Pregnancy and infant loss are two of the most devastating situations moms can face. It takes so much strength to recover from that type of tragedy. When a woman does get pregnant again after loss, how is the next pregnancy for her emotionally? This month’s post in the “Finding Your Strength” series will detail what the journey of pregnancy after loss is like and explains how strength is developed in many ways.
Pregnancy after loss brings with it a wave of emotions. When you finally get that positive pregnancy test again, you experience four different emotions at once; happiness, fear, anxiety, and excitement. This time around, you aren’t naive to tragedy. You know what loss feels like and you do your best to remain optimistic but fear looms.
It was almost two years later after having a miscarriage that my husband and I finally got pregnant again. We were excited, but very guarded this second time around. It took my husband a while to start rubbing my belly and talking to the baby like he did in the first pregnancy. It also took time for me to feel joy again instead of fear. I couldn’t even look at baby things until after reaching the second trimester. I was afraid to allow myself to get too excited until I had many confirmations that our baby was going to make it this time.
Prenatal care can be scary, but I made my practitioners very aware of my history upfront so they could better understand my anxieties. My doctors took extra precautions and immediately put me on a few medications that are proven to make the pregnancy more viable. One thing I haven’t been able to do throughout this pregnancy is go to the doctor alone, especially into an ultrasound room.
My heart was full of fear that entire 1st trimester. I had major anxiety every time I went in for an ultrasound. Time and time again, our baby’s heartbeat was strong. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard and it made me cry every time. Tears of joy and relief flooded my cheeks with every visit, because our beautiful baby continued to show us his strength. When our baby appeared on the monitor and I heard the perfect rhythm of his strong heartbeat, I couldn’t help but get emotional.
Making it through Milestones
As the pregnancy progresses, the anxieties and fears lessen. When I made it past the 8 week mark, which is when we lost our previous pregnancy, I finally felt like I could breathe a little easier. Then, I had my eyes set on getting through that first trimester. Once we made it through the first trimester, it was another sigh of relief. Each week we have conquered throughout the pregnancy has been a glorious moment. Our baby just keeps growing stronger! Another milestone is when I began to feel him moving around. This is also when I could truly believe that he was ours for keeps. It is the most beautiful thing being able to feel your baby move and kick inside of you.
Strategies for Developing Strength
It is important to find your strength during pregnancy after loss for your health and the well-being of that precious rainbow baby. How exactly do moms get through a subsequent pregnancy after loss? Below are a few strategies for developing the strength needed to get to a place of joy instead of fear during a rainbow pregnancy.
1-Constant Prayer-Praying about your fears and anxieties makes them lighter. It also works wonders if you pray over your pregnancy and your baby each step of the way. God is with you and he will lift all of those worries and concerns away from your mind, if you give him a chance.
2-Exercise-Pre-pregnancy, exercise was my medicine for anxiety. I have had to slow down with the intensity of exercise, but have found ways to continue an exercise regimen that works with pregnancy such as; aqua cycling, walking, and prenatal yoga. Exercise has many positive benefits for you and your baby. It can also help you overcome anxiety.
3-Advocacy in Prenatal Care-It is essential to advocate for you and your baby. While your medical record might list your history of loss, it’s important to make practitioners aware and explain that you are concerned and fearsome in this subsequent pregnancy. Most of the time, they will react with compassion to your situation, which helps you through any fears you may have and will bring you comfort. If something doesn’t feel right in your pregnancy, do not be afraid to ask questions and advocate for you and your baby.
4-Support from Family & Friends-Enlist support from family and friends. I have been lucky to have my family within driving distance of where we are currently stationed. When my husband could not go to an appointment, my family has stepped in and been right there by my side. Some portions of prenatal care can bring up many emotions. Going into an ultrasound room has been my biggest fear. Having my husband or family in the room has helped me remain calmer.
5-Listen to Your Body-One thing I did not do in my previous pregnancy was listen to my body. I have slowed down my life tremendously and listened to what my body and the baby needs. This has meant taking more frequent breaks between work and household tasks, allowing myself permission to rest when needed, and eating healthy and frequent meals and snacks. I have not stopped living my life because I am pregnant, but have made modifications in my routine when needed for the benefit of this precious baby.
It is normal to be guarded and fearsome during pregnancy after loss. What is not okay is to stay there for too long during your pregnancy. Find support and strategies that will work for you and get to that place of peace and joy again. Your rainbow baby needs to feel your excitement and happiness, just as your angel baby did. Try to celebrate each milestone during your pregnancy in some way and enjoy this special little miracle.
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2019.
After suffering through pregnancy loss, the journey to healing, two years of waiting, and growing in their faith, Wendi and her husband are now expecting a miracle baby of their own. They give all the glory to God for this beautiful blessing. Wendi has been an Army wife for three years and part of military life for five years. She has spent the last nine years as an adult educator, has a Master of Arts in Educational Media, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Currently, she is a blogger, freelance writer, Aqua Cycling Instructor, virtual assistant, and avid volunteer. In her free time, you can usually find her volunteering at USO’s story time, outdoors in the garden, cooking up a new recipe, or playing fetch with their adorable Beagle, Daizi. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog Strength4Spouses.