Pregnancy after our miscarriage was full of so many mixed emotions. Being pregnant for the second time was a completely different experience in ways I didn’t expect. Somehow it changed me for the better.
Trusting in the face of Fear
Five months after our loss, (read our story here), I became pregnant again. I wish that I could tell you that I was free from anxiety and worry. I wish that I could say that I walked in more confidence than doubt. But the truth is, I was very worried for the first half of my pregnancy. My heart squealed with joy when I saw my positive pregnancy test, but I also wondered “Will we get to meet this baby?” Before our loss, I breezed through certain pregnancy milestones: prenatal appointments, birth announcements, etc.. Pregnancy after loss suddenly made every milestone feel like a major feat to overcome. I felt a temporary sigh of relief at our seven-week appointment when I heard our baby’s heart beat for the first time. It was the sweetest melody I have ever heard. I continued to be hyper-aware of all my pregnancy symptoms. I worried about morning sickness, I worried about the lack of morning sickness.
This roller coaster of emotions didn’t come to a stop until week 20 of my pregnancy. One evening after I got home from one of our prenatal appointments, I looked over some of our ultra-sound pictures. I knew that in worrying so much, deep down I was not allowing hope to grow in my heart.I so desperately wanted to have control, that in all my planning, researching, and anxiousness I was smothering my ability to fully enjoy this pregnancy and live in the moment. I decided to slowly let go of fear and let hope in.
Celebrating and Grieving together
There is a misconception that after a woman gets pregnant again after a loss, the grief and pain she feels will suddenly vanish. In my experience, I was so grateful and so excited to have another baby growing inside my belly, yet still heartbroken over the baby I never got to meet. Sometimes a sadness would sneak up on me while celebrating different news about my second pregnancy. We had a small, intimate, gender reveal dinner party. When we sliced the cake and saw there was blue filling, I was thrilled to find out we were having a boy. The moment felt bittersweet, as I thought of our first baby and how we didn’t get to celebrate the gender of our little one.
I learned that joy and sorrow can live together, they often intertwine as a part of an intricate dance. I simply allowed myself to be in the moment and feel whatever it was that I was feeling. On most days I felt joy.
Empathizing with other’s pain
After my miscarriage, I missed one day of work and then I was back in the classroom, teaching my first-grade students. It was still early in my pregnancy, so I never told my co-workers I was expecting. Because no one at my job knew I was expecting, I didn’t have to give any awkward updates about my pregnancy ending. But it also made me feel like I was silently suffering. For a few weeks, it was hard to wake up and go to work. I was physically there, but emotionally and mentally absent. I was happy for two of my colleagues who were pregnant and nearing their due dates, but seeing them stung, and made me wonder, “How big would my belly be at this point?”
During my second pregnancy, I wondered was there someone at my job who was coming to work each day with a smile on there face but pain in their eyes? Was there someone going through an unspeakable hardship in their personal life but still trying to meet every work deadline? My colleagues expressed a lot of excitement for my pregnancy, and even threw me a surprise baby shower before I went on maternity leave. But as I began to show more, I couldn’t help but wonder if my pregnancy reminded any of my mostly female co-workers, of someone they had lost. I found myself hoping that whatever situations they may be in, that they would experience comfort and cling to joy.
Pregnancy after loss is different in every way, physically, emotionally, and mentally. But it can absolutely be a joyful experience. If you are pregnant after a loss, be patient with yourself as you heal and celebrate. Don’t feel guilty or rushed if you are still mourning. It’s a lot of work to process everything you’re feeling, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Share with someone you trust. Simply allow yourself to be fully present in every moment. And no matter what you’re feeling, let hope in— whether it’s a slight trickle, or rushing river. Let it in, sis. Once I let hope in, it allowed me to fully embrace the love I have for both of my babies.
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Until next time,
Contributing Mommi Christina