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GP mum 'didn't enjoy single day' of pregnancy after suffering 3 miscarriages


This Mother’s Day, GP Anita Raja feels especially lucky to be celebrating with her seven-year-old son Nirvan and baby boy Rumi.

In August, Rumi was born after seven years of heartache and miscarriages.

Having lost three babies, the pregnancy was especially agonising for Anita, who worked on the NHS frontline until four days before her due date, unsure whether she was putting her unborn baby in danger each time she walked into the surgery.

With husband Nadir, a gastroenterologist, reassigned to work in intensive care during the pandemic, putting him face to face with Covid patients each day, the risk of exposure didn’t end when Anita came home.

“Looking back, I don’t know how I did it,” says Anita, 35. “I lost lots of sleep over it and was very anxious. I didn’t enjoy a single day of the pregnancy because I felt so vulnerable.”

Despite the risk, she felt obliged to keep turning up for work.

“I had to do it for the NHS,” she says. “It’s not like other jobs – you can’t just walk away from your patients.”



Anita Raja went through a stressful pregnancy
Anita Raja went through a stressful pregnancy

Anita was especially nervous as the impact of Covid-19 on unborn babies was unknown so the couple developed an elaborate routine to keep them all safe.

“There was lots of news about NHS workers who were pregnant and lost their lives. It felt like World War Three,” she says.

“When he came home from work my husband would go into the basement, take off his clothes, take a shower and keep his washing separate from ours. We were very aware of the risks of catching Covid.

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“The car steering wheel and gear stick needed to be wiped down after every use and we’d wear gloves when we were going shopping to prevent us catching it.”

Anita had always known it might be tricky for her to conceive, after having a fibroid removed from her uterus aged 15 and being diagnosed with endometriosis at 17.

Shortly after she got married in 2010, she had her first miscarriage.

“It was a missed miscarriage, so it was very early on and I never knew I was pregnant until it was over,” says Anita.

Two years later she fell pregnant and in October 2013, Nirvan was born.

“I named him Nirvan because nirvana is a state of liberation and eternal bliss.”



Anita and baby Rumi
Anita and baby Rumi

But although Anita loved being a mum, she craved another baby.

“I didn’t want my son to be an only child – I wanted him to have a friend, and someone to have after we’re gone, a family to leave behind,” she says.

Anita and Nadir, who live in Birmingham, tried for two years to have another baby, but could not conceive.

Then, in 2015, they were thrilled to discover that Anita was pregnant. Sadly, at 11 weeks she miscarried. “I was devastated,” she says. “Although it wasn’t my fault, I felt a lot of guilt.

“When you have a child and you want them to have a sibling, it’s difficult.

“It’s so hard when they start asking for a baby brother or sister and you can’t give them one.”

It was another two years before Anita became pregnant again.

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At 21 weeks, she had a scan to find out the baby’s gender but instead received the news there was no heartbeat.

“While the sonographer was doing the ultrasound, she asked whether I’d had my 12 week scan,” she recalls. “I just knew it was going to be bad news.”

“It’s a memory that will never leave me – it was so traumatic that I simply can’t get it out of my head.”

Anita was devastated.

“My world fell apart. My first thought was: ‘How am I going to tell my son?’

“He was waiting for a baby brother or sister, and now the baby wasn’t going to come.”

Because she was 21 weeks pregnant, Anita had to give birth to the baby. “I was beside myself. I can’t tell you the pain I was in,” she says.

After that crushing loss, Anita became depressed.

“I was very unwell but I knew I had to pull myself together for my husband and son,” she says.

“But the pain is always there somewhere. It’s like a stitch in your heart.”

For two years, Anita underwent investigations to see what had caused her losses, but nothing was found.

“If you don’t know the cause, then you never get closure,” she says. “As a clinician myself, it was very frustrating not to be able to find any medical reason for the miscarriage.”

But out of the blue, in December 2019, Anita found out she was expecting Rumi.

During the pregnancy, she was supported by a nurse from Tommy’s pregnancy charity.

“The charity put me in touch with a nurse called Oonagh and she has the spirit of an angel. She was there for me the whole way,” says Anita.

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At six weeks pregnant, she had an early scan and was thrilled that the sonographer found a heartbeat.

The pregnancy was nerve-wracking but Oonagh was on hand to answer questions and book appointments. “If Oonagh and Tommy’s hadn’t been there for me, I would probably have become depressed again. But they provided the support I needed for a happy pregnancy,” she says.

Despite the stress of the pandemic, Anita gave birth to Rumi last August.

“I can’t believe that I got so lucky to have my son,” she says.

“When I touch his hair, and his toes and his fingers, I still can’t believe that he’s mine.”

  • Tommy’s is a national charity that funds pioneering medical research to discover the causes of baby loss and helps women at every stage of their pregnancy journeys. For information and support go to tommys.org





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