By Joanna Delalande
Beverley Wilson shares her experiences of multiple miscarriages, and why many women suffer silently through it.
One weekend when her husband was away Beverley Wilson anxiously went for a late night pregnancy checkup and the doctor bluntly announced, "Go home and try again. You've had a miscarriage."
The doctor's attitude appeared to be, she says, "It doesn't matter. It's just a miscarriage'."
Sadly for Beverley, adopting this dismissive attitude turned out to increase the mental and emotional damage of her loss.
This view has arisen, she believes, because one in four pregnant women in Australia have a miscarriage, according to a 2012 report.
And many women dismiss their feelings, she adds, because, "They haven't learned the value of a child in the womb."
"They're told it's not a child until ... when? When it has a heartbeat, it's a human being, isn't it?
"I just think those kinds of comments are so damaging to a woman, emotionally and mentally," Beverley continues, "and yet because we're young we seem to take it in.
"We think doctors know more than we do and that's true, but I don't think patients need to be treated in that manner."
Later she realized how greatly the loss weighed on her, and how the lack of closure affected her for years to come.
This was compounded by two more miscarriages and a termination at six and a half months because of a failure of skull bone formation.
Four babies without a name or gender. No recognition of the fact they once had a heartbeat.
Two weeks after the abortion Beverley recalls, "My doctor said he would spare me the pain of a memorial service", but moving the surgery date to two weeks earlier.
"His intentions were good," she says. "But in those many years I realized that was the worst thing that could have happened."
Years passed. Beverley divorced and remarried— "that's a whole story in itself," she says— and about 18 months ago her husband passed away.
Some months later when she went to a hospital chaplain to talk through her grief at the loss of her husband, her grief at a different loss was brought up.
"I decided to tell him about the babies I had lost," she says.
"That set me on the journey of preparing a memorial service for those babies, and that was hugely healing. It was just amazing."
“I just want people to have hope”The first step, she explains, was to name the babies.
"I think [that] was the most amazing part of it," she says. "It just made such a difference, recognizing they actually were live children even though they were still in the womb.
"It meant I was acknowledging them, I was owning them as my children. My babies."
She describes the memorial with fondness — Beverley had been a Christian for 55 years, and she says she could see on that day how the Lord had brought everything together.
"I think the moment I walked through the chapel at Royal Perth the presence of God was so real," she describes. "When I went through it, step by step, I felt so clearly the Lord was with me.
"I sat down after I had lit the first candle and it was like the Lord said to me 'I have been watching over these children, and they are alive'.
"Jesus was there, He was present in that place. You may have heard of the song He Made Something Beautiful Out of My Life. That was what I felt that day."
Beverley says she is working on a short memoir with the hope of reaching women who have been through the experience of losing children.
She says she wants to focus on the grief associated with losing babies that were in the womb, because it is not generally talked about.
"Well, I hadn't heard it talked about," she says. "And I just wonder how many women suffer because of that. Silently suffer.
"Oh, that's a good title: Silent Suffering!" she says in sudden excitement. "I think that is the one.
"Because it is silent. Nobody is talking about it, so you don't talk about it. I just want people to have hope that their life doesn't have to continue as it is, wondering about things," she adds.
What about people who have never heard the gospel and don't know what happened to their children?
"All I know is Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.'
"If He is the giver of life, He can take care of the rest of it. That's what I think," she says, and laughs.•