My Miscarriage Story
My name is Jo Tocher and 20 years ago I lost my first baby at 24 weeks.
At the time I was working in Financial Marketing in the City with a team of great people. I was hard working but always happy-go-lucky and loved entertaining clients and burning the candle at both ends.
At the time, I lived in a small two bedroom flat with my boyfriend. We were very happy. Having moved to the UK some 10 years before, my family was back in New Zealand, so my London friends and boyfriend were my support.
We had only been together for a couple of years when we discovered I was pregnant. We hadn’t even talked about a long-term future together so it was a real shock. But after a long chat we decided to embrace the pregnancy.
After our 12 week scan we announced our news to friends, family and colleagues. While it was a surprise we were thrilled about becoming parents.
“Friends and family become uncomfortable
when you talk about it constantly”
Something’s not right
My 20-week scan took place a few weeks late, and I went alone because my boyfriend was busy at work and we just saw it as a routine scan. I was feeling excited at the prospect of hearing the tiny little heart beat again and seeing how much our baby’s little fingers and toes had grown. We had decided not to find out if it was a boy or a girl.
At the clinic I lay down on the bed, staring intently at the screen. But there was something wrong. I’ll never forget that interminable silence from the stenographer, who got up and left the room to get a second opinion without telling me why. I waited patiently to see the consultant and in that moment time slowed down. I felt sick with a sense of dread and panic. I was in total denial that anything could go wrong for my baby and me – everything would be fine, right?
Eventually the consultant took me into her office and calmly explained that there was amniotic fluid inside the baby and not enough in the sac. The news was bad: our baby wouldn’t survive. Either we had to have a termination or let things take their course naturally. We were told to go home over the weekend and decide.
All weekend I felt lost, numb and empty, like I was walking inside a bubble. Then on the Sunday I felt a searing pain in my abdomen – and then nothing. I immediately knew something was wrong. When we returned on the Monday we were told that our baby boy had died. I was inconsolable. This little being I had carried inside me for 24 weeks was no longer – I just couldn’t get my head around it, and the tears flowed non-stop.
I was booked in for a termination but because I was over 25 weeks pregnant by this point I had to give birth to our little baby boy, which only added to my overwhelming distress. Even though he was gone we named him John, as he’d been alive for all those weeks inside me. The hospital arranged a funeral in the chapel. It was just the two of us and it did give me some closure.
When I went home I just felt dead inside. My boyfriend tried to console me by buying in all my favourite foods. He didn’t know what to do or how to behave around me and I just wanted to be left alone. It was awkward between us – I felt his sense of inadequacy over how to behave and I couldn’t stop crying. My GP rang me to see how I was and friends were there for me, but my family was far away in New Zealand, which was really hard.
Eventually I returned to work, feeling lost and alone and different. But my heart was no longer it. I had counselling, which helped a little, but not enough. I resigned a few weeks later. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but this wasn’t it! I was lost for a while trying to make sense of my loss, and what I could do with my future.
“No-one gets what you’re going through”
How I healed
My journey since then has taken me on a path of self-discovery. With no work and no direction I “found” my way into complementary therapy when I stumbled upon an article about aromatherapy. As I read about hands-on healing and how aromatherapists use natural oils and massage to soothe and comfort, the hairs on my arms stood up. There was a big ‘yes’ within me at the idea of something so good coming out of my own trauma.
I instantly knew that this was my new vocation and booked myself onto a year’s full-time diploma at The Tisserand Institute. And as I started the course the part of the diploma that surprised me the most and ultimately helped me to heal was the Energy Healing Module – it totally blew my socks off. We learnt a variety of healing techniques that channel energy into you by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of your body. And these worked incredibly well for me, helping to release my hurt and trauma over losing John.
I have learnt that the pain of losing a baby through miscarriage lessens over time, but you never forget (and why should you forget your beloved child who is still a part of your family?). I’ve learnt that your friends and family become uncomfortable when you talk about it constantly, so you have to keep your feelings over your miscarriage to yourself. I’ve learnt that it puts a strain on your relationships and that you can spiral downwards into depression, guilt and blame. And I’ve learnt that it is possible to carry babies to term even after losing a baby to miscarriage – we now have two teenage daughters.
I have let go of all those difficult emotions and I’m happy to say that I’m now mostly a happy-go-lucky and calm person like I used to be!
I’ve transformed myself with others’ help. It has taken me a long time and I wish I’d known at the time about the tools that have helped me so much. But I also know, no matter how long ago it happened, we can still heal and find closure today.
Since then I have I have retrained as a Holistic Complimentary Therapist, and now have a diploma in Aromatherapy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Pregnancy and Post Natal Aromatherapy. I have also mastered different forms of Energy Healing (including Reiki), Hypnosis, Vitali Chi and Wellbeing Coaching as well as The Energy Alignment Method (EAM) that worked so well to release my own trauma. All these disciplines and treatments give me the tools I need to heal you holistically and help you let go of the trauma of miscarriage.
I now spend my time working as a therapist, using these tools to help hundreds of clients let go of difficult feelings and rediscover happiness. So I know what the journey to healing is like. It isn’t always easy, but it is so worth it to get the sunshine back in your life.
What lights me up now is enabling women to get to a place of happiness and joy in life again. When they leave my healing room they have ALWAYS transformed in some way. My mission is to heal more women in the way I was healed and I feel privileged to do so.