Popular blogger Leandra Medine, founder of style and culture site Man Repeller, has penned a powerful essay about her recent pregnancy loss and it’s striking a chord with other grieving mums.
Warning: This post contains discussion about depression and miscarriage.
The baby I lost, the person I’m finding
Leandra published the piece – The Baby I Lost, the Person I’m Finding – on Man Repeller back on December 6th and it’s prompted an outpouring of support and commentary on the painful experiences of miscarriage and depression during pregnancy.
Leandra had struggled with fertility issues, eventually undertaking IVF in an attempt to start a family with husband, financial adviser Abie Cohen.
Several unsuccessful attempts later, she fell pregnant naturally. At four weeks, she was elated, but by week ten she was debilitated by nausea and crippling mood swings.
Leandra writes openly about the obviously harrowing weeks that followed.
“By week 11, the mood swings turned into full-blown depression,” Leandra wrote.
“I started to feel, I don’t know, dead inside. I tried to power through it and remind myself, again, that at the end of this would be a baby. My baby.”
“At week 14, I lost the baby.”
What followed were impossibly difficult days. Leandra tried to be open about her miscarriage and soldier on, all the while trying to come to grips with the pain and disappointment of losing her baby.
“I want to be pregnant”
As she grappled with grief and other complex feelings, several close friends announced their own pregnancies.
“This, of course, made me want to die,” she wrote.
Life became a cocktail of complex feelings – disbelief, anger, sadness, emptiness, confusion and guilt.
“I had gone from pregnant to regular again in a cruel, brutal flash. The second beating heart was no longer there, the bouncing had conclusively been terminated. But I don’t want to be a regular person. I want to be pregnant. I’ll take the vomiting and the fatigue and the severe mood swings — I swear I’ll work on the nastiness — just please, give me a baby,” Leandra wrote.
“Am I being punished? Tested? I don’t know.”
“I love you”
Leandra shared her experience in an effort to shine a light on the often isolating and sometimes secret experience of pregnancy loss, and to encourage people to focus more on self-care and compassion.
“I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’m writing this because yesterday, I woke up feeling hopeful again.” Leandra posted.
She wrote about just how tough she’d been on herself (and perhaps others) over the years and said her heartbreaking loss had also been an important turning point.
“The most important thing I did.. was starting talking to myself. I mean really talking to myself.”
“I looked into the mirror and apologized, first for saying such nasty things. I thanked my body for recovering. I told us that it’s okay to be sad. That we would get through this, that we’re strong.”
“I tried to give myself the advice that I would give to my own daughter. Or to my best friend. I congratulated my body for getting pregnant on its own. I commended it for holding a baby for 14 weeks. I assured it that together, we would hold another. Several others! Those times for much longer. I ran my fingers through my hair and I said ‘I love you.'”
— Man Repeller (@ManRepeller) December 6, 2016