Dirty Little Secret

Relishing the early weeks when only you and your partner know your special secret.


I’m not really supposed to talk about this. Not the done thing is it? For seven days I’ve known my secret has altered, changed, ended. And it could forever stay that way, a secret shared between loved ones. I’ve worked, I’ve mothered, I have continued because I knew of no other option.

I’ve answered the question “So, what number pregnancy is this?”. “Four.” 

“And how many children do you have?”. “Two.”

So now the gap widens, and yet, who can I share this with? 

My first dating scan, I knew what I should see. 10 weeks, a little alien punching and fighting. A heartbeat, so strong and fast. From the outside I looked 10 weeks pregnant. But from the inside, silence. Stillness. Not the right size. Again.

In my head, placing the pain on a sliding scale. 

Being told your living child will most likely die. WORST.

Finding you’ve lost a baby at 20 weeks. NOT AS BAD.

Finding you’ve lost a baby at 10 weeks. BETTER?

Stupid fucking sliding scale. It all fucking hurts. Trying to comprehend the pattern. Annoyed by my optimism this time. No rainbow, no pot of gold. Just a carrier bag full of rotten potatoes. Then an appointment for 10 days time, to decide what to do. Just in case, but no one is in any doubt. I ask the room for what I should do with myself for 10 days, in this isolated place. I imagine running away. I really think that through. I don’t want my children to absorb any of this pain. What do I tell people? Will my false smile slip?

But no one knows. It’s up to me. Fabulous.

And more yet, they think they know why this is happening. To all of those four pregnancies I’ve had. A name of something written on paper. In a marvellous irony, it is illegible. So I ask her to sound it out. Commit it to memory, unaware that it will bring some peace.

We hold hands on the way back to the car, struggling to find words. But all I can ask is what can I do? What will I do? 10 weeks disappears. 10 days feels like an eternity.

Seven days in and my body is making its own call. The process has begun, with equal measures of sadness and relief. So far, no intervention necessary. Not such a special secret.



9 thoughts on “Dirty Little Secret

  1. Thank you for sharing your sliding scale analogy. With a stillbirth and blighted ovum under my belt, I felt what you described but never used your perfect phrase. I’ve always wondered why I was not as upset about the miscarriage but now see that it is relative. Unfortunately all this happened over 20 years ago yet I am still grieving. I hope you get better therapy than I got. Good luck to you.

  2. It shouldn’t be a secret and yet there are times I wish I’d chosen to do just that as the cliche insensitive responses by people trying to make you feel better hurt all the more.

    Even when I blogged about my own losses I made sure they were heavily edited versions of what happened and how it affected us, as women you are conditioned to not make a fuss.


  3. This is such an accurate post. I lost 4, 2 very early, 2 around 3 months. All of them before we announced, so yes, ‘dirty little secrets’. You have to choose to tell people, which I think is worse overall than everyone knowing you were pregnant and everyone knowing you lost it. You end up keeping the emotions undercover all the time. I hope it works out for you, and thanks for publishing this.

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