Facing a pregnancy after baby loss
Facing a new pregnancy after the death of a child or miscarriage can be daunting. Especially if like me your first and only experience of being pregnant was a traumatic one.
I knew I wanted to have a child but the thought of the same events recurring left me insecure and scared. I had a trillion questions going through my mind and no matter how positive I tried to be the memories of our first experience made it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I decided to face my fears. I wanted a baby and wanted to be a mother enough for me to take the plunge.
Like with everything else in my life, my faith was going to be pivotal in keeping me strong and sane throughout a very long nine months. I was going to have to trust God completely believing that if this new life inside me was destined to come to the world according to God’s plans then nothing in this world or beyond could stop that.
The road to actually getting pregnant was not an easy one either, because my blood pressure was still high even after a year of giving birth, my doctors ran some tests just to make sure I was able to conceive at my healthiest. I hate Doctor’s appointments and hospital visits, I know everyone probably does but they make me particularly anxious. I never was one to face these things with ease and peace of mind.
Hearing the doctors say ‘I think you need to have another baby, you need to move on from this tragedy and the only way to do it is to conceive again’ really convinced me that I had to hold my breath and just go for it, no matter how scared I was, waiting was just not going to make the pain go away or the circumstances any different. This was not just going to be a facing your fear for a few hours and you’re done moment, this was going to be a hard long journey requiring great patience. Moments like these you realise that we are more of a spiritual being then anything else. Our relationship with our maker, our life giver is above all else what gives our life meaning and defines our toughest battles. So I prayed. I spoke to God in all sincerity and poured onto him all my fears and worries just like I would if I were speaking to my mother. “I trust that the circumstances of my life, good or bad are no coincidence but are all part of your perfect plan, so I am in your hands from now on”
Both my husband and I were happy upon discovering I was expecting another child. But the weeks and first months to follow were challenging for both of us. We didn’t want to get our hopes up. Attachment, especially for my husband was a slow process. Guarding your heart from pain is understandable, considering our first experience with pregnancy was anything but ideal. I had very negative memories regarding pregnancy and even though I tried to let go of them, the trauma I had suffered made it hard to face this new pregnancy with a positive outlook. Despite that, nine months flew by quicker then I ever could have hope for. Surprisingly my blood pressure was stable all trough and on the whole it was a very straightforward, beautiful pregnancy.
I had to consciously accept that all the negative thoughts and fears that were going through my head were a product of my previous traumatic experience. So day after day, week after week the pregnancy progressed.
It was almost impossible not to compare my pregnancy to the first one. I feared I would develop preeclampsia again as I approached the same number of weeks I had when I discovered my high blood pressure last time and was naturally anxious.
In the end everything worked out for the best. I delivered a beautiful baby boy on the 21st of January 2016. The delivery was swift, natural and with no complications. Hopefully my story may restore your fate in facing a pregnancy after a traumatic experience and give you some hope if you are currently pregnant again or looking to conceive.
This is what I’ve learned from my experience;
- Take you time to grieve your loss first. This is not the same for everyone, some may take longer than others but grieving is a natural and necessary process one cannot afford to overlook.
- Get professional/medical advice before conceiving again to make sure that you are in your optimum health to better your chances in general.
- Get pregnant again only when you feel ready but know that you may never feel absolutely ready. A good indicator to try again is when your desire for a child is stronger then your fear of facing a new pregnancy.
- This child will never take away the love you had for your first. This is not about replacing your baby. No individual can ever replace another. This is not even about moving on; this is about accepting the past for what it is and embracing what life may give you from now onwards. Of course the satisfaction of mothering a child will not heal old wounds but will give your heart the warmth it needs to grow and share more love.
- Pray! Open and honest conversations with God is the most natural way to take the load off your shoulders in understanding that there is someone taking care that all things are set in the right place at the right time. Accept that some things are beyond our control, and rightfully so! Let God guide you through it.
- Don’t be scared to get excited for the new baby. Many women find it hard to let themselves enjoy the pregnancy fearing that should something go wrong they would have left their hearts bare, making pain inevitable. But every child, no matter how short their course of life may be, deserves a parent that is excited by their kicks, ultrasound appointments and heartbeats. They deserve a parent that can’t wait to hold them in their arms and sing them to sleep. A parent who shops for them and prepares for their arrival no matter what the outcome may be.