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Don't they realize the world has stopped? 

By Kirsty Prescott
5th May 1998

Their world doesn't stop. The hospital staff look grave by my bedside but, as I watch them go about their every day work, they smile, shout, laugh, get cross.

I'm losing my baby, don't you care?, I want to shout as I hear them discussing their Friday night arrangements. On Friday night I'll still be numb with grief and you will be enjoying yourselves. They do care. But their world doesn't stop. They see tragedies each day - many greater than mine. They have learned to cope. And after all, as people say, miscarriage is common - as if being common stops it from being a tragedy. If lots of people suffer a tragedy does it stop being a tragedy - a philosophical question I can answer. My lip is sore with biting as I try so hard to be brave but still the tears flow. So I give up being brave and wear my emotion like a low-cut spangled dress - without dignity and there for all to see. I have tests. My baby is gone. How can I cope with everyday activities, how can I return to the treadmill? Now even collecting my daughter from nursery seems a chore.

My husband has returned to work. He'll be chatting with colleagues, then tearing his hair out at some difficult task. He'll have switched off from our heartache but he'll still call me now and again to see how I am. I don't blame him. He is carrying on just as those medical people tell me to. My husband's world has not stopped. I feel empty - not surprising as the thing (a baby) growing inside me has died. I feel angry - why me? I feel sad for my daughter - she has lost her playmate and a friend in the future. I feel I have let her down robbing her of a brother or sister. And now I'm finding the essential tasks of caring for her almost too much. And I feel guilty - for the first time in my life I realize I am not immortal. I have thresholds. This is all my fault - I over did it. I worked too hard.

The doctors tell me it is just one of those things. It will happen however much you work or rest. I don't believe them. My telephone is unusually quiet. It isn't the sort of thing you ring up to tell people - not like announcing an imminent arrival - so many people don't know. But those who do know don't call. Even my parents don't call.

People are frightened I'll cry. They don't want to be embarrassed. Raw emotion of any kind is uncomfortable. They think I want to be left alone, which I do but I also want to be hugged and to have a shoulder to cry on. I want to be quiet and I want to talk and talk and talk. I want to talk about my baby, whose heart I saw beating so strong on a scan. Sometimes I forget plans I made around my new baby are no longer valid. I won't need a new car or new house. I won't be on maternity leave from work at Christmas.

I forget I don't need to look after my body with such care. I don't need to eat the dreaded broccoli. I wish I could have broccoli now. Its unpleasant taste would be a comfort.

I can drink alcohol again but don't touch a drop. Drinking, even a glass of wine, would seem an insult to my dead unborn child. I'm now allowed a pleasure because it has died. I still feel sick in the morning - a psychosomatic symptom or caused by tension and too little to eat? People think it doesn't matter as much because I already have a child. But it does. Children aren't teacups. You can't just buy a new one when one smashes.

I look out of my window. People are travelling to work, buying stamps at the post office and stopping to chat. Why are they doing this? Don't they realize the world has stopped?

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