“As far as I recall I was always made to feel special by my family. Being the youngest and the only daughter, my brothers and parents adored me. After finishing my Engineering, I started working. Soon after my parents asked me to meet Praduman. When I was sure he was the one for me we decided to get married. I was supposed to move to the UK from India after our marriage.
My husband was in Scotland when I first decided to join him. When I landed in Edinburgh, with me I brought a suitcase full of dreams. Dreams of a glorious life my husband and I were to share. At the outset, everything was magical. Edinburgh was enthralling with beautiful architecture and history. However, as I started settling in, I began to miss my life in India, especially my friends and family. The cold and wet Scotland weather wasn’t a big help either. After my husband would leave for work and I’d finish all the house chores, I didn’t know what else to do. With my varied work experience, I was not very sure of my job prospects in a new country. Fortunately, one of our family friends was planning to open a café and they offered me a job. I decided to take it up to fill my time. I was so happy to be back at work finally. My first day at work didn’t go as planned, I was feeling quite unwell. Throughout the day, I kept feeling queasy. The next few days were no different. Thus, I decided to see a doctor. I was completely unprepared for what I was told. I was expecting. I was nervous but glad. My husband was ecstatic. Nonetheless, my sickness was getting worse by the day. I couldn’t even manage to leave home because of my sickness. It wasn’t fair on my employer, hence with a very heavy heart, I decided to quit my job. Finally, I was diagnosed with ‘hyperemesis gravidarum’ a form of acute morning sickness. I had these severe bouts of sickness throughout the day. I was sure it would get better after the first trimester, but nothing changed even after 3-4 months. Every day was a struggle, but the thought of holding my baby in my arms kept me going. To help us my mother-in-law joined us, I was thankful for that. We finished all the shopping and started waiting for the baby to arrive. The due date came and passed but nothing happened. I was getting a little restless now, I couldn’t wait for our bundle of joy to arrive. My nausea was still bad, yet I was happy as there were only a few more days to go. Surprisingly, life has a habit of throwing curveballs at you when you least expect it.
A couple of days after my due date I started feeling uneasy. I could feel the baby only on one side and that was making me nervous. We decided to visit the doctor to calm our minds. I was told to wait for an Ultra Scan. When our turn came, I was ushered into a dimly lit room and asked to lie down on the bed. The sonographer put her handle on my tummy and after what appeared like few seconds whispered very softly,’ I am so sorry, but your child has no heartbeat.’ I shot my husband a questioning glance but he seemed equally confused. What exactly she meant by that? Why was she sounding so despondent? But then she quickly rushed out to call the consultant. He walked in and said something about losing the baby and that’s when the reality hit me. We had lost our baby. How was that even possible? How could that happen? It was not supposed to happen! We were not prepared for it!
It was all blurry after that. I was told there was only one option available and that was to give birth to the baby. This meant I was to go into labour and give birth. It was all like a bad dream. Physically it was painful like any other delivery, but the pain didn’t restrict itself to my body, it had engulfed my heart and soul too. After delivery, I was asked if I wanted to see my child, somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. A decision, I still regret! It could have probably given me some closure I so badly needed.
We came back home but without our baby. I resumed my daily routine. I had somehow blocked all my emotions. I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone and strangely, no one discussed it with me. It was as if it never really happened. After, one year I realized I was expecting again. Doctors were very cautious this time as it was considered a high-risk pregnancy. I again had a bad sickness, but everything went well and I gave birth to a beautiful boy. We named him Aryaman. Everything was falling into place finally or that’s what I thought.
After a few years, my father passed away suddenly. On hearing the news I went numb again and couldn’t bring myself to cry. And then my breathing became irregular. I could feel my heart thumping against my chest and passed out. I was rushed to A&E, we sat there all through the night, but they couldn’t find the cause. We were sent back home. Next night we were back in the hospital. Finally, after spending a few nights in hospital I was diagnosed with Panic and Anxiety attacks. I was put on medication. All the unresolved emotions inside me had finally erupted. I was always told that I was a strong woman and strong women don’t grieve. Strangely, people who had labeled me strong without my permission didn’t like it when they realized, I wasn’t. But I knew I had some difficult emotions which I probably needed to let go.
Letting go is never easy. That’s why so much has been written about it. We are constantly told to let go of our egos, our prejudices, and attachments. But how do you let go of the insurmountable grief when you suffer a loss. The loss which leaves your soul so badly crushed that nothing seems to take away the pain. A loss that fills your heart with sorrow and eyes with tears every time you talk about it or even think about it. A loss, so personal that you feel you can’t share it with anyone. To the world, you may be an embodiment of strength, but they don’t realize that you have broken into many pieces. People tell you repeatedly how much they admire your courage when your inner core is screaming not to put you on that pedestal. To treat you like an ordinary person who feels as much pain as others. Yet, you ignore that inner voice of yours, you still wear that smile every day and go on through days, months, and years mechanically. Not surprisingly, it does not last long, because one day your body and mind give up and give up on you completely. When the surge of your unresolved emotions flows out it consumes everything, not only you but everyone around you. So, let people grieve their losses. Don’t tell them they are strong when all they want is a shoulder to cry on. Grieving is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you are alive. You only experience pain when you are alive.
After my anxiety attack, I realised I needed a purpose in my life, something which would not only keep me busy but also give my life a new direction. While clicking pictures of my son one day, I discovered my passion for photography. I started learning it and today my passion has become my profession. It has helped me immensely to come out of the dark hole, I was getting into. To keep myself fit physically, I look forward to my daily workouts. I also plan to go for counseling very soon.
I am still ‘work in progress’ and haven’t healed completely. But I am hopeful just as the trees prepare themselves for spring by losing all their leaves in autumn, I am getting prepared to bloom again. One day I will be strong enough to take on anything in my life, not because someone will tell me to but, because I will be ready to.”
“This is not the life you pictured but here you are! You can still make something beautiful. Grieve. Breathe. Begin again”. Thema Bryant Davis