Pregnancy after experiencing the death of a baby is beyond hard. I can’t lie. I wish I could tell you that you will fall pregnant easily and that your baby will be born healthy, safe and alive. I want that for every mother mourning the loss of her baby. Hey, I want that for every woman who wishes to conceive a child!
My pregnancies with River and Ocea were a whirlwind of emotions. I felt anxious, worried, excited, hopeful, fearful and paranoid. Sometimes all in one day. All of the innocence that I had with my first pregnancy was gone. Oh how I missed being carefree and naive. I could not picture my babies being born alive. That thought seemed impossible to me. But in the end, they were born screaming into this world.
Below I have written a short guide to help you to get through this experience of being pregnant after the loss of a baby. The guide is filled with ideas and suggestions and of course, we are all different so some of these suggestions may not resonate with you and others may. At the end of the day, it is all about what feels right for you.
When To Start Trying: I knew that it was time for us to start trying to conceive another baby after the stillbirth of our son because my yearning for a baby outweighed the worry and fear of it happening again. I remember people thought we should wait a year but in all honesty, who were they to tell me when we should try for another baby? My obstetrician said that she believed I was physically well enough to try again, only a couple of months after Christian was born still. She made sure that we had the support around us to help get us through that new journey. Talk to your doctor or counselor about it, that way you can make an informed decision.
Announcing Your Pregnancy: You have to remember that this is your time. You need to do whatever helps you to get you through this experience without losing your mind. You may choose to keep your pregnancy quiet until it is physically impossible to hide your belly anymore. This helps if you don’t want to have to deal with all the questions from worrying friends and family. You may choose to let everyone know early to gain as much support as possible. Whatever you decide, just make sure it is the right decision for you.
Friendship: What helped me the most was having a close friendship with a fellow bereaved mother who was on the same road as myself. We shared everything together through emails. We held each other up on the bad days and we were able to find the positives and beautiful moments in our pregnancies as well. Our friendship has continued since our babies were born. I can honestly say that having this friendship with my friend who completely understood what I had been through and was going through was the single most thing that got me through my last pregnancy with my darling, Ocea Marie. You may want to have a look on the internet for forums to do with pregnancy after loss. There are women out there who can support you and you will be able to return that support to them just by being a friend.
Retreat: If you are pregnant there might be other bereaved mothers that warn you of things to look out for during your pregnancy. They only have your best interests at heart but try not to concentrate on all of those things. There are so many things that could take your baby from you and if you concentrate on all of them you are only going to bring about unnecessary stress to you and your precious baby. Try to focus on positive beliefs. Surround yourself with positive energy. Read positive affirmations each morning. Try some meditation of an evening. I always recommend retreating or just pulling back a little bit from grief support groups and forums whilst you are pregnant. Reading and listening to devastating stories every day will bring extra heaviness to your heart and it will increase your feelings of fear. This is not a time for you to carry anyone’s grief besides your own. People will understand why you maybe quiet on the forums and in groups. Join positive support groups or pages that are aimed at lifting your spirits.
Connecting With Your Baby: A friend of mine was too afraid to make any real connection to her baby as he grew in her womb. She felt that if she connected with him, that she would hurt even more if he passed away. Know that if you are in the same situation that my friend found herself in, that what you are going through is completely normal and understandable. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I, myself felt differently to my friend. I soaked my babies up as much as possible. I wanted to make as many memories as I could, because in my eyes, this was going to be the only time that I had with them. Of course, that wasn’t true! But that is how I felt at the time.
To Baby Shower Or Not To Baby Shower: So many people hate the idea of baby showers after they have experienced the death of their baby. I am one of those people and I decided not to have a baby shower with any of my babies. The thought of all those gifts with no baby to give them all to was just too much of a risk for me. I did not want to have to pack away an entire nursery of gifts. I do not regret the decision I made to not have a baby shower however, after reading into Baby and Mother Blessingways, I really wish I could have had one of those for each of my babies. If you have some time on your hands google “Blessingway” or look it up on Pinterest. A Blessingway focuses on honouring the mother and the baby’s journey together. I could write an entire article on Blessingways alone! Maybe I should.
Preparing For The Birth: I think it is a great idea to have a birth plan. Tell your midwives or obstetrician everything you are feeling including your hopes and fears. We all know that plans can fall apart right at the end but having one in place may help to calm your worrying heart. If at any stage you are worried about yourself or the baby, I always say, get it checked out. Who cares if it ends up being nothing? It is better to be safe than sorry.
Setting up a nursery before your baby is born is a huge step, I think we can all agree on that one. Just remember this though. If you feel that you cannot do it, then don’t. A cot can be put together within a couple of hours and all your baby needs when they are born is to be fed, clothed, kept warm and loved. They do not need a painted room filled with gifts. All they want is to be held and loved. If you want to get right into putting a nursery together, then go for it. Do whatever feels right for you.
Helpful Reading: Franchesca has written a beautiful book especially for mothers who are experiencing pregnancy after the loss of a baby. It not only focuses on surviving pregnancy after loss but celebrating the gift that this new baby truly is. I wish I could have read it when I was carrying my daughters. You can find it here.
If you are trying to conceive after a loss I wish you all my peace and love for this journey. If you are pregnant, I wish you a beautifully long and uneventful pregnancy with the happy ending that you deserve. I hope this article has been of some help to you.