Deciding to try for another pregnancy can be very difficult. Parents often have a great deal of fear and anxiety as they worry that they may have trouble conceiving, that they may have another loss, or that people will forget about their babies that died. It means juggling feelings of sadness and grief for the babies that have died and anticipation and joy for the babies that are yet to be born.
Parents may wonder if other people will think that a new pregnancy means they are “over” their grief or are replacing the babies that died. And, many parents worry that people, including themselves, will forget about the babies that never came home.
Many parents who have experienced a loss describe a pregnancy after a loss as a loss of innocence. They don’t feel as carefree and safe as they did with other pregnancies. They are now aware of the variety of problems that can occur, dread appointments with doctors or ultrasounds, and hesitate to bond with the new pregnancy and new baby. They no longer feel that pregnancy is a simple, natural state. It has evolved into a time of medical tests, nervousness, and apprehension. The days of dreaming about bringing home a healthy baby are gone, replaced by nightmares that something will go wrong.
You may be wondering how someone decides that they are ready to embark on this emotional and physical journey. For most, the physical healing is much faster than the emotional. Your OB or midwife may have given you the green light to try, but your heart may not be ready. You can’t forget what you have experienced in the past. You can’t make yourself ignore the stories you have heard from other parents who have had similar experiences. You can’t force yourself to feel ready when you are not.
Some parents have shared that they knew they were ready to try again when the desire for a baby outweighed the fear. It wasn’t like a switch had been flipped and they woke up knowing they were ready. It was a process that included recognizing how difficult this decision is, making sure to have the support of an OB or midwife as well as your partner, and knowing where you will find strength and support if/when it is needed during the next pregnancy.
There are some resources that may provide assistance on your journey....
Rainbow PALS is a social support group open to anyone who is considering or experiencing a subsequent pregnancy after loss. We meet on a regular basis, usually in a social setting. Our mission is to celebrate in the joys of pregnancy, while supporting each other through the anxiety and fear that surrounds pregnancy after loss. Meetings have included dinners at local restaurants, picnic in the park, and painting with Truth Be Told Art. For more information, call the Heartstrings Perinatal Bereavement Office at 404-851-8177 or email us at email@example.com.
Abby: A Mother’s Memoir of Losing One Daughter and Being Saved by Another (Stember) Abby is an honest, introspective memoir of Abby's stillbirth and its emotional aftermath. Abby is also a celebration of the author's other daughter, Peyton, whose small voice and tender heart pulled her over incredible obstacles and gave her peace and hope during their family's darkest time.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (McCracken) Touching and often unexpectedly funny memoir about the author's life before and after losing her first child in the ninth month of pregnancy. “I’m not ready for my first child to fade into history,” explains McCracken as she talks about her next pregnancy.
Motherhood after Miscarriage (Diamond) Myths and realities associated with miscarriage, summaries of the known and suspected causes of single and recurrent miscarriage, the pros and cons of hormone treatments and in vitro fertilization, miscarriage risks for prospective mothers over 35
Pregnancy after a Loss (Lanham) Helps women to prepare, both psychologically and physically, for a new pregnancy
Pregnancy after Loss (Warland) Addresses fears for those preparing or already pregnant after miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or SIDS
Someone Came Before You (Schwiebert) For children when the baby they are waiting for dies ANDfor the child who comes after the one who died
Still To Be Born (Schwiebert) Talks openly about whether or not to get pregnant again, and factors that should be considered before that decision is made