COPING WITH LOSS
PREGNANCY AFTER A LOSS
Congratulations! This is undoubtedly an emotional time for you and one full of uncertainty about what to expect. Here are a few things to help ease your mind during pregnancy after loss:
You may be excited yet scared, happy yet nervous, hopeful yet anxious. Pregnancy after a loss is one giant emotional roller coaster from the minute the test shows positive until the time your baby arrives. Concentrate on the things you can control, such as getting enough sleep and exercising, and let the things go that you can’t. If you need to cry, scream, punch a pillow, or eat cake to make yourself feel better, go for it!
Announce the pregnancy whenever you are ready. Some people choose to wait longer in case there is another loss. Others choose to share the news early because they want support should something go wrong. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, just whatever feels right to you.
Many loss survivors are guarded in subsequent pregnancies and don’t want to allow themselves to get too attached or become hopeful. This is a natural reaction. On the other hand, it’s also ok to be excited! We all process situations differently and what works for one person may not for another.
You’ll want to compare this current pregnancy to your last one(s). Try to remember that every pregnancy is different, even for the same woman! Try not to read into every twinge or compare every milestone.
Remember that you cannot do anything to prevent a pregnancy loss the same way you did not doing anything to cause the previous one. Go easy on yourself. Look at purchasing a fetal doppler to help ease your mind.
Talk with your partner and remember you are in this together! S/he likely has the same doubts, fears, and worries as you do. Take this opportunity to create an even closer bond that will help prepare you for the baby’s arrival.
PARENTING AFTER A LOSS
You made it through a healthy pregnancy and have welcomed you precious and long awaited baby. But now what? After the long months of worrying about getting and/or staying pregnant, you now have a whole new set of worries. Parenting is never easy even under the best of circumstances, but raising a child after a loss can bring extra emotions you didn’t expect.
Having a baby isn’t a fix-all. Although trying to conceive and pregnancy may have been a difficult time for you, it doesn’t magically end once you give birth. Some moms report having worse anxiety or depression after their baby is born. A baby seriously changes your life, especially in the first few months when you may be dealing with issues like sleep deprivation, colic, reflux, problems with breastfeeding or reactions to formula. It can be incredibly stressful. Make sure to take care of yourself – you can’t take care of your child unless you do! Seek out a medical professional if you need to. Lean on those around you, especially your partner, for support (and remember they are doing their best too!) and accept help when it is offered to you.
Parenting after a loss seems to go 2 ways. You may find yourself doing a little more “helicopter parenting” because you remember everything you went through to have your child and you want to protect your little one. Or, you may find out that you are more lax in your parenting than you expected or planned. Loss shows us that even when you do everything right, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you planned or expected. There’s no way to be perfect despite your best efforts. Whichever side you find yourself on, remember to trust your gut, you are the best mother/father for your child, and try to enjoy every moment.