I honestly think I could have dealt with my own disappointment. It was the sense that I was responsible for Justin’s heartbreak that felt the worse, and I was haunted by the fear we would never be the parents we wanted to be.
Meanwhile, I was holding it together for the outside world. There was no time off work to process the grief of our disappointments. Instead, after each failure, I would force myself back into work clothes and with a slick of lip gloss and a well-practised smile, continue my very public job while concealing the searing pain as best I could.
As any newly-married will tell you, everyone expects you’ll be starting a family soon. The weight of that expectation bears down ever more heavily each time you lose another baby. At the same time, everyone I knew seemed to be producing healthy adorable babies. It became almost unbearable. I was unable even to see our nieces for a while – they served as too strong a reminder of what I couldn’t have. In the street, everyone but me seemed to be pushing a pram.
We were lucky that our relationship didn’t suffer. In fact, our shared grief seemed to bring us closer. We had resolved to adopt – a journey we were excited to be pursuing. At the same time, we sought medical support from the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic at St Mary’s Hospital in west London under the expert care of the indomitable Dame Lesley Regan.
We made some life changes. I left the BBC. I took some time off work and had major surgery. A few months later, by what felt like a miracle, we conceived again – and that is the start of where our journey, very happily, changed direction. I was about to start a new job, taking on a revamp of 5 News. When my pregnancy made it into the media (again, courtesy of the phone-hacking) I was heavily criticised for taking a job and immediately falling pregnant. This led to a series of national debates on the morality of such a “choice”. Little did anyone know of my continual fear that I was about to miscarry again. I kept my silence and prayed.
I did not dare let myself feel excited until our son Arlo was safely delivered and in my arms. Just as nothing had prepared me for the trauma of miscarriage, nothing could really have readied me for the overwhelming elation I felt when we finally had our baby. I felt I had given birth to a prince.
It wasn’t long before I fell pregnant again, with our daughter Angelica, my princess. Once my body had worked as it should, I wasn’t going to give it a chance to mess up again. Arlo is now 12 and Angelica 10. Despite the promise I made to myself that I would speak out, it has taken me this long to feel able to share the heartache. I do not do so to indulge in self pity, but only to try to offer hope and encouragement to other women – and men – to know they are not alone.
It’s shameful that the beginnings of pregnancy remain so shrouded in secrecy. If we felt able to talk about it more, women could support each other better and we might all have an improved understanding of quite how common miscarriage is. It is estimated that about one in four recognised pregnancies end this way.
I have kept all my positive pregnancy test results, including those that were not successful. I still have the scan pictures of the babies that did not make it. I will never forget that they existed. My children say I am overprotective of them. But they know what I went through to get them – and they know they are my most cherished prize.
As told to Rosa Silverman
Miscarriage: Our Story airs on Channel 5 on Oct 15 at 10pm; Baby Loss Awareness Week runs until Oct 15 – for more info visit babyloss-awareness.org
If you’ve had a miscarriage and would like to share your experience, please fill in your details below. You are welcome to use ‘Anonymous’ if you prefer.