to what to expect from the different stages of pregnancy, birth and beyond.  But, nowhere, in any of the pregnancy books that I read, did I ever see anything declaring the threat of miscarriage or stillbirth.

Oblivious to any potential risks, I continued happily in my little bubble of naive excitement, shortlisting baby names and imagining how perfect our baby would be.  

The 12 - 14 Week Dating Scan...

I recall the excitement building as the date of my dating scan drew closer. Finally, we were going to get our first glimpse of our beautiful baby. My husband and I were beyond excited.

I dutifully drank the volume of water suggested, so that the Sonographer would be able to get a crystal clear scan of our precious growing baby, whilst I waited excitedely to see our baby for the first time.

Instinctively, I already felt that she would be a girl. In fact, I felt so certain of this, that my husband and I had already agreed upon her name. If she was girl, we would name her Eleanor, we had decided. 

As I heard my name called, I struggled to contain my excitement. Despite the discomfort of my over-inflated bladder, I couldn’t get into the room fast enough.

As I lay down, wincing at the feeling of the ice-cold jelly, being applied unforgivingly, to my pregnant belly, I waited eagerly for the sonographer to introduce us to our baby.

My First Experience of Pregnancy Loss...

The Sonographer began gently at first, moving the probe across my pregnant belly. Then I felt her movements quicken. “What are your dates?” She asked, as I anxiously confirmed them with her.

Suddenly, I felt the speed of the probe across my tummy, begin to quicken and intensify, as a string of brutal words, broke the chilly silence.

“You’re not pregnant," the Sonographer declared abruptly. “Yes, I am,” I replied. “I’ve done a pregnancy test. My Doctor has confirmed it and I've been having morning sicknes," I quickly replied.

“No, you’re not,” she replied, matter of fact. There’s no heartbeat. You’re not pregnant anymore. Your baby has died in the womb.”

Her words sliced through me, like a knife through my heart. I tried to digest what she was telling me, but I couldn't comprehend. “I don’t understand?” I told her.

“There is no baby. You are not pregnant.” She told me again.

Confused and bewildered, I tried to insist that I was pregnant. She must have made a mistake. “No,” she said, “It's a blighted ovum pregnancy. There is no heartbeat. You have miscarried."

“No!” I replied. “That’s not possible. I couldnt have miscarried, I have had no bleeding and I’ve been experiencing morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms.”

“That is quite possible,” she replied, “But you're not pregnant anymore.”

I looked at her in disbelief. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say?’

“There is no heart-beat.” She repeated, “This is a blighted ovum pregnancy. Your Baby's heart beat stopped in womb.”

Her words were delivered in such a brutal, unsympathetic manner, that it felt like a deadly blow to the core of my very soul.

In what seemed like no time at all, I found myself being wheeled down the corridors of the hospital, to theatre, to have the remains of my pregnancy and my hopes and dreams for the future removed.

My earlier feelings of excitement, joy and anticipation, had suddenly been robbed and replaced with misery, heartbreak and grief.

How it feels to suffer a Miscarrige or Pregnancy Loss...

In the weeks and months that followed, I felt every emotion possible; shock, confusion, sadness, anger, jealousy, guilt, emptiness, isolation. Not to mention, the feeling of complete loss of control over my  life and my future.

“Don’t worry,” well-meaning people attempted to console me, “you can try again. It’s all for the best. There must have been something wrong with the baby. It’s just natures way.”

“It wasn’t a baby yet,” other people would say, as if that was supposed to console me in some way. But, as anyone who has suffered a miscarriage, will tell you, those are the absolute last words that you want to hear.

I realise to others, that my baby may only have been a fetus and so, perhaps in medical terms, "not a baby yet," but, to me, she was a baby.  From the moment I became pregnant, I began to imagine what our baby would be like, dreamily projecting our lives into the future. Instinctively, I had felt that she would be a girl. I had even chosen her name and bought a dress for her.

Although, I realise now, how premature this may have been, it doesn’t matter. The point is, that from the moment of discovering I was pregnant, I had begun to imagine how perfect our baby would be and who she might become one day in the future.

I had imagined the feelings I would have, when she was born. I imagined her first smile. I imagined her first few steps. I imagined, building sandcastles on the beach with her. I imagined her first day at school.

So, when somebody looses a baby, they are not only grieving the dreadful loss of their baby, but also the destruction of all of their hopes and dreams for the future.

My Second Pregnancy...

After my procedure, we were told to wait 3 months before ‘trying again.’ Meanwhile, I seemed to be surrounded by a tsunami of women breezing through pregnancy and childbirth, taking it all in their stride. “Why couldn’t that be me?” I couldn’t help but ask myself. But, when the required 3 months, finally rolled forward, I was fortunate enough to fall pregnant straight away.

This time however, there was no excitement, no eager expectation, no picking out baby names or buying things prematurely. The former excitement of my first pregnancy, had been replaced with anxiety and fear.

Several weeks into my pregnancy, I started to bleed.  Naturally, I couldnt help but fear the worse. My husband took me straight to the hospital, where I was scanned and our baby’s heartbeat was monitored. “There is still a heart-beat,” I was reassured. “You are still pregnant, but you need to take things easy.”

Despite, this initial scare, the pregnancy progressed and on 10th September 1997, my husband and I were blessed with a healthy baby boy, whom we named Harvey.  But, due to the loss of my first baby and the fear that it might happen again, I couldn’t relax and enjoy my pregnancy. My first experience of miscarriage had robbed me of that joy.

My Second Pregnancy Loss...

A few years after Harvey, was born, my husband and I decided that we would like to extend our family and I quickly fell pregnant again. This time, I was a little more relaxed, trusting that my pregnancy would progress to produce another healthy baby, like Harvey. Sadly, this was not the case.

Similar, to my first experience of pregnancy, I continued to experience all of the usual pregnancy symptoms, with no bleedng to cause concern.  So, I concluded that my pregnancy was developing, as it should be.

Sadly, once again, at my 14-week dating scan, I heard those brutal words echo around the room once more. “There is no heart-beat.  You are not pregnant."

The fact that I had already suffered a pregnancy loss before did not make this experience any easier.  The old familiar feelings of pain and grief rushed back.

Once again, my much loved and longed for baby had been robbed from me, along with my hopes and dreams for the future. Mother nature, it appeared had other plans for me.

My Battle With Pregnancy Related Sex Discrimination....

The pain and grief, of loosing my third baby, was compounded further, by the fact that, that I was fired from my job, during my period of grief and recuperation, for the crime of being pregnant. This served only to escalate my feelings of grief and loss, as I experineced a spiralling cocktail of emotions ranging from sadness, anger and betryal to powerlessness and despair.

This was one of the darkest moments of my life, which, sent me to the verge of a nervous breakdown. Aswell as trying to come to terms with the grief of loosing my baby, I was also faced with the loss of my livelihood, career and income, inducing an overwhelming sense of injustice and betrayal.

I will talk more about my experience of Pregnancy Discrimination and the Sex Discrimination Tribunal that I went onto win, in a future blog article. But needless to say the trauma and adversity of loosing two babies, compounded with the betrayal and injustice of Pregnancy Discrimination, altered not only my perspective on life, but also my life’s trajectory.

My Fourth Pregnancy...

Whilst I went on to give birth to another healthy baby boy, a few years later, on 14th September 2001, whom we named Elliott, the scars of my two pregnancy losses remained.

The Lessons that I learned from Miscarriage...

Whilst it is never possible to think of pregnancy loss without feelings of sadness and loss.  It is possible, in any situation of adversity, to try to look for the lessons and blessings that can arise from any situation, even if you can't see them at the time.

All, I can say to any woman who is experiencing something similar at the moment, is that time is a great healer and that things do get easier.

The biggest lesson that later arose from my own two pregnancy losses, was the gift of gratitude.  I was blessed with a powerful sense of gratitude and thankfullness, when my husband and I were finally blessed with two healthy baby boys.  

I was overwhelmed with an overriding sense of how precious they were and how lucky I was to have them.  

My experience of pregnancy loss, if nothing else, had taught me that Motherhood was a gift, which should never be taken for granted. 

How Pregnancy Loss helped me find my Purpose...

In fact, It was this feeling of joy and gratitude that inspired me to start my own Business, almost 20 years ago.

Whilst I was packing away Elliott’s newborn baby clothes, I experienced a sudden pang of sadness and panic at how quickly he was growing. I wanted to pause time and keep him tiny forever.

It was this realisation that spurred me into action to rekindle the love of pottery and ceramics, that I’d enjoyed at school. Without hesitation, I bought a small Ceramic Kiln, so that I could capture Harvey and Elliott’s Handprints in Ceramic Clay.

It took many trial errors and failed attempts to create the perfect Keepsake, capturing their tiny Hands and Feet in Ceramic Clay. But the finished Clay Impressions are as precious to me now, as they were then.

Harvey and Elliott’s Clay Imprints took pride of place in my home, receiving admiring glances from each and every visitor to our home.

Not before long, word about Harvey and Elliott's Clay Imprints had rushed through the village and I was receiving requests from other Mum's to create Clay Impressions of their own children.

Finally, I had transferred the pain and trauma of my pregnancy losses into purpose. I was helping other parents to capture their most precious moments and memories.

Eager to grow my Keepsake Business and make it the best it could be, I invested heavily in widening my product range, to include a Baby Life Casting Range, a Keepsake Jewellery Range and Ceramic Keepsake Range.

That was 20 years ago. There were no Baby Casting Courses and no Keepsake Jewellery Courses back then, so, I took inspiration from the feelings that I had felt during my pregnancy loss and was guided by my vision, to create the business and life of my dreams.

Very soon, not only did I have a queue of customers wanting to book appointments with me, but I also began receiving numerous enquiries from people who wanted to learn how to make the products and start a Keepsake Business.

Taking advantage of this demand, I opened a studio in 2008, where I began offering training courses in Ceramics, Baby Casting and Fingerprint Jewellery. Quickly, I began experiencing a growing demand from people all around the world, who wanted to attend my courses, but who could not travel, so in 2010, I launched my widely acclaimed series of Online Keepsake Courses.

Since that time, I have trained thousands of women all over the world to start and grow their own successful Baby Casting and Keepsake Businesses, who I train through The Craft Ecademy and support through The Keepsake Guild, which is now the largest organisation of professional Keepsake Artisans Worldwide.

Turning Pain to Purpose...

Although, of course, I still think about the two babies that I lost and what might have been. I no longer feel the same pain and anguish that I once did. As I have matured in years and wisdom and journeyed through life, I have faced many other losses and adversities, including a brain haemorrhage in 2016, which threatened not only to kill me, but also to rob my children of their mother. Whilst it is still sad to think about these experiences, I prefer now, to view them through a different lens.  

I try to view all negative experiences in my life, as part of life’s journey. We are here to learn and grow from our experiences, good and bad. What I have come to discover in life, is that change and challenge is inevitable, but growth is optional.  So, I always try to look for the lessons and blessings concealed in any of life's misfortunes, however difficult and painful that this can sometimes be.

I take comfort in believing that my two Angel Babies graced my life for a reason. They helped me to truly appreciate the gift of motherhood and guide me towards discovering my own true purpose.

This is why I am so passionate now about inspiring, educating and empowering other women to tap into their own hidden creativity, so that they can replicate the success that I have gained over the past 20 years, running my own successful Creative Home Business.

Inspired by the loss of my two Angel Babies, I am passionate about teaching other mum’s how to earn a profitable income from home, so that they can ditch their jobs and spend more time with their kids.

If you would like to discover the exact steps that I took to ditch my 9-5 and build a profitable lifestyle business (whilst raising my children as a single mum)… so that you can do the same. Please register for my FREE Guide or sign up for my FREE Mini Course.

If you have been personaly affected by Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Neontal Death, you can find support at The Miscarriage Assosiation or Sands.  

If you are searching to have a Keepsake made of your own Angel Baby, please search our Directory for your nearest Keepsake Artisan. 

I hope that my personal story of pregnancy loss provides some hope and support to other women, experiencing similar adversity.  If my story has touched you in any way, please come over and connect with me on Instagram.  I'm here to listen and to talk! :-) 

Links

http://go.thecraftecademy.co.uk/creative-home-business

http://go.thecraftecademy.co.uk/timeandfreedom