***Trigger Warning***

***Trigger Warning***

 

Pregnancy after Loss AKA Why It’s Scary to Share Joyful News

So, I’m pregnant (see above). Other than a good handful of “loss moms” (mostly on Facebook), healthcare providers (everyone at my ob-gyn’s office, my dentist, my daughter’s therapist), and our immediate families–only about 10 others know (one of which is a friend/coworker who identified my pregnancy at 13 weeks–she pegged my previous 2 pregnancies also). My husband and I had a difficult time telling Astoria about this baby. Let’s just say it didn’t go great. And I waited until 21 weeks to tell my parents(!) and my boss. As I’ve been mulling over why it’s so difficult to share what should be joyous news, I’ve managed to come up with a few reasons.

Edited to add: This one is obvious and is related to the title of Trigger Warning–I’m ashamed that I forgot to write it. After nearly 19 months in the bereaved parent community, I know that pregnancy announcements can be difficult. Heck, I STILL struggle with pregnancy announcements and I’m pregnant. I doubt I will ever attend another baby shower and after Corva died it took me 17 months to hold a baby (and even then they were babies of other loss moms). Quite honestly, if it’s a fellow loss mom who is pregnant I don’t struggle but recently my college roommate announced her 4th pregnancy on social media and I had to unfollow her. I am also more aware and sensitive to those who have encountered the heartbreak of infertility. If you also struggle with pregnancy announcements, I am sorry if this post is difficult for you.

A. It could happen again

While the chances of this baby dying are low, the chances last time were also low. I was considered to be “low risk.” My blood pressure was normal, I didn’t have gestational diabetes, I didn’t use alcohol (while pregnant), drugs, or tobacco. Everything looked good. I had previously delivered a healthy baby at 40 weeks 5 days four years prior without any major complications. There was absolutely no reason to believe that my baby would die in utero. But she did. Research shows that once a woman has experienced stillbirth she is at four times greater risk of having another stillbirth. Fortunately, everything (once again), looks good for this baby and we have providers who are monitoring our progress more dutifully, but I still anxiously hold my breath daily. I don’t hold a lot of weight in statistics or chances as that really didn’t work out well for me last time.

B. Announcing this pregnancy invites conversation that I don’t want to experience

The conversation around most pregnancy revolves around excitement and happiness. I experienced this with my previous two pregnancies. And yes, I am excited and happy to welcome this baby into our family. However I’m also anxious (see point A). People typically ask about due dates (not something I want to share, I’m trying to be as vague as possible), gender (we do know the sex of this baby and have shared with some people but for a handful of reasons it’s a challenging topic), and names (see gender). Over Thanksgiving I managed to answer questions as briefly as possible and move the conversation away from my midsection. When I shared the news with my boss, I did reiterate (numerous times like a nervous lunatic) that we weren’t really sharing the news with many people. She promised to keep quiet (and I believe her completely) but she did ask what I’m going to do as I begin to show (more). I believe that some people will be oblivious, some people will just think I’m getting fat(ter), and others will suspect but have enough tact to not ask. At least this is what I’m hoping for.

C. Some people will assume that this new baby will “heal” our family

Let’s just make something clear right now: I think about Corva (and Astoria and this new little one) every.single.day. I know there are people out there who may think this is morbid or strange or believe I should just “move on” from such a tragedy. To them I ask: Do you think about your children everyday? How could a mother forget her child? I carried her for 40 weeks before she died and I delivered her in the same way I delivered my oldest daughter. Our third child is an addition to our family, not a replacement.

D. Some people lack tact

While most people were supportive after our loss and some continue to remember Corva with our family, other people weren’t/didn’t know how to be “there” for us during our grief. (Two of these people are my own parents which is why I waited so long to share our news with them. This has been a very hurtful scenario for me to navigate). If something DOES happen to this child (see point A), I assume those who failed to support our family the first time would continue in the same manner. Right now, my heart just can’t take that.  I want to avoid conversations (see point B) that invite platitudes and hurtful comments, even if unintentional.

And last, but certainly not least…

E. I fear my child will be forgotten

There are going to be people who, upon finding out about this third baby, sigh with relief and think such thoughts as now they can move on. (see point C). And while I will never forget my 2nd daughter, my baby who never took a breath, others will forget and never mention her.


What were the biggest challenges you had in your pregnancy(ies) after your loss?

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9 thoughts on “***Trigger Warning***”

  1. This. This post is incredible. You’ve said everything exactly as it is! “I don’t put much weight in statistics anymore…” Exactly! Why would we ever do that again? I certainly won’t either. Our stories are similar, with the only difference being that the death of my son at 37 weeks was my first and only child. I completely agree with ‘conversations you’re just not ready to have’ – it’s so hard for me to imagine that. Everyone SO, so happy and my husband and I sort of playing along, but on the inside – fear, fear, fear. I feel, think, say, fear all the same things you write about. Especially “E”. Damnit, especially “E”. I’m so scared for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 37 weeks vs 40 weeks is pretty much the same. I definitely don’t differentiate between the two. I read Oliver’s story and I am so sorry. You are just about 1 year behind me. It sucks so bad to experience this pain. Thanks for finding me. 💗

      Like

  2. First, a gentle congratulations. This is a really weird time, I’m sure. For me the challenges were abundant. But, the most challenging thing was my fear obviously. I think it caused me to not connect to the girls (first Alden, and then subsequently Rowan). I felt resentment toward them for a while and I’m ashamed to say that because I love them so much. Now, it’s so hard to think of the days where I cried because I felt like I didn’t want them, but it’s ok because I know that was just grief.

    I’d say just allow yourself to feel all the things. They will come, and you’re better off if you just feel them, you know? They’re gonna be there no matter what.

    Sending love your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I actually don’t feel like I connected with any of my pregnancies much while I was actually pregnant and with my 2nd pregnancy I worried that I wouldn’t love my baby as much as I love my oldest (which was totally unfounded and then she died which did complicate things). This time around I am trying so hard to remember that this is a planned and wanted baby. I know when he/she arrives I will feel so much better, or at least I’m hoping?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man I feel this comment so hard. I bonded less during my second pregnancy than my first and even less on my third. I viewed pregnancy as a means to an ends and hate that that’s all I got with my son. I hope he felt loved.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything you’ve said is excatly the same as I felt last year whilst on my journey of pregnancy after loss. We never announced (only told a few people – which came as quite a shock to many when we then had to go to friends and say we had had a baby, rather than tell them we were pregnant). To be honest., I found it very hard to talk about my pregnancy with people as like you said, it conjurs up conversations that I didn’t really want to have. I think I went into hibernation mode a bit and only came out when our baby was here. But we need to do whatever we feel is right to protect ourselves from any more pain.

    This is lovely news for you and your family though. It really is. But I know that all of your emotions right now are probably overshadowing the feelings you want and wish you could be feeling. Sending loads of love and strength. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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