Pregnancy after baby loss is a time of mixed emotions. There is happiness and joy. But there is also anxiety and fear.
Back in November 2015, I discovered that I was pregnant for the sixth time in 3 years.
We were blessed to have a lovely little girl. But we had 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’d wanted there to be a reason why we had lost four babies. And I’d hoped that there would be a simple treatment that would enable us to have our longed for baby.
Instead, we were sent away without any answers. The only advice that I was given was to take Soluble Aspirin from the day I got a positive test result until I was 28 weeks pregnant.
Going through pregnancy after baby loss was one of the hardest things I’ve 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 is probably 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 are 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
This is a piece of advice that I was given when I attended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy years ago. And although I am not always great at following it, it is a brilliant lesson for life.
Imagine how you would talk to your best friend if she were going through a similar experience.
You would be sympathetic and supportive. You would let her air her worries as many times as she needed to. You would listen to and comfort her when she was upset. And you would never admonish her for feeling a certain way.
You would advise her to make herself a priority and to be gentle on herself.
You would 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 could 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 are worried about spotting or pains then 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 is a fabulous charity devoted to supporting those who have experienced miscarriage and it is definitely worth looking at their website. 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.
It is natural to be excited and want to know how your baby is developing.
But there is nothing more devastating then being 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 so much happier as a result.
6. Do whatever you need to do
It is natural to be worried and anxious during this time.
I wish I could tell you that it will all be okay, but I can’t.
However, every pregnancy is different and every baby is too. Just because you have 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 is hard. But whatever happens you will be okay.
I would love to hear from you and will always lend a sympathetic ear.