"You know you're ready to try again, when your faith in the future is greater than your fear of the future."
This was the one line in a whole stack of books that stood out to me after our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Little did I know I would have to rely on my faith in the future to help us gather the courage to try again after the death of our son at 24 days old only one year later.
I don't remember what book it's from and can't find the quote anywhere now. Maybe I made it up. All I know is that I now rely on this on a daily basis for things other than a pregnancy after a loss. I hope the words give you peace and you can find the faith to face the future without fear.
After suffering a pregnancy loss, be it miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss or abortion, the thought of a subsequent pregnancy can be terrifying. It's easy to get caught up in the fear and worry over a new pregnancy, and allow it take over your mind, body and spirit completely.
Depending on the type of pregnancy loss you suffered, there may be limitations placed on how quickly you should try to become pregnant again. Your doctor will help you determine this time-frame for you physically.
Emotionally, only YOU will know when you are ready.
Once you decide you are physically and emotionally ready to embark on a pregnancy after a loss (and you know that your partner is also ready to move forward with a subsequent pregnancy), surround yourself with knowledge and people who will be understanding and helpful to you.
What to Expect in a Subsequent Pregnancy:
- Feelings of anxiety and fear: During a subsequent pregnancy following a loss, you will go through a myriad of emotions. These can range from fear to joy to depression and sheer panic.
- Extra monitoring and appointments if your condition warrants them: If your pregnancy loss(es) were a due to a condition that may exist in another pregnancy, your doctor will monitor you more often and possibly send you to a high risk specialist.
- More calls to the doctor/midwife's office: If your pregnancy loss(es) was an early miscarriage, statistics show that your chances to carry a subsequent baby to term are very good. But you may be extremely anxious during your pregnancy. You may be aware of every little change going on in your body. Your doctor or midwife should understand your worries and take all calls and concerns seriously.
- Jealousy: You have now endured what nobody ever expects to have to go through. A pregnancy loss. It will seem like every other person on the planet is enjoying a perfect, no-stretch-marks, heartburn-free, minimal weight gain pregnancy and their only worry is whether they should paint the baby's room mauve or blush. It's normal to feel a pang of jealousy and sadness that you can't enjoy that type of pregnancy.
How do I Survive a Subsequent Pregnancy?
Once you've decided you're ready to try to get pregnant again, you've gotten pregnant and are counting down the weeks until your new baby arrives, you're sure to feel very conflicted. You mourn and long for the baby (babies) that were never born or were taken too early after birth, but are very excited about the new life you are bringing into this world. You must remember a few things to help you get through this bumpy and confusing time.
- It's okay to grieve the child or children who aren't with you. Whether they were 13-week fetuses, 22-week preemies who lived for an hour, or 3-month-olds who died from a nasty infection, they were babies. Your babies. Know that it's completely fine to be sad and cry and miss them.
- It's also okay to be excited about the new baby (babies) you are carrying. Just because you're moving forward, it doesn't mean you are forgetting your other babies.
- Take care of yourself. This doesn't just mean get proper prenatal care, eat right and get plenty of sleep. This means take care of yourself emotionally, too. Treat yourself to time for yourself, special date nights with your significant other, the occasional mani/pedi or lunch with friends. These things will help you stay in touch with yourself and others, making a happier mama all around.
- One day at a time. Say that over and over again. And live it. Take one day, one step, one milestone at a time.
Pregnancy After Loss Resources
Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss by Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, MD: This was a wonderful book that I actually read twice. Once after my miscarriage and again after my son died. It's the most comprehensive book and resource I've ever found on pregnancy after a loss.
Pregnancy After a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy after a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death by Carol Cirulli Lanham: Another wonderful book that encompasses all kinds of loss and how to move through a pregnancy after a loss.
Still Standing Magazine - an online magazine focusing on encouraging women, men and even children to embrace life, connecting hearts around the world who have similar life experiences and becoming a resource for friends, family and even medical professionals, to know how to support someone enduring child loss and/or infertility.