To the Mom Scared of Pregnancy After Miscarriage or Loss
To the mom who is thinking of pregnancy after miscarriage or loss: I’ve been in your shoes. I know how scary this can feel. Here is my story, I hope it helps you find joy in your next pregnancy, and know that you are not alone in this journey.
“A woman falls in love with her baby from the moment she sees the two pink lines on the pregnancy test.”
These are the words the emergency room OBGYN said to me, as she leaned in close and gently touched the side of my face. We had just spent the night investigating whether my pregnancy could have survived the amount of vaginal bleeding I had. Another pregnancy lost, and this one was harder for me for some reason.
It was true that I had already fallen in love. I had already envisioned our new life, and what was to come. My heart was fully invested in it all. The birth, the baby years, the first day of school, the joys, the mischief between all my kids playing together, the love, the whole thing. From the moment the pregnancy test was positive, it was tangible. It felt sure and real. And now it wasn’t.
For some women, there is a vacancy in the heart that feels like it can only be filled by having a child (or several). There can be an emptiness inside that longs to be filled with a growing family. But how do you contemplate adding to the family, when it has resulted in loss in the past? Can there be joy amid loss? What does pregnancy after loss look like? How do you move past the guilt?
A swirl of emotions twist through yout heart and head after a miscarriage or still birth. On top of the emotions, a newly ended pregnancy likely results in bleeding, cramping, and possibly even producing milk. Your home might be a reminder of the loss. It might be filled with already purchased and gifted baby items, congratulations balloons. Perhaps, everywhere you look reminds you where the baby would have slept, fed, played, got dressed, and bathed. You may frequently consider how old the baby would have been, or what milestones they would have hit. Maybe it’s that your heart had already painted the life, and the love was already birthed and undeniable.
But the baby isn’t physically here. Nothing can bring back the actuality of the dream that had been born in your heart at the discovery of the specific pregnancy that did not last. But, the dream of wanting a baby hasn’t passed. At some point in the grieving process, you will likely be considering whether you want to try again. This decision may come sooner rather than later, and may seem impossibly hard to enjoy.
Getting pregnant after loss is a decision every woman will make in her own time and way.
It may feel like it is too soon to let go of the baby that passed. Maybe you feel like you are forgetting about them or replacing them by trying again. The truth is: No child will ever replace the child you lost. That pregnancy and baby were unique. It doesn’t mean you love the child you lost any less, if you love the idea of expanding your family again. You may struggle to completely enjoy the pregnancy, because guilt and grief may still be strong.
External pressures may be pushing the decision, such as maternal age, or desired sibling age gap. Internal pressures may simply be your heart longs to hold a precious newborn in your arms. You may feel guilty that you find joy in having the next baby. It is okay to have mixed feelings. Move through your feelings honestly and at your own rate. If you find that they are severe or are affecting your daily functions or sleep, then speak with a health care professional about it. You may find helpful resources at your OBGYN office, or by talking with a licensed mental health counsellor.
As you move towards the next pregnancy, how can you navigate your feelings?
There are a few different things you can do to help your healing and process your feelings.
You can explore in-person or social media support groups, or read blogs of other women going through similar experiences. They may understand in a way that no one else can. You can find support here and here!
Write about your feelings!
Journaling is a very good outlet for emotions. Often, journalling can help you investigate and release feelings you may have been too afraid to say out loud, or maybe didn’t even knew you felt. Perhaps even write a letter to your baby that passed. You can tell them anything you would have told them here in your arms.
Celebrate the life!
Some find having a memorial service honours the child’s life in a way that brings closure and celebration of their life.
Take what others say with a grain of salt.
Not everyone will understand how you feel, and that is okay. Though many mean well, sometimes advice and commentary can be less than helpful. What matters most is what’s right for you and your family.
Remember: A mother’s heart has an amazing capacity for love.
When I had my first son, I secretly feared never loving the second child as much as I loved the first. After several miscarriages and finally birthing my second son, I realized that although it was a painful journey: There is enough love. Loving the new baby doesn’t lessen the love for another. There can be acceptance for the new pregnancy, the new life. A mother’s heart has an incredible capability of holding enough love to amply cover each life that has ever entered her heart or womb.
Author: Nicole Garcia
My name is Nicole Garcia. I am a mom to two strong spirited boys. I am still learning as I go! I love writing and sharing our story of life, mothering, and special needs parenting at atypicallyjoyful.wordpress.com. I love to give and find encouragement through others who are on similar journeys.