Pregnancy after loss is a complicated journey. These are 10 things I learned about hope, grief, fear, & love, and how my two children can coexist. (Guest post at Pursue Today.)
The experience of pregnancy after loss can be complex and terrifying. Getting pregnant quickly or secondary infertility; worry over potential signs of danger; thoughts on when and how to share news about subsequent children; confusion surrounding simultaneous feelings of both grief and joy. If you are pregnant or attempting pregnancy after loss, my heart is with you. I have included resources here that were useful to me in my process. Please take what you find useful, and discard the rest.
After losing Adrian to undiagnosed preeclampsia, I was terrified to experience pregnancy for a second time. Terrified, but also holding hope. And my Peanut is finally here. This is her story.
They I gave her to me and she was screaming and all I could think was yes, mama loves you so much. You are a new piece of my everything. And suddenly I’m just bigger and you are still gone and I’m straddling the world in two.
I find myself living in the world again, at least in pieces. And I railed and I fought and I thought maybe it would be that way forever. And I’m realizing, even when I maybe don’t want to, that somehow I am living.
And for the longest time, I couldn’t cry. And for the longest time I couldn’t cry about you. And then today, and it feels almost out of nowhere. Like it’s a full body memory, and I realized I still miss you. I’ve never stopped missing you.
For the past year, I’ve told myself everyday I would do anything to have you here with me. If I could travel back in time I would do anything to convince myself we should have been induced…For the past year, I’ve told myself this, but now I realize that’s changed.
People sometimes ask me if my daughter is my first child. I needed a simple way to tell them I had a child before her, but he died. When people ask me now, I have a simple response.
A little over 13 months ago, just by chance on Mother’s Day weekend, I made my first attempt at having a second child. It feels like such a different world that this year, on Mother’s Day weekend, my second pregnancy was coming to an end. This is my story of pregnancy after loss and Peanut’s birth.
Yoga pants in Target, and the two week wait. And I think about you. At this moment, you could already be a big brother.
I smile with genuine feeling. I finally feel excitement. I love her and I miss you. I realize I have given up control.
I see her when I close my eyes. I see her as a child and all grown up, and I think about the ways that I didn’t see you. When I dreamt of you, you were always an adult looking out of a child’s body.
I’ve been enamored with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project for years. I planned to participate myself after my first child was born. I did participate, even though my child had died. It was still a amazing experience.
Pregnant with my daughter after the loss of my son, life is often complicated. Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes I write about it.
Now imagine one day you were crossing the street, and you were hit by a bus. No warning, no notice; you were completely unprepared. This is obviously something that’s possible, but not the kind of thing that happens everyday. Not to most people.
This is quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written. Please note that the following screenshots are simulated tweets. This is the timeline of an event that never happened.
I don’t write this to be condescending. I write this because I unfortunately know. I know what it’s like to think everything’s okay, and then have your entire world fall apart. I will always wish someone had said these things to me. I will always wish someone had thought I should know.
I’ve been feeling funny all day. I can’t really put a name to it. Off-balance, yes, and a little bit sad. I’m still processing pieces of my last relationship.
I think something that’s hard for me personally is that now that I’m pregnant for the second time, I don’t know how to also hold onto that feeling of wanting to rewrite the past.
I ordered flower seeds for the backyard. I ordered bluebonnets, though I heard they may not grow here. You should be sitting in bluebonnets, learning to grasp things; starting to smile and hearing me read. I should be reading to you.
My son died at the end of a term pregnancy, and I was so thankful for every tangible piece I had of his memory. Not only our photos, but also our baby shower, our plans for the future; the time and energy I put into his nursery. This is why I celebrate every moment of my pregnancy after loss.
When someone is pregnant after loss, loved ones often rush to promise everything will be “fine.” It’s important to understand how hurtful and often inaccurate this phrase can be. Please focus on reality when talking about my pregnancy after loss.
I think of all the signs the providers brushed off. I think of the other signs I just didn’t see. My heart hurts. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I had saved you.
When my son was stillborn at 41 weeks, I came home to a complete nursery. All of his clothes were washed and sorted, his diapers laid out next to wipes and creams. And maybe it sounds counterintuitive, but I was thankful.