When I was in the grips of post-natal depression, I turned to the internet.
I’d type a few words into the search engine eagerly – no – desperately, awaiting a response.
I’d trawl those responses for what I wanted or needed to read.
Was it validation I required? Probably.
That feeling of sheer isolation to abate? More than anything in the world.
I needed to know that what was going on in my brain; what besieged my life; what scared devastated and confused me, wasn’t something that was just limited to me. That I wasn’t going totally and utterly insane.
When I felt able to, almost 2 years after the symptoms of post-natal depression and anxiety first took a vice like grip of me, I wrote about my experience.
Was I looking for attention? No – that’s not the sort of attention I crave.
Did I want sympathy? Absolutely not – being on the receiving end of sympathy makes me uncomfortable, especially from strangers.
Was it therapeutic? In ways I can’t even articulate to you. Writing is and always will be my free gateway to some sort of therapy.
Did I hope others might find it a comfort? A resounding yes. Because, in my darkest moments, I sought comfort, even if it was a modicum of solace and support in other people’s words and experiences.
When my relationship with my son’s father came to an end, I did the same. I’d scour the internet for blogs, articles, forums and commentary on other people’s experiences of what is a really stressful and emotional time. And when the time felt right to put finger to keyboard about that experience, I did just that. For the therapy. For the closure. For the healing. And also, to help other people – both men and women who are living or maybe have lived through the same.
When I was given the news that the sonographer couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat one month ago today, I left that room feeling so many emotions. Emotions I can’t yet articulate. Not in a necessarily coherent way.
However, one thing I knew once I got home was that I needed information. Information that I might not be able to obtain as quickly as I’d like. I was at the start of a really difficult journey. A journey that took time. And patience. Patience that I didn’t know if I had.
So you can guess by now what I did.
Throughout the 2 weeks or so that followed, I read some heart-breaking articles; some comforting articles and some factual articles. Blogs, articles and forum commentary that articulated exactly what I was going through as I was going through it.
When I read Meghan Markle’s piece for the New York Times this morning, it was off the back of a really horrible dream I had last night; a dream that left me experiencing a panic attack. The dream was so vivid it shocked me to my core. My head span out for a couple of hours after waking up, but I seemed to stop in my tracks as I heard the sad news break. My heart sank. It’s a trigger. I see and hear triggers all the time at the moment but I knew I needed to read her beautifully written post.
It was a hard read. I didn’t read it in its entirety, for reasons I’m sure you can understand, but I will go back to it at a later date. It deserves to be read.
Meghan didn’t do that for attention, despite what many have exclaimed today.
Meghan did that for women like me. Meghan did that to break down stigmas often associated with baby loss. And, quite possibly, she did that to help herself process an awful experience. To heal.
One of the reasons I’ve not written about my miscarriage yet is because I’m not ready to share it. I want to: I want to feel the pain ease with every word that leaves my fingers; I want to offer comfort and wisdom to other people who are going through the same horrendous time. But, I’ve always been about timing. Now just ain’t the time.
But now was the time for Meghan. She invited us into her pain and laid herself bare. Likely knowing how her many, many critics will predictably react but still doing it all the while.
If you can’t respect her for that. Don’t.
However, if the first thing you do upon hearing the news a woman has suffered a miscarriage is to write vitriolic comments on your social media app of choice, it will always, always, always say more about you than her.