The Beautiful Messiness of Life After Trauma

So many of us have been brought up to believe that happiness is linear. That good times follow bad. That it’s all so clearcut and neat.

Today is a milestone moment for me. Its’s exactly 10 years since I first realised how good and bad can co-exist in the same space. That you can be both elated and devastated all at the same time. When high expectations bump into reality it can be a shock that reverberates through your life for years to come.

I was preparing for our wedding later that day. So full of the glow of dreams fulfilled and with an extra special secret known only to a few close family — I was 8 weeks pregnant with our much-longed for first child. At age 35 I knew I was so very lucky. To have fallen in love with someone I could be completely and utterly myself with, who loved me exactly as I was and always saw the best in me. My fears of being too late to conceive had been allayed and the future looked like some kind of real-life Disney movie…

Fast forward a couple of hours and we stood by the Atlantic ocean, blustering wind in our faces as the unseasonable heat warmed our bodies. Laughter. Happiness. Giddiness and freedom. We’d done it! We were married and the future looked so bright… After a fun reception in our favourite Italian cafe, the party kicked off in full swing.

Then red.

Blood everywhere.

My beautiful wedding dress looked like something out of a horror movie.

There was no way my baby could survive.

Could he?

A swirl of thoughts, internal debates & bargaining with the universe.

Crying. So much crying.

Not today. Of all days. Please no…

My new husband was called from the party…

More crying. More bargaining with the universe. More declarations of love.

Kindly midwife on the phone telling us there was nothing could be done except wait and see.

Our wedding party spent apart. Me, laying perfectly still, as every movement brought more blood. He entertaining our guests, putting on a brave face.

Then us both. Words of comfort. Love. Acceptance.

The following morning spent in a hospital waiting room. Happy pregnant women and visitors with balloons for newborns abound.

Surreal.

Someone recognises us. Congratulations on our wedding. Congratulations on their baby.

Torture

A masked face. A hospital trolley. More waiting.

The scan machine. Both frightening and welcomed. The truth to be revealed.

Deep breaths.

Holding back tears.

The anticipation.

More bargaining.

The answer.

Heartbeat. It’s there. Faint, but there.

No explanations. No prognosis. Just wait and see.

Expert opinions. Maybe skip the honeymoon? Maybe not? Probably won’t matter either way…

Agonising decisions. Afraid to breathe. Laughter. Relief mixed with fear.

Honeymoon postponed…


And so today, as I wave goodbye to my school-bound boy and husband, the familiar echo returns, like a wave — or a whisper on the breeze. A fear that grips my heart as I watch them go.

Now though, a decade on, I can breathe into that feeling.

Accept it.

I can step back from the fear and know it’s not likely to be a portent of doom, rather a reminder from the past.

A nudge.

Appreciate this moment.

This moment my precious boy is alive. I’m alive. We’re alive.

We only have now.

And somehow, scary as it can be — now is enough.