Here’s what I learned about my relationship with my husband after my miscarriage
I was welcomed into a big and loud family with open arms and ultimately into the life of the most loving and caring person after uttering “qubool hai, qubool hai, qubool hai” amidst heavy tears. Although it was an arranged marriage, it soon turned into a blissful love marriage thanks to the most wonderful person I proudly call my husband. And the lovely days became more joyous and euphoric when my pregnancy report came positive three months into the marriage.
Initially I was a bit nervous. The thought that may be it is too soon also crossed my mind, but I was ecstatic nonetheless.
And so was my husband. Soon, the agonizing nausea, weakness, back pains, migraines and stinging lower-abdominal pain followed. The rest was all customary, but the lower abdomen pain was a bit alarming for my mother-in-law. Immediately, an appointment with one of the best gynecologists was arranged, while on the other hand, advice and instructions were offered (more like coerced).
My mother-in-law used to share her experiences about how she managed all the household chores – from doing laundry and sweeping the floor to lifting heavy weights and climbing stairs – during her pregnancy which resulted in normal deliveries, while her other daughter-in-law took to bed and ended up having a C-section. Upon hearing these stories repeatedly, I decided to be just as active as her so that I could have a normal delivery too and also to avoid being criticized for being lazy.
Just a day before my first appointment, I was in the kitchen, boiling rice as per my mother-in-law’s request, when I felt a stabbing pain in my lower abdomen. Foolishly enough I tried to ignore it at first. But when the pain refused to subside I went upstairs to my room and laid down on the bed. The pain took quite some time to go away. Sadly, I was so ignorant and naive (or plainly stupid) that I thought of it as just another routine pain and went downstairs to go about my daily chores.
Later, after dinner, when I came to my room and was changing into my pajamas, I noticed that my underwear was drenched in blood.
My heart stopped beating for a second. I rushed to my husband and told him. I could actually see blood draining from his face, while he tried to look composed. He rushed to his mom, who ushered me into the car and we rushed to the hospital immediately. Throughout the journey I was silently crying and praying to God to save my unborn child.
Everything from thereon was a haze. I only remember shedding tears and praying discreetly and my husband trying to keep a brave front while consoling me, while he was just as shaken as I was. Within that hazy state I was taken for an ultrasound, where the radiologist took a good 15 minutes scanning me before calling another radiologist to scan me too, all the while discussing something in hushed tones. I was freaking out! I asked them a couple of times if everything was alright but they simply ignored me and told me to show the reports to a doctor before dismissing me.
As I exited the room, all my restraint gave way and I broke down in the lobby in front of all the patients. My mother-in-law and husband rushed to my side and tried consoling me. All the words of faith and optimism were like a lulling sound in the backdrop. Eventually, we went to the doctor to show the report. She looked at the reports and then at me and decided to start off with the good news.
Her words, “The good news is that there is a heartbeat…” jolted me into my senses.
This ray of hope was enough to breathe a new life into me. While my heart was humming with gratification towards the Almighty, the doctor had continued, “Bleeding in the first trimester is never a good sign. You need to be extra careful now. And mentally prepare yourself for anything may happen.”
With that, we headed back home. I was content that everything was okay. I was advised bed rest. My maika and susraal were a good distance away, hence my mother-in-law asked me to avoid traveling long distances and instead invite my family to visit as often as I like, to which I readily agreed. The next day I had my first appointment with my gynaecologist, which went okay. It was my fourth week and my next appointment was scheduled for the eighth week, on which I had to appear with the latest ultrasound report.
Meanwhile, everyone was being very caring and helpful. Since I was a newly wedded bride, we had a number of invitations pending for shaadi ki dawats and picnics, which were gladly accepted by my mother-in-law. I was content and happy again. I’ll be honest, I ignored all the precautions, and being the chirpy active person that I was, at times became too reckless. My room was on the first floor, so I used to go down twice or thrice a day for meals and the evening tea, keeping my mother-in-law’s previous advice in mind about staying active by doing small chores.
Soon the day for my next appointment approached and I went for the ultrasound accompanied by my mother-in-law.
I was extremely excited about how I’d get to see my baby – the little fetus – in my womb. As I was lying on the bed, waiting for the scan to commence, all excited and bounding with energy, I had no clue that what awaited me would turn my world upside down.
The radiologist had started doing the scan with a smile but soon her expressions became grave. She took sometime before putting the device down and asking me to clean myself up and take a seat in front of her. As I was trying to assess what she wanted to say from her expressions, my heart was pounding heavily.
“The baby has no heartbeat,” she said with a sense of finality. “The growth stopped at the sixth week.”
I was hoping that she would say something more, I was hoping she would say something that didn’t mean I had had a miscarriage. Something like how a certain medicine or an injection can start the heartbeat again or something like a little rest or care can set everything right again, like the last time. But she said nothing of the sort. She asked me to go to my doctor, while she gives her the update about my report.
When I came out of the radiology lab, my expressions might have told my mother-in-law that something wasn’t right. She hurried towards me and I told her what the radiologist had said. She tried comforting me but I was numb. I couldn’t see or feel anything at the moment. We went to the doctor’s room, where my reports had already arrived.
She told me that the fetus had died in my womb two weeks ago and I need to get it aborted before it becomes dangerous for my life.
That’s when the tears came back again. I didn’t want to abort it. I didn’t want to let it go. Even if it was not alive anymore. I just couldn’t think straight. What I felt at that moment is just inexplicable. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I had suffered a miscarriage.
The doctor explained the entire termination procedure to my mother-in-law. She got the necessary paperwork done and brought me home. I came to my room and set myself on the edge of my bed. Hours went by. I was in the same position until the door opened and my husband entered. Someone had called him.
He came towards me and gathered me in his arms and that’s when I let go. I cried and cried and cried for I don’t know how long. We didn’t say anything to each other, we tried to find solace in each other’s arms. He was just as broken as I was about our miscarriage but he tried to be the strong rock for my sake. And I am grateful for that.
The next day I was admitted to the hospital. I won’t go into the details. Let’s just say the procedure was beyond painful. But the excruciating physical pain was nothing compared to the mental trauma I went through when I lost my baby.
You’d think that was it. But there was more in store. See, people, obviously, had a lot to say.
The things that I got to hear from people – close and distant alike – was an affliction in itself. When I had first spotted blood in my underwear, a close relative said to me, “Aur karo uchhal kood, dekh lia na kia hua.”
The day after my abortion, I was lying on my hospital bed and sharing my guilt with my mother-in-law. I told her that I consider myself guilty for not being careful enough. Her response was, “Haan yeh tou hai lekin wahi baat hai kay agar Allah chahta tou carelessness kay bawajood bacha bach jata.”
Her words cut through me like a knife.
Despite all this, I am grateful for the constant support from my husband, who was my strongest support system.
After the miscarriage, I was in the abyss of depression. I used to wake up at nights and cry like a baby. I would have nightmares about losing my baby. Any news about someone’s pregnancy or arrival of a baby in someone’s family would trigger fresh set of tears. Despite my incessant crying, my husband was always there for me without as much as a crease on his brow.
Eventually, I realized that the loss was not only mine but his too. He too needs a shoulder to cry on, to be vulnerable for once while someone holds him and tells him that everything is going to be okay. He must have been tired of being strong all this time. This realization made me get a grip on myself and bring myself to live life again.
I stopped crying in front of him. I started trying to be my old self again, like getting ready before he comes home from work, being the chirpy-self I used to be, making fun of him etc.
Things came back to normal somehow, after the trauma of my miscarriage. Doctor had advised us to take a break for at least 3-6 months before trying for the next pregnancy. We impatiently waited for this period to end and started trying three months later but to no avail. Every month, I would test for pregnancy and the negative result would trigger my depression again.
Time passed by as we kept trying. It had almost been a year since the miscarriage and I was still not pregnant. I had lost all hope; and this time so had my husband. I had stopped being careful about lifting weights and using stairs during my fertile days as there was no hope despite visiting my gynecologist , who had said there’s nothing wrong with me and I’ll get pregnant when Allah wills.
During that time, there were renovations going on and some guests were staying over at our place. There was a lot of work and I would end up feeling tired at the end of the day. My back and feet used to hurt because of climbing up and down the stairs all day long and lifting things to clean and decorate.
One day, I felt so sick that I almost fell down from dizziness, followed by throwing up whatever I had eaten. My husband immediately brought a pregnancy strip and asked me to do the test.
Those few minutes that I waited for the red lines to appear were the longest few minutes of my life. I had flashbacks about my miscarriage. When I came out of the bathroom, I was all teary-eyed. My husband sighed, hugged me and said, “Koi baat nahi. Insha Allah next time Allah humay mayoos nahi karay ga…” He was blabbering on when I interrupted him, “It is positive!” For a minute he didn’t believe what he heard and kept looking at me, but my broad grin was enough to tell him that what he heard was right.
Now, I’ve recently given birth to a healthy baby boy. It was a struggle getting here from my miscarriage, but I’m grateful for the strength that was bestowed upon us to get where we are. I look forward to showering my child with affection because God knows how grateful I am to be able to hold my baby in my arms after my miscarriage just a few months into my marriage.
Cover image via imperial.ac.uk