I am in pain. Yes, it's physical. It throbs where the baby was so recently growing in my womb and I have cramping as my body readjusts to being an empty vessel again. But that is not the real pain.

The real pain is a hollow, gaping ache, an inner wail that won't go away, the senseless grief that pokes me awake and reminds me that I have come to the end of a journey and now I must mourn, but I don't know how.

I can't find a comfy position to simply be. There is nowhere to go.

The loss of my tiny baby son (he measured just 5 in long) is the latest milestone in what has been, until now, a private agony.


I was more than three months pregnant - the gynaecologist assured me it was the best baby he'd seen that day.

I left the hospital as high as a kite. Then, a month later, I caught a horrible bug, almost certainly listeriosis, probably caused by something I ate. What a hellish thought. It was this infection which killed the little boy growing inside me.

The procedure to remove him was gruelling. I lost nearly two pints of blood, and emergency surgery was necessary to remove my placenta.

I am not alone, of course - one in every hundred pregnancies ends in miscarriage after the 12-week scan. On most labour wards there is a private room where a woman is screaming, but all she will take home is a photograph that people won't want to look at.

For some, their baby will be bigger than mine, and their grief no doubt greater. After 20 weeks the medical term changes from late miscarriage to stillbirth. But every one of us is in pain.

I am 41 years old and this pregnancy was the product of IVF. I had previously suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks and an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants itself outside the womb and either dies or has to be removed).

All of this was very painful, and so too the infertility that came before it. But until now my grief was private. It felt wrong to complain. I have so much - a seven-year-old daughter, conceived naturally, exciting work, a marriage that has grown softer and stronger through my inability to have another child.

And there is my pride. Perhaps people would tut and mutter that I'd waited too long to have a second child, or they might pity me, and I couldn't bear that.

I would have to regale them with a private back story: how, straight after the birth of my daughter, I lost my job, sued a big company, fell on antidepressants, my dear father died, and my marriage took a hit, so yes, I did delay childbirth. All of this is difficult to admit and therefore best shoved out of sight, kneaded into a small corner to be dealt with in the middle of the night. So no, I did not share my experience. I was a coward.

Pain can feel unmanageable, but it would be so much worse endured alone. In the past three years I have spooled through internet and newspaper articles and taken solace in other people's stories.

I have leaned heavily, too, on a trio of friends who have also experienced loss - divorce, death, disappointment. They have been there for me and met the boring minutiae of monthly failure, regret and injections with compassion and understanding.

Like the gynaecologist at King's College Hospital in London who acknowledged my agony when he told me my baby was dead, they have embraced my pain, and in doing so, they have eased it.

One of my closest friends is a childless man. Danny has said consistently: "Write down what you are feeling. It is a big deal. It will help other women. We all feel pain."

So here, belatedly, is my offering. I don't want this to become a hand-wringing exercise about educated women leaving childbirth until it is too late. But I do think the sisterhood could be encouraged to open up. All too often beyond the congratulations of a new life conceived, procreation and fertility are subjects infected with accusation and shame.

The result is an unhelpful silence. Why is so little known about those women who have been in the labour room but come home without a baby? "Didn't you know that pregnancy can end at any time?" asked my friend with an arched brow, and in hushed tones shared two anecdotes from the school gate, before adding "... but don't say I told you."

Heaven forbid we might admit defeat in the face of nature's ruthless lottery.

And what of the one in five pregnancies which ends in early miscarriage? Where are those women? The firmly engrained silence during the challenging first three months of pregnancy ensures that many women suffer their loss alone. Only when pressed did one heavily pregnant 39-year-old I know admit that she'd had seven miscarriages between her oldest child and the one she was carrying.

We need to drop the old-fashioned taboos surrounding fertility and admit that many of the babies born to 'older' women in particular are accompanied by a painful back story.

Some only have a painful story. Fewer celebrity 'miracle' births and more honesty about the pitfalls of middle age that are so cruelly exclusive to women would help everyone. Societally, it might even force us to work out a way of better supporting girls during that precious decade - somewhere between 24 and 34 years of age - when both emotionally and biologically they are best equipped to give birth.

More broadly, I hope that by sharing my pain it'll serve as a reminder that we are all vulnerable.

This autumn I will appear on BBC2 in a new series exploring Britain's limitlessly fascinating landscape and history. I'll look happy and successful. I was pregnant - I felt happy and successful. But now you know that behind the small screen scenes, I'm also in pain. And I am not alone.