Jo’s corporate career lost all meaning for her after miscarrying her much-wanted baby son. Learning to feel joy again has led to a new career helping other women like her.

I lost my first baby at 24 weeks. During a routine scan when I was feeling excited at the prospect of hearing the tiny little heart beat again, they told me something wasn’t right. I’ll never forget that interminable silence as the stenographer got up and left the room to get a second opinion without telling me why. Time slowed down. I felt sick with a sense of dread and panic.

Eventually the consultant took me into her office and calmly explained that there was amniotic fluid inside the baby and not enough in the sac. The news was bad: our baby wouldn’t survive. Either we had to have a termination or let things take their course naturally. I was told to go home over the weekend and decide.

I went back to the small two-bedroom flat I shared with my boyfriend and broke the awful news. All weekend I felt lost, numb and empty, like I was walking inside a bubble. Then on the Sunday I felt a searing pain in my abdomen – and then nothing. I sensed what this meant and when we returned on the Monday we were told our baby boy had died. I was inconsolable. This little being I had carried inside me for 24 weeks was gone – I just couldn’t get my head around it and the tears flowed non-stop.

Because I was over 25 weeks pregnant by this point I had to give birth, which only added to my overwhelming distress. Even though he was gone we named him John, as he’d been alive for all those weeks inside me. The hospital arranged a funeral in the chapel.

When I went home I just felt dead inside. My boyfriend tried to console me by buying in all my favourite foods. He didn’t know what to do or how to behave around me and I just wanted to be left alone. It was awkward between us – I felt his sense of inadequacy over how to behave and I couldn’t stop crying.

“I’d always loved my job and been happy-go-lucky, but now I couldn’t pretend”

Eventually I returned to work, feeling lost and alone and different. But my heart was no longer it. At the time I was working in Financial Marketing in the City with a team of great people. I’d always loved my job and been happy-go-lucky, but now I couldn’t pretend I felt the same way and corporate life felt hollow and cold. I had counselling, which helped a little, but not enough. I resigned a few weeks later. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but this wasn’t it. I was lost for a while trying to make sense of my loss and what I could do with my future.

I knew I wasn’t the same anymore. I wanted to do something else, something that had meaning, to make a difference to people’s lives. Then I read an article about aromatherapy and it changed everything for me. When I read about hands-on healing and how aromatherapists use natural oils and massage to soothe and comfort, the hairs on my arms stood up. There was a big ‘yes’ within me at the idea of something so good coming out of my own trauma.

I trained as an Aromatherapist at the Tisserand Institute and this started my holistic journey. A whole new world opened up. I studied reiki, hypnotherapy and energy healing. I learnt about how things are stored in our subconscious mind and can drive the way we react to certain circumstances.

The part of the diploma that surprised me the most and ultimately helped me to heal was the energy healing module – it totally blew my socks off. We learnt a variety of healing techniques that channel energy into you by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of your body. And these worked incredibly well for me, helping to release my hurt and trauma over losing John.

“What ultimately helped me to heal was the energy healing module – it totally blew my socks off”

Now with a toolbox of experience in holistic therapies and coaching and my lived experience of the trauma of miscarriage, I had something to offer women who had been through the same as me, women who often feel isolated and unheard. I am now a holistic complimentary therapist, using all the disciplines and treatments I’ve learnt to help hundreds of women heal holistically and let go of the trauma of miscarriage. Last year I launched my coaching service, Life After Miscarriage, to provide support and coaching to these women, both in groups and one to one. I’ve also written a book by the same name.

I have learnt that the pain of losing a baby through miscarriage lessens over time, but you never forget. I’ve learnt that your friends and family become uncomfortable when you talk about it constantly, so you have to keep your feelings to yourself. I’ve learnt that it puts a strain on your relationships and that you can spiral downwards into depression, guilt and blame. And I’ve learnt that it is possible to carry babies to term even after losing a baby to miscarriage – we now have two teenage daughters.

I have let go of all those difficult emotions and I’m happy to say that I’m now mostly a happy-go-lucky and calm person like I used to be. I’ve transformed myself with others’ help. It has taken me a long time and I wish I’d known at the time about the tools that have helped me so much. But I also know, no matter how long ago it happened, we can still heal and find closure today. It’s been an incredibly tough journey since losing John, but finding a meaningful career and helping other women has given me a real sense of purpose that keeps driving me forwards.

Words: Marina Gask

Photo: Lucy Williams www.lucywilliamsphotography.co.uk
Hair and makeup: Rachel Barclay www.rachelbarclaymakeup.com

Jo’s book Life After Miscarriage, Your Guide To Healing From Pregnancy Loss will be available from Amazon in November and at life-after-miscarriage.com

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