Laura Byrne and Matthew Johnston found love on the Australian version of “The Bachelor” in 2017 and had plans to start their lives together as a couple, and someday start a family.
In the Spring of 2018, the couple were taken by surprise when they learned they were expecting their first child. However, just seven weeks into the pregnancy, the pair were dealt a devastating blow when Byrne miscarried.
Now, in an essay for Kidspot Australia, Byrne is shares the heartbreaking isolation she felt after losing the baby.
“It seemed like every time I opened my phone people were announcing their beautiful pregnancies. All I could think was ‘why is this happening to us?’ I didn’t know anyone who had experienced miscarriage before,” Byrne says. “I couldn’t shake the guilt that maybe I had done something wrong, or worse that there was something wrong with me.”
Although devastated, Byrne soon learned that she wasn’t alone. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 10-25 per cent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.
While Byrne says she no longer felt alone in her grief, she struggled to move on from the future she had envisioned for her growing family.
“This perfect unplanned surprise had turned our lives inside out and upside down. Now it was over. We couldn’t just go back to our pre-baby plans, what we wanted had fundamentally changed,” she writes. “Miscarriage softened me in ways I never expected, but most of all, it made me realize how ready I am to be a mom.”
The surprises continued when just a few months later, Byrne learned she was pregnant once again.
“This time when I told Matt, he took a moment to process it,” Byrne recalls. “I passed him the stick with those unmistakable pink lines and we both just stood there excited, scared and speechless. It was everything that we wanted, but in that moment our excitement was muted by the very real fear that our happiness could be taken away.”
Now at 23 weeks into the pregnancy, Byrnes and Johnston are doing their best to enjoy every milestone, but admit the journey has been filled with worry that subsides with every passing week.
“Pregnancy after miscarriage is weird and crazy wonderful. It brings with it all the joy, but also a niggling anxiety that something might go wrong and the painful reality that it could,” Byrne says. “With every wriggle inside me and each karate kick to my bladder I’m reminded how close we are to meeting our baby, and what a wonderful little miracle that is to us both.”