In a world where every girl is urged to ‘get it’ and women are told we can have it all, the very concept of missing the mark when it comes to your ambitions and goals is terrifying. So often a missed deadline, a flopped project or a bloody great big, embarrassing mistake can be the beginning of a ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse’ moment. An internal montage, complete with an uplifting, powerful soundtrack of hard work, learnt lessons and eventual, well-earned success ensues.
But what if your failure is something so entirely out of your control, you have to accept that this one might not be remedied by a plucky attitude and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on repeat. You might just have to accept that the road to that achievement will be long, painful and, hard as it is to accept, might just be something you can’t do.
I’ve always been someone that believes that working hard will get you where you want to go, that mistakes and failures are all part of the learning curve, and that rewards come to those that don’t lose heart at the first stumble… then I had a miscarriage.
I became someone whose confidence was knocked but not destroyed, a little unnerved at this tangible evidence that my body was fallible but determined a little hiccup wouldn’t dampen my spirit… then I had another miscarriage.
Tests that told me there was something wrong and there’s nothing I can really do about it.
There’s stuff they can do, but there’s nothing I can do.
Working harder or learning from my mistakes isn’t going to fix this one. This isn’t about finding a way around the problem. This was about figuring out how to fit the ‘problem’ into my life in a way that doesn’t make me crazy, or feel like a total fucking failure.
Often the actual mistake or failure goes unnoticed by the public eye. ‘The show must go on’ and normally you can get away with no one ever knowing that you feel like everything is crashing down around you. Telling people feels like the thing that makes it real, which is why we often suffer in silence at the time when support is the thing we need the most.
Feeling like you’ve failed can be exceptionally isolating, most failure stories you come across are the beginning of a tale of triumph rather than a comforting assurance that someone else has been where you are.
The funny thing is, so many people have been where you are and the minute you start the conversation it doesn’t stop flowing. We share our successes and applaud each other up when we’re at the top of our game, that support and care doesn’t go away when you’re at the other end of the scale feeling like you might fall off it completely. We are all powerful, strong, fragile and fallible.
I’m not advocating wallowing in misery and defeat, but much like we are encouraged to celebrate our small victories ...
... and you’re allowed to feel like shit about it.
You’re allowed to lick your wounds and take some time to regroup, and when you’re ready: Talk about it.