Giving Yourself Grace During A Pregnancy After Loss
Our first pregnancy started out as a “textbook” pregnancy — at least, that’s what the doctors kept telling us. Pregnant with identical twins, my belly grew loud and bold for the world to see. The ultrasounds swished frequently and comfortingly with the beating of hearts and the wild waving of limbs. It was all as it should be. And then, at thirty-one weeks, it came crashing to an agonizing stop. I left that hospital with one child in my arms and another buried beneath a pile of damp, summer earth.
Two years later, I saw the double pink lines of a pregnancy test once more. I knew that everything would be different this time around. Gone was the naivety I’d cradled during the early months of my first pregnancy and the “it can’t happen to me” attitude. It was a whole different kind of experience. The roller-coaster of emotions brought me an intense mix of both joy and fear, excitement and anxiety, hesitation and longing.
Because the truth is, you’re entering into this pregnancy with a weight of knowledge that you didn’t carry before. While other mothers worry about whether or not it’s okay to eat salad, you worry about whether or not you’re going to wake up in sheets dotted with blood. The “old you” couldn’t wait to find out the gender at the twenty-week ultrasound, but now you’re just hoping for a heartbeat. The world of pregnancy looks different to you now, and that can feel discouraging.
As tears flow and the worries abound, I know there are days when you long to go back to the time before. But mama, I want you to know that it’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling right now. It’s not going to look or feel like it did before, so don’t forget to give yourself a little grace along the way.
Grace to take this one day at a time, one step at a time.
Grace for the days when we’re scared. In tears, we call our obstetrician and ask him to squeeze us into an extra appointment. This anxiety wasn’t a part of our lives before, and we feel frustrated by our fear. But don’t forget to give yourself grace for the hours of worry.
Grace for the days when we grieve. For the days when we mourn the child we’re missing, even while the babe we’re carrying kicks within.
Grace for the days when we just want this pregnancy to be over. When we worry that they’re not safe in our womb and long for them to be firmly nestled in our arms.
Grace for the days when we feel frustrated and misunderstood by those around us. For the days when those who try to “comfort” us just make the hurts and fears worse.
Grace for when we’re scared to bond with this baby because we know how much it hurts to lose a loved one.
Grace to let go of our expectations and simply let this pregnancy be what it is. To embrace it as something beautiful, even with its imperfections and cracks.
These next few months may be challenging. This pregnancy may not look the way you’d hoped, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling the way you feel. Give yourself grace for the mess and the unknown, and take this one day at a time.
Fear may feel as if it abounds for now, but hold tight. There is joy and hope to be found here too.
Photo Credit: Jenn Hildebrand Photography