EXCLUSIVE: Jessica, 31, had miscarriage in 2017 while expecting fourth child Said she lost confidence in her body as she felt it had let her downIs now 25 weeks pregnant but early stages were marred by fear and panicSays she will never take a pregnancy for granted again after experiencing...
- EXCLUSIVE: Jessica, 31, had miscarriage in 2017 while expecting fourth child
- Said she lost confidence in her body as she felt it had let her down
- Is now 25 weeks pregnant but early stages were marred by fear and panic
- Says she will never take a pregnancy for granted again after experiencing loss
The Apprentice and CBB star Jessica Cunningham has revealed the unique mixture of joy, panic, fear and gratitude she’s currently experiencing as she awaits the birth of her fourth child.
The entrepreneur, 31, suffered a miscarriage in November 2017, while expecting her first child with boyfriend Alex Daw.
The heartbreaking news came a few weeks after she discovered she was pregnant, and just two months after the suicide of her ex-boyfriend Alistair Eccles, father of her three children, aged six, four and three.
She’s now 25 weeks pregnant with her rainbow baby, and despite her joy the initial stages have been marred by panic as she fears something going wrong.
Although as many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, yet discussing it still remains something of a taboo.
Here Jess opens up to Femail about the issues nobody ever talks about, including how she stopped feeling sexy as she felt like her body had let her down, to why she’ll never take a pregnancy for granted again.
The Apprentice and CBB star Jessica Cunningham, 31, has revealed she’s experiencing a unique mixture of panic and joy while awaiting the birth of her fourth child
Not in a million years did I think I would be planning a fourth baby, let alone with a new man. I just didn’t think that I wanted any more children.
Yet when Alex and I talked about having a baby, an unexpected feeling of joy and excitement came over me.
This gorgeous, funny, clever kind ‘man of dreams’ wants to have a baby with me?
‘Yes’, I thought, ‘I want to have his baby. Imagine the genes.’
A month or so after, we found out that I was pregnant, it was the happiest news we could have hoped for.
I’d gone from hanging up my womb and not wanting any more children to being happily pregnant with a man that I completely and utterly adore. I felt for the first time in a long time, happy.
Jess with her three children from her relationship with ex-partner Alistair Eccles who tragically committed suicide in 2017
Struggling with guilt
Then something I thought would never happen, happened. I miscarried. The days after, I felt so empty, as for the previous three days I had been clinging on to hope.
I should have known that something was wrong, that the cramps and bleeding were not breakthrough bleeding or a normal part pregnancy.
I’d been pregnant three times before after all, I knew what being pregnant felt like. However I ignored my gut feeling and I had started to fantasise about our little family, choosing names and getting giddy as I knew that Alex was as excited as me.
After the miscarriage I started to feel guilty, like it was somehow my fault, that my body wasn’t good enough to grow our baby.
Thoughts that I had let Alex down ran through my head and I blamed myself whilst questioning what I could of done to stop it happening.
The mother-of-three admitted she had no plans for more children before meeting her current partner Alex Daw
Fear this was just the beginning
After the miscarriage, there were mixed emotions that I didn’t expect.
One minute I was pregnant and ecstatic, and then the next I wasn’t. I was empty and I felt empty. Both emotionally and physically. I had bled a lot and cried a lot. I knew that Alex wanted to try again, I did, but there was an inner conflict.
I felt a pressure to get pregnant, It was as if what I had just been through hadn’t happened. This was pressure that I was putting on myself through guilt and Alex didn’t have a clue that this was what was on my mind.
I had this huge fear that I would be the person that this happens to over and over again or that I wouldn’t get pregnant – that I would be the one to disappoint.
I believe in the power of positive thinking and the magic of the universe.
So when I got pregnant so quickly, I thought it was meant to be as we had planned, but when l miscarried i didn’t really know how to feel. I didn’t understand how this magical universe could let me down.
I let myself go through whatever emotions I needed to go through, but I didn’t feel bloody positive, I felt like I had been hit by a bus.
I always try and see the positives in any situation, but I was lost in a sea of concerns and didn’t know how to express them.
Jessica and her boyfriend Alex: The entrepreneur admitted she lost confidence after her miscarriage, feeling her body had let her down
Loss of confidence
The first few times we had sex after the miscarriage, I was totally aware of my body and that it had been through a loss, that’s all I could think of, I just felt sad and I’d gone from feeling attractive and sexy to feeling like there was something wrong with me.
It was a weird and strange feeling. I didn’t want sex to feel like we were trying to conceive, I wanted it be like it was the months before everything happened.
So when we found out I was pregnant again, it was like déjà vu. Everything had happened so fast again. I felt overjoyed, the universe had delivered me a little rainbow baby.
Little did I know the worry, paranoia and fretting that would come with this pregnancy and how little I would be able to enjoy it. Something I didn’t expect.
With my other pregnancies, I took them for granted, I didn’t worry about anything, I just guessed everything would be OK.
The mother-of-three admitted she was googling every tiny symptom and has found it hard to relax during her pregnancy
So when I fell pregnant this time, with a rainbow baby, or so they call a baby after a loss, I had this constant worry feeling.
What does the term rainbow baby mean?
A rainbow baby is the term given to a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.
It’s inspired by the idea that a rainbow – a symbol of hope – follows a storm.
I had cramps and bled on and off for the first few weeks, which again, was very similar to when I started to miscarry only weeks before.
Then when that had stopped, I just wanted to get passed the first hurdle, the point when we first miscarried.
‘I thought if I could reach this point without miscarrying I would be alright and the panic would stop.
When I reached that hurdle, the shift changed, from not bleeding to “what if there is no heartbeat”?
The 12 week scan arrived and there it was a little heartbeat, beating away, strong and healthy. I felt relieved…but for how long, well until the 20 week scan.
I’d started to feel movement and fluttering quite early on, so if I hadn’t felt movement for a few hours, I started to imagine the worst.
I’d google “How to make your baby move when pregnant” and then tried the series of experiments suggested.
Jess said she would never take a pregnancy for granted again after experiencing the heartache of losing a baby
Not taking anything for granted
It is only now at 25 weeks pregnant, I understand that this pregnancy is going to be different, because I am not taking it for granted.
I am going to be bloody cautious as only now do I really understand how lucky I am to be pregnant and with a (touch wood) healthy baby.
I took being pregnant for granted before because I had never been through a miscarriage.
Who was Jessica’s former partner Alistair Eccles?
Former businessman Alistair Eccles, 35, from Colne, Lancashire was found hanged at a friend’s flat after a night of drinking vodka and snorting cocaine
He and Jessica had run fashion business Famous Frocks together but split up in 2014, when he was convicted of money laundering and given a 15-month suspended prison sentence.
He was due to see his three daughters the day he died.
Mr Eccles had a history of anxiety and depression but an inquest heard the reason why he took his life was unknown.
He had once been part of a gang of fraudsters who were jailed for 24 years in 2001 following a publishing scam that saw victims all over Britain scammed out of £740,000.
The gang sold bogus adverts to unsuspecting businesses, and when victims failed to pay up members of the gang posed as bailiffs to attend their homes and businesses. Mr Eccles was asked to look after dirty money belonging to the gang.
The attachment you get for your baby from the moment you know ‘this is what I want’ is an overwhelming feeling of joy. So if you go through a loss, it’s a real feeling of devastation.
I know from my own experience as well as talking to other women that have been in my shoes, that when you become pregnant after a miscarriage, you worry about having to go through that devastation again.
The smallest thing can escalate to something huge in your mind. Even now if I don’t feel the baby move, I feel the panic set in, or every time I feel a cramp, this anguish seems to take over me.
Seeing the positives
I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, that these things are sent to try us. One thing I do know for certain, is that pain, heartache and hardships make us stronger.
It is important to allow ourselves to feel the emotions we need to feel, but not don’t get stuck in the feelings of despair, anger or sadness. If we look for the positives in every negative, we can find a determination to be happy.
I am looking forward to the next 15 weeks of pregnancy. Actually, wow, that’s not long! Writing that has just set in the realisation that I will be a mother of four children in around three months.
However, the next 15 weeks are going to be filled with pram and gadget shopping, choosing very small clothes, lots of pregnancy massages (courtesy of Alex) and embracing growing a healthy little human whilst getting progressively fatter.
After experiencing heartache, Jess is able to see the positives and start looking forward to the birth of her fourth child