I had a miscarriage – and it was necessary.

On the 21st March, it dawned on me. I was in the shower, scrubbing away the day, when my baby fell out of me. I didn’t register it at first, but then soon found myself scrambling to salvage the foetus. Holding it in my hands, I wasn’t disgusted by it – instead I felt like I had lost a part of me I never knew I had.

I wasn’t very far along. I hadn’t even taken a test. But I knew I was pregnant. Or had been. Missed period, morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, food cravings. I had been ignoring the signs, but when I stood there in the shower looking at the strange form I was holding, l couldn’t deny it any longer. I flushed it down the toilet because I didn’t know what else to do. I was scared. I didn’t want to admit I had been pregnant.

Aged eighteen, I wasn’t ready to cope with a baby. Not only that, but my child would have been fathered by a man that made my skin crawl with disgust. A man that was three times my age, a stranger I’d never met. A man who worked in the porn industry, who had paid to conceive my baby in a hotel room. So yes, my baby was conceived through sex work.

When sex workers become pregnant

We don’t talk about the effects of pregnancy on sex workers mental and physical health, their lifestyle, and their future. We don’t even talk much about the effects of pregnancy on woman who don’t sell their bodies. But yes – sex workers can, and do, get pregnant. Even if it was just the one time selling your body, like mine.

Most sex workers take precaution against pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections, however some don’t. The one time I was paid for sex was a horrific experience. I was young and didn’t understand the ‘industry’. The client was only going to pay me if I let him have sex without a condom. I thought that since I was on the pill, everything would be fine. Except, I wasn’t great at taking said pill.

When a sex worker becomes pregnant, it is for them, and them only, to decide whether or not to keep the baby, and whether or not to keep working. Some decide to terminate the pregnancy, think about adoption or giving guardianship to an extended family member, or experience miscarriage or stillbirth. Still, some don’t have a choice. Sex work stigma, inability to negotiate proper condom use and failure to access medical services perpetuate the struggle that women who have become pregnant through sex work have to face.

Why are we made to feel a certain way about miscarriage and stillbirth?

I was sad about my miscarriage. I still am. But there is another side to it – one of relief, of gratitude. I feel grateful that I didn’t have to experience carrying a pregnancy to term, because my mind and my body could not have coped with that. I am relieved that the choice was made for me, because if it came to it, I’m not sure I could have made the decision to terminate without intense mental turmoil.

Ten percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yet often in society, if a person does not feel devastated at the loss of her/ their baby, it is looked upon as unloving, ungrateful or just downright strange. Instead of being a blessing or a medical necessity, a public-health concern or a consequence of a past misdeed, miscarriage is now often associated with just one word: “grief.

Actually, it is totally the opposite. The financial, mental and physical relief that arises from not having to carry and care for a child should not be invalidated. For some, miscarriage is a necessity, as it was for me.

Recovering from miscarriage

One of the things I found to be most helpful in the weeks after losing my baby was the book ‘I Had a Miscarriage: A Memoir, a Movement’ by Jessica Zucker. Zucker talks so openly about the ‘silence, stigma and shame’ surrounding miscarriage, validating every single emotion you could possibly feel, because in reality there is no set requirement for how we should behave, act, think or talk after losing a baby, just how no experience of foetal or infant loss is the same.

There are days when all I think about is the child I could have given birth to. But there are days when I am grateful to not have the responsibility of being a mother, at least not just yet. In the future I would like to have children, and that future may or may not come. For now my healing, grieving, remain ongoing.

To anyone who has or is experiencing miscarriage or pregnancy loss, please know that you are not alone, and there is support available if you want it. x

To read more about this topic, visit:

https://www.glamour.com/story/when-miscarriage-is-a-relief

https://www.vogue.com/article/why-is-there-so-much-silence-around-miscarriage#:~:text=For%20one%20thing%2C%20at%20a%20time%20when%20methods,reason%20not%20to%20put%20voice%20to%20that%20feeling.

To read Jessica Zucker’s book, visit:


For support on miscarriage and pregnancy loss, visit:

https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/

https://www.tommys.org/baby-loss-support

https://www.miscarriagehurts.com/find-help/support

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