Pregnancy After Loss
I’m finding that celebrating my pregnancy is so different this time than it was with my daughter. Although I had experienced a loss before I had her, the circumstances then were completely different. I think the main difference was that I had not known I was pregnant until the day I lost the baby. I found out that I was pregnant in the same moment that I learned I couldn’t keep the baby. So I had not really formed a bond or spent any time learning to love the child that I lost that day. Also, since I hadn’t had any children previously, I had no idea what I had really lost. I didn’t know the joy of being a mother. I was very sad to lose that baby, and cried for many days. But I became pregnant with my daughter so soon afterwards that I simply put the mourning on hold and didn’t pick it up again for a very long time.
Since that day, I have lost three more babies - all three of them just last year. And as I mourned each of them, I mourned the loss of that first baby as well. And being pregnant now is so different. The best word I have come up with to describe how this pregnancy is is “bittersweet.”
Yesterday and today have been rough days for me emotionally. It has been a while since I have sat down and had a good cry over my babies. I think of them every single day, but this was different. The pain felt recent again. The hurt was raw. Last night I was still feeling so blue as I went to bed and I wondered what had triggered these emotions. I got out my calendar and counted. I found that this week is the week I would most likely have given birth to my Nathaniel - my “baby #4” if I hadn’t lost him last October. How strange that subconsciously I knew, my emotions remembered, even though it wasn’t a date I had marked on any calendar.
I am still learning a lot about what it’s like to be pregnant after such loss. I remember hearing other women talk about it. While I was working through the pain of losing each baby, I met and talked with women who were pregnant after a loss and struggling to connect with their unborn child, or they were afraid something would go wrong, or they had feelings of guilt because they were pregnant so soon after losing a previous child. It’s hard to put into words how I do feel. Although guilt isn’t necessarily the right word, it’s the closest one I can find. How can I rejoice over this new pregnancy when I’m still mourning the loss of my other sweet babies? How do I start preparing a nursery when I still have moments of panic that something will go wrong and I won’t get to bring a baby home to put in it? And then I feel guilty for allowing those kinds of thoughts to rob me of the joy that I should have during this healthy pregnancy. It’s hard to find the right balance.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with my obstetrician. I have been looking forward to this appointment so much - the doctor is pretty sure he will be able to tell me the gender of my baby tomorrow! And this week I have actually felt little flutters of movement - which is so amazing! So why did panic set in when I started to think about tomorrow morning? Why did my mind instantly start producing terrible scenarios and preparing me to receive bad news? I guess that’s only natural for someone who has received more bad news than good at these kinds of appointments. But I don’t have any reason to worry about this baby right now. It’s silly to let myself worry. But hard not to.
Another thing I have found is that I am so anxious for this baby to arrive. I still have 26 weeks to go and I’m already impatient for the day I bring this baby home. I feel like the baby will be safer once he or she is born. And I long to see and hold this baby so much more because I have four babies in heaven that I never was able to see or hold. I feel like the moment I have the baby in my arms, I will be able to breathe again.
Anyway... I don’t really have a clear view of what will happen during the rest of this pregnancy. I still have a long way to go and hope that I can find a good balance and just enjoy the miracle rather than being anxious and emotional. I am thankful that these emotional days are few and far between and typically only come with some type of trigger. And I’m thankful for friends who have been there and understand me and what I’m going through. I’m sure to many people this all just sounds a little crazy. But I felt like I needed to share it in case it might help someone else who is going through the same thing to feel less alone.
For now, I am praying for a deep sleep tonight with no worries or anxiety about my appointment. I’m praying for a wonderful appointment with nothing but great news and plenty of photos of a healthy baby. I’m praying that God will give me grace and help me to trust Him with this sweet little one. I’m thanking Him for a husband who is 110% supportive even when I get crazy like this. And I’m trying to just enjoy the miracle of this pregnancy!