Pregnancy after baby loss is a time of mixed emotions. There’s happiness and joy. But there’s also anxiety and fear.
Back in November 2015, I discovered that I was pregnant for the sixth time in 3 years.
We’re lucky to have a beautiful little girl. But we’ve also experienced the pain and grief of four miscarriages.
Three of the miscarriages had been while trying to have our second child. And only a few months before discovering I was pregnant I’d been diagnosed with Unexplained Recurrent Miscarriage.
I found it difficult to accept that the miscarriages were unexplained. In many ways, I wanted there to be a reason why we’d lost four babies. And I’d hoped that there would be a simple treatment that would enable us to have our longed for baby.
Going through pregnancy after baby loss was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The first trimester of my pregnancy was particularly tough. And I didn’t relax until our baby boy was in my arms. And I knew that we had our second rainbow baby.
During the pregnancy, I was worried and anxious. I had bad dreams, cried lots and generally didn’t want to do much more than sit on the sofa or sleep.
It’s wrong to say that I survived my pregnancy after baby loss. Instead, I somehow managed to drag my way through it.
But there were some things I did during the pregnancy that made the experience easier.
So if you’re pregnant or are trying for another baby after baby loss then here are some tips on how I managed to survive being pregnant after a diagnosis of Recurrent Miscarriage.
Pregnancy after baby loss
How to survive pregnancy after baby loss?
1. Be kind to yourself
Years ago, I attended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions and I was given this brilliant but often overlooked piece of advice. I’m not always great at following it, but it’s a great lesson for life.
Imagine how you’d talk to your best friend if she were going through a similar experience.
You’d be sympathetic and supportive. You’d let her air her worries as many times as she needed to. If she was upset then you would listen to her and comfort her. And you’d never berate her for feeling a certain way.
You’d advise her to make herself a priority and tell her to treat herself gently.
You’d tell her to go to bed early, have a long bubble bath, read her favourite book, eat chocolate or go for a walk. Anything that will help her relax and put a smile on her face.
Please, remember to be kind to yourself and be your own best friend.
2. Telling people
There is no law that says you have to announce your pregnancy after the 12 week scan.
We decided that there wasn’t any reason why we should hide this pregnancy.
Everyone knew that we wanted another baby, that I’ve had many miscarriages and that another miscarriage was a possibility.
I also know that I need a wide support network to help me cope when times our hard. And so Mr H and I told close friends and family.
If you feel that you need support to help you through this nerve-wracking few months, then tell people. However, you are also well within your rights not to tell anyone until you feel entirely comfortable to do so.
You need to do what is right for you. Your partner. Your family. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
3. Avoid pregnancy forums
Visiting an online pregnancy forum at this time in your pregnancy is one of the worst things that you can do.
During my first pregnancies, I was constantly on forums trying to find out what every twinge or pregnancy symptom meant.
But I never got the reassurance that I so desperately wanted. Instead, my anxiety levels sky-rocketed as I read various horror stories.
The only real reassurance you can get is from a medical professional and an early pregnancy scan. And even that might not be enough to stop you from worrying.
4. Get professional support when needed
If you have spotting or pains then you need to go to see your GP or midwife. Talk to them about how you are feeling and if it would help you then ask for them to arrange a scan.
Your GP and midwife are there to help you. If you have experienced baby loss then they will understand why you are nervous. And if they don’t then ask to see someone else.
There are also some amazing charities which provide resources and support for anyone going through a worrying pregnancy.
Tommy’s funds research into stillbirths, premature births and miscarriages. They also offer advice to parents-to-be.
The pregnancy information pages on their website are written by midwives and are packed full of practical advice. Their Facebook page is also run by midwives. Or if you would prefer to speak to a human being then you can call their midwife run PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800.
The Miscarriage Association
They have produced a very helpful leaflet called Thinking about another pregnancy. Which has lots of hints and tips on how to look after yourself and reduce your risk of having another miscarriage. They also have a helpline on 01924 200 799, which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.
MAMA Academy is a charity which supports mums and midwives to help babies arrive safely. All the content on their website has been approved by The Royal College of Midwives. They also produce Wellbeing Wallets which are full of easy to understand information that will guide and help you in your pregnancy.
5. Avoid pregnancy updates
This was something I learnt the hard way.
You want to know how your baby is developing. Of course, it’s only natural.
But there’s nothing more devastating then receiving a pregnancy update a few days after miscarrying. It is heartbreaking .
With this pregnancy, I avoided pregnancy websites, forums and development updates. And I was much happier as a result.
6. Do whatever you need to do
I wish I could tell you that it’ll all be okay, but I can’t.
However, every pregnancy is different and every baby is too. Just because you’ve miscarried before does not mean that you will again.
Getting through the first trimester after experiencing baby loss is extremely difficult. Some women may find it easier than I did. Others may struggle more. How you react is completely personal and natural to you.
Do whatever will help you get through these first few months of pregnancy.
It’s hard. But whatever happens you’ll be okay.
I’d love to hear from you and I promise to lend a sympathetic ear.