Pregnancy after miscarriage or the loss of a baby isn’t often talked about, but it’s more common than you think.
Amazed and excited that you are pregnant, it can also be quite an anxious time.
Finally conceiving a baby after a loss can bring many anxieties to the surface – what you eat, what you do and how you feel every minute of the day. Right up until you’re holding your baby in your arms.
Whether you have lost a baby early or late in your term, or near to or at birth, it’s a bitter sweet time that is full of emotions and worries.
Most of the time you feel overwhelmingly happy and excited that you are pregnant, but depending on the stage of your pregnancy, it is still in the back of your mind all the time: I hope this baby sticks.
There are so many emotions it’s difficult to put them all into one basket. There is the excitement and relief that you are finally pregnant. There is guilt over the loss of your last baby. There is anxiety about keeping this pregnancy and hoping this baby is healthy. And there is fear about letting yourself be happy about being pregnant, in case it doesn’t work out again.
I was so cautious about many things I assumed other pregnant women would only take for granted: making sure I had lukewarm instead of hot showers, not batheing for more than 15 minutes, steering well clear of any foods that are not recommended during pregnancy, not having a single drop of alcohol, getting plenty of rest and always sleeping on my left side and trying to stay at fit as possible without overdoing it (I gave up jogging) and eating mostly organic, fresh foods.
It felt excessive, how obsessed I was about food and health and doing the right thing, but for me, having a miscarriage beforehand with no known reason had made me compelled to do everything I could to keep this baby.
Then I read that stress may also be a contributing factor in miscarriage, so tried to manage my worries and stress levels about losing the baby by keeping fit: going for walks, swimming and so on, as well as having regular massages and weekend getaways to manage the stress. Talking to friends also helped to ease my mind, as sharing my feelings about my fears did help to put it all into perspective and get support.
It felt like a while before I could enjoy my pregnancy, and it wasn’t until I was about 20 weeks pregnant that I began to feel at ease, allowing myself to really be in the moment with the pregnancy and start to imagine my baby. But even then, I still felt anxious. I guess it’s a common feeling in pregnancy – especially if getting pregnant didn’t come easily for you.
I didn’t take any moment for granted. I relished every kick, every movement… even the sickness I didn’t mind as it reassured me the baby was growing and developing. I took all the aches and pains and cramps in my stride and reminded myself constantly it was for the baby – all the changes to my body were a good sign. I recorded all the feelings and emotions I was experiencing in a diary so as never to forget this amazing, special and incredible time in my life.
At nearly 41 weeks the amazing conclusion to all my worries and fears ended, and so began the my life as a mama. The amazing and overwhelming love was palpable from that very first minute she was placed onto my chest.
So much of the tears and emotion when holding my baby – MY baby – wasn’t just the extreme happiness at her arrival, but overwhelming sense of relief. For those of us that have lost a baby, it’s difficult to describe, the overwhelming relief and emotion you feel when holding your healthy newborn baby. It’s so wonderful.
It’s a very personal experience, and every pregnancy and baby is different. Try to live in the moment, take each day as it comes and be kind to yourself.
I hope you all get to experience it if you’re trying.
This was a guest post I wrote for Wonderful Mama, A Thankyou Community