So as this is supposed to be a blog about women’s-y stuff and craft I’d better get relevant! What am I working on at the moment?
Well, it’s a special project and I’ve been spending as much time thinking about it as I have done making it so far. This is in contrast to my usual slapdash style. It is a small square for the Miscarriage Association’s patchwork quilt project. http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/
Around May/June time I was feeling very low and upset over my own miscarriage. There were a number of reasons for this – May was when the baby (Ellen) would have been born and this year she would have been 5 years old. While I have no idea what a 5 year old looks like I have no idea how she would have developed but I think this was still an unconscious landmark in my mind. Also someone in our office announced at that time that his girlfriend was expecting. However, I think both of those were secondary to a news article that I read in the paper. It stated that recent research had found that 146 babies per year were lost as a result of tests done in hospitals to determine whether the baby had any birth defects or not. This is how we lost Ellen – through a complication following amniocentesis – and the fact that it is such a shockingly common occurence really struck home with me.
I think, that what the article did for me was to relieve me of some of the guilt I’ve had since the miscarriage. It doesn’t matter how many times people tell you it wasn’t your fault – all you think is that you signed permission, you wanted the test to find out about the baby and as a result there is no baby. You feel a terrible burden of guilt; it’s inescapable. And this is in addition to the worries and guilt I had anyway when I was still pregnant. So I think having confirmation that I wasn’t alone was helpful – in a terrible way, the health system is letting people down but the fact of them doing so that often is helpful to me – does that make sense? I think the burden lifted somewhat leaving me with just pure grief.
I have tried to ensure that in a small way I have made the most of life since the miscarriage – if nothing else the pregnancy highlighted to me that I wasn’t ready, and that I wanted to do more – and I know those things aren’t desperately exciting – just getting another job, going places, learning more, trying new things. But I wouldn’t have done them if she had lived. It’s weird because I do feel like a better person for having the loss. But of course, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to try and change the past so I guess I’m just trying to make sure that the experience and pain was not in vain and I still think of her practically every day.
So there I was, with my grief, and a friend suggested that I go back to the Miscarriage Association for further help or possible counselling. It was then that I found their quilt project in memory of lost babies. So I’ve designed a small square to reflect our baby and what she might have become. My husband suggested that as there’s a strong possibility that she was conceived on Windmill Lane (where he lived at the time) we should have a windmill on it. And I have always found solace and great comfort in sitting by the sea and listening and watching the waves. So I want to some waves on it. I want it to be colourful and tactile so it will be bordered with bright material and I’m adding beads to it too. When it’s done I’ll post a picture up here of it – at the moment it’s just the windmill.
It is helping, being able to produce something. Progress reports will follow