My friends and family know that I am dedicated to my book and how passionate I am about my work. They keep a vigilant eye out for literary tidbits that might further my writing as well as asking poignant questions like, “haven’t you finished that bloody book yet?” A friend told me about an open brief competition. A selection of winners would have their work published in a super special book (real gold leaf specialness!) to mark 10 years of Amelia’s Magazine – an online publication that highlights all kinds of creative outlets.
Brilliant! I’d love to have my writing printed on actual paper! My goal is to finish a full first draft of my WIP – this would be a minor distraction. I read through the inspiring brief and got myself really excited, until I got to the part about miscarriage. Oh. This was more than an ordinary competition. A submission here would require more consideration than simply digging up and honing one of my sci-fi short stories. I couldn’t do it.
The idea rolled around in my head for days – I couldn’t leave it alone. I have family and a very dear friend who went through several miscarriages in an attempt to build a family. They mourned each loss and visited darker and darker places to find the light of a child. My Mum suffered the brutal loss of a full term baby – I lost my little brother. I dreamed of him when my father died. He was beautiful. I haven’t seen him since.
I did what I always do when facing any kind of parenting issue – I went to Mumsnet. I remembered their Miscarriage Care Campaign. I discovered – despite our advances in so many fields of psychology and medicine – the lack of care my mother received 40 years ago is still the case today. My own experience doesn’t even scratch the surface of what some women have endured. Two years after the birth of my second child I started to feel cramps normally associated with mundane monthlies. They got worse. And worse. I nearly passed out with pain on my way to the bathroom to be sick. The blood loss was hideous and continued for days. My doctor said, “Yeah, you probably had a miscarriage. Come back and see me if you have any other problems.” What shocked me most is that my ‘question mark’ pregnancy got a similar response to someone with a confirmed, proper, full on pregnancy with scans, a heartbeat and everything. What the hell?!
I’m still not sure what happened to me but I know how this kind of grief manifests itself, lingering and oppressive. Mumsnet have been amazing in their campaign. Women who have suffered this type of loss need to feel less alone and find a way to express their trauma, if they are to move on. Amelia asked for artwork and writing to be submitted for a book through an open brief on the Amelia’s Magazine website on the theme of That Which We Do Not Understand #TWWDNU. The brief was inspired by Amelia’s personal experience of two late miscarriages, one while she wrote a piece for her magazine on Alice Lunt. The book will explore the many ways in which humans seek to understand the things they don’t understand in life. The final publication will be beautiful and inspiring, full of thought provoking contributions that question and celebrate the miraculousness and delicate nature of life. She has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help realise her dream for the book.
It’s an uncomfortable subject but I couldn’t back away and submitted my work. What better way to channel soul sapping bereavement than to turn it into positive creative energy. My book is sci-fi, one of the themes is life; the persistence, delicate nature and pain of life. My contribution is a poem that I hope captures the essence of life from the smallest cell to the vastness of the universe. I really am honoured and touched to have my poem accepted for publication. I will be a published author, my dream. Amelia’s dream is to make this book a reality. Tragedy and loss interpreted by authors and artists to reflect back positivity and light.
I really do hope this venture is a success. Good Luck Amelia.
For more information please go to:
- Amelia by Spitalfields Life
- Mumsnet Miscariage Care Campaign
- The Dads Network – because Dad’s Miscarry too
- Blog post by In A Different Voice
- Mumsnet Practical Advice – what to do if you are miscarrying