Pregnancy for most women is a time to look to the future, to prepare for the birth of your baby and imagine who they will be.
But for some women, pregnancy isn’t a joyous and hopeful experience.
This is especially true for women who have been through miscarriage or recurrent miscarriages. Becoming pregnant again can be an emotional rollercoaster.
The innocence of pregnancy is gone, replaced by a range of emotions such as fear, anxiety and guilt.
Trying to conceive again can cause a great deal of stress, as your awareness of the potential pain overrides the potential joy. There are many ways pregnancy after loss is different.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Here are a few differences you might experience during pregnancy after miscarriage:
#1: Hyperawareness Of Actions, Feelings And Environment
A new pregnancy after a loss can put you into a state of heightened anxiety. It's not uncommon for women to blame themselves for their miscarriage, thinking they must have done something harmful.
You may feel the need to be extremely careful about avoiding any potential harm and worry about things which are out of your control.
This state of emotions can be very stressful and cause you needless grief.
Most early miscarriages are the result of chromosomal abnormalities which prevent a pregnancy from continuing. Knowing this is little consolation, however, it can help you remember it's very unlikely anything you did caused your miscarriage.
#2: Fear Of Bonding
It's very normal to be afraid of losing another baby. Many women feel disconnected to their new pregnancy as a protective measure in case something goes wrong. You're also grieving the baby you lost and this can make it difficult to feel connected to the baby you're now carrying.
At the same time, you can feel incredible guilt for not wanting to feel connected. Each scan or test may cause a lot of anxiety and fear, waiting to see if everything is okay and then getting to the next milestone. Living with these emotions can be draining and put a lot of stress on you and your partner.
Often after you pass the point of your previous loss, you may feel less anxious and begin to trust that things will be okay. Take each day at a time and remember that how you feel about your pregnancy will not change the outcome.
# 3: Loneliness In Your Experience
You might have joyfully announced your previous pregnancy to your family and friends, without thinking that you would be telling them later of your loss.
With your next pregnancy, your instinct may be to keep your pregnancy a secret instead of sharing it as happy news. It can be hard to think ahead to buying baby items or even talking to your boss about maternity leave when you feel there is potential disaster ahead.
While this is an understandable reaction, it can increase your sense of loneliness. In a time when you need support the most, you feel less vulnerable if you keep quiet about the fact you are pregnant.
It may help to choose one or two trusted friends to be your support network until you are ready to share your pregnancy news. Many women who experience miscarriage are surprised to find they are not alone when they open up to other people. Most childbearing women in your circle will have been through miscarriage and understand the fears you have.
#4: Envy Of Other Pregnant Women
You may see other pregnant women and feel envious that they are complaining about having morning sickness or feeling exhausted. Every twinge of pregnancy is a welcome sign that things are continuing and you would embrace having the physical reminders that you are pregnant.
All pregnancies are different and some women can have two pregnancies that are worlds apart in terms of symptoms. It could be that your body recognises the pregnancy hormones and isn’t reacting as strongly as the first time you fell pregnant. Or you could be very nauseous this time, and feel that you are too sick.
Finding a balance is challenging. Talking to your care provider about your fears can alleviate some of your concerns. You may feel more reassured having extra prenatal testing or prefer to take each day as it comes. Being envious of another person’s experience doesn’t mean you aren’t happy you are pregnant again.
#5: Afraid Of Being Happy
The hardest part about being pregnant after miscarriage is you know the possibility of another miscarriage. It's very hard to let yourself feel happy and excited about your new pregnancy. Many women keep a tight rein on their positive feelings as they feel it's inviting disaster to show too much happiness.
You may think of the future in terms of ‘if things work out’ or ‘if the baby is born,' and avoid buying anything for the baby — or even delay choosing names. While it may make you feel more in control to expect the worst and be happily surprised when it doesn’t happen, the time you are pregnant is unique and never to be replicated again.
It could be the first flutters of your baby quickening or reaching the last month of pregnancy; it may be finding out if your baby is a boy or a girl. The moment of happiness that this baby has come to you will arrive and you will feel more relaxed and hopeful, ready to enjoy the experience of carrying this new life.
Rainbows are the beauty that comes after a storm and are a symbol of hope. This is how many women describe their baby conceived after miscarriage, stillbirth or loss. A rainbow baby doesn’t take the place of the baby who is gone, and you may feel conflicted about loving your new baby the way you love the baby you lost. There will always be room in your heart for the baby that could have been and the babies you will hold in your arms.