Coffee Conversations,  Lifestyle,  Musings

Lessons in Love, Loss & Irish Politics.

This year has been full of ups and downs. I might even say that it began as the best and worst year of my life. 

Lessons in Loss.

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I fell pregnant in January of this year! It was amazing for me, even though beforehand I never really thought much about becoming a parent. Less than a month after that discovery, we were absolutely devastated to learn that our baby had a Neural Tube Defect, known as Anencephaly. This meant that our babies growth was interrupted around 21 days when the spine and skull finished forming. Because of this, our baby had no chance of survival. 

Upon learning this, we decided the best thing for everyone involved was to have a termination (you can read my story about it here). I learned so much from this experience alone, but for me, the real and raw lessons began once we returned home. 

The 8th. 

When I was in the UK, I was reading that our government had decided on a date to hold the referendum on Repealing the 8th Amendment. The timing seemed like one big joke to me. I couldn’t believe that I was having a termination right in the middle of our country debating about it, both sides ripping each other to shreds over it. 

I saw a van, one of those advertising ones. It was ‘Love Both’. It said 1 in 4 healthy babies are aborted in the UK (I doubt the figure, but I have no idea honestly) and it made me cry in the cold, slushy, melting snow morning I came home. Healthy. That word just got to me. I realised so quickly how narrow-minded and one-sided that argument was going to be. Feeling guilty looking at the poster, but knowing had I had a healthy baby, this wouldn’t have even been a question. 

I stiffed my upper lip throughout a lot of the campaign but deep down it tugged at every one of my emotions. I really, really wanted this sometimes backwards country to vote yes and do the right thing so I followed it closely. 

I found out about TFMR, an organisation campaigning for repeal that had all experienced issues similar to mine and I took such solace in knowing that these people were making something great out of their tragedy. I did feel guilty that I wasn’t campaigning. I know no one would have expected me to, being so soon, but I didn’t want to let women down. I just routinely shared my blog post around, asking people to listen. People I knew from school messaged and told me my story was the one that fully convinced them to vote yes, and I was comforted by that. 

Things upset me, be they rational or otherwise. I was upset that so many “nay sayers” had never experienced this type of trauma. I was upset when I learned how many people don’t believe any abnormalities are fatal. I was upset that there were no Yes posters in my village, but plenty of the other. I got upset when I saw that people campaigning for yes were abused in the streets. I wanted to personally thank so many that were standing up for what was right. Campaigning to repeal the 8th to me was thousands of strangers supporting me, supporting the reasons why I had to terminate. It was respecting what I went through and preventing other people that here those crushing diagnoses from feeling so betrayed by their own country and government. 

It took every bit of my strength to vote that day. I woke up overwhelmed with emotion. I voted proudly, treated myself to an ice-cream and sat by waiting to hear the results. I felt the strangest feeling when the vote came through, such a large victory. I just felt proud but on another level. This is the only thing that made my journey worth it. I didn’t feel so bitter about it after this, I just couldn’t wait for it to be implemented because I knew there were girls in need like right now. 

Nothing is that simple. 

Knowing that the country was in favour of allowing terminations, I assumed it would be set into motion quickly. Unfortunately, it might be a while before we see abortion here. It’s very frustrating knowing that sometime in the future women will get help, when right now as you’re reading this an Irish woman is going through the worst heartache in a cold and unfamiliar country. Actually, it’s more than likely more than one. 

A loss that is gone once it has gone. 

I bare absolutely no grudges to anyone but baby loss is the weirdest one to experience. Since maybe April it’s been hard to talk about my loss with the people around me because they simply don’t know what to say. I don’t blame them, at all. For me though, it’s been hard because I feel as though my baby stopped being acknowledged by most. It’s something a lot of people that experience this go through. Some don’t understand the impact it can have, only knowing about it for a few months make the loss no less substantial than any other family member. 

In another sense, the time has done me a lot of good. I won’t lie in the immediate aftermath I hated everything baby related. I couldn’t see babies or women with bumps, it all just hurt too much! Now, I am doing great and these things don’t set me off but when they did I thought that would never end. 

Women are f*cking amazing.

When people learn about my experience, they often reach out to me. As recently as yesterday I received the most supportive message from a lady who read my post and wanted to let me know they experienced something similar and thought I was brave for being so open about it. 

This is only one of the many things that show me just how amazing and supportive we can be to each other! I want to be vocal and active in educating people on baby loss and I have met some serious warriors over the last few months, ladies I may only be acquainted with but think the world of. The honesty and dignified way baby loss is being spoken about is changing the tide, it’s no longer swept under the carpet. I’d like to thank every single one of these people for helping me to feel less alone and for sharing those tough experiences with me. 

Lessons in futures.

All of this has helped me to figure out some things about the future. I guess it’s true that in every hardship we go through, we learn so much. I have experienced one of those defining struggles that have allowed me to become a better person. I’ve had so much time to sit and reflect and it’s so much clearer what is important and what isn’t. 

Without being too cryptic, I can say things are looking up right now! I’m happier in myself and some things are happening behind the scenes that I can’t talk about right now but am very happy about. 

One thing I am sure of is I will somehow become more active in helping people to understand baby loss, miscarriage etc. I also want to do a little fundraiser in the future for the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin as they handled me with care, respected my decision and do great things for ill babies up there! 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post! I’m not the most open when it comes to my blog but I’m changing that one post at a time and showing you the real me! Please feel free to give feedback or chat with me in relation to any of the topics discussed. 

signature
Maggie Shalloe

Blogger and Dreamer. I love blogging and creating, I'm glad you've stopped by to read some of my creations!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: